Outdoor Life correspondent Gayne Young looks to the past and the present to find the outdoor personalities that prove just how wimpy the rest of us really are.
As of this writing Ed Stafford is on day 745 of walking the length of the Amazon River. Yes, walking. And for those of you that are math challenged – such as I am – 741 days is a little more than two years. What have I done in the last two years? Other than spend about 2 months on hold with my internet provider, watched several days worth of Jonny Quest reruns with my kids, and cut my life expectancy through excessive beer consumption, pretty much nothing.
Stafford began his journey in April 2008 and if all goes as planned, in August of this year he will be the first person to successfully walk the length of the second largest river on Earth from source to sea. One of Stafford’s stated goals of the expedition was, “To create an adventure so exciting that it can be used to make people feel that they have a connection to the Amazon.” He has done that as well as raise money for several charities through his website. Followers of his adventure have read of Stafford’s encounters with indigenous jungle tribes (some of which have threatened his life), leeches, swarming insects, snakes, and jungle rot. He’s traversed through pools of electric eels the size of his thigh, watched his native guide chop an anaconda to feed to his dogs, eaten fried turtle liver and the head of something resembling a raccoon, and done all of this while some days burning upwards of 6,000 calories while eating only 3,000.
Although Stafford has walked the majority of his journey on occasion he has had to float across flooded areas utilizing an inflatable raft he carries on his person. Through GPS and satellite communication he is able to be resupplied at designated locations. These areas are also where he picks up the occasional journalist or photographer to accompany him on smaller stretches of his trip.
Having hunted the rain forests of Papua New Guinea and the jungles of Mexico, I can attest that the jungle can be one nasty place. I can’t imagine spending two years in it let alone walking more than 4,000 miles through it. I doubt many people could.
What do you think? Could you follow in Stafford’s steps? Comment below!