An extraordinary and inspiring chronicle of one woman’s harrowing journey to become the first female to kayak the entire Amazon River.
Part memoir, part feminist manifesto, Amazon Woman shows what incredible feats we are capable of and will encourage people, especially women, across all backgrounds and ages to find the courage and strength to live the life they’ve imagined.
This 148-day journey began on Darcy Gaechter’s 35th birthday. She sold her successful outdoor adventure business, upsetting her partner and boyfriend of twelve years and getting them both fired in the process. The emotional waters that would fester and erupt on the ensuing journey was often more challenging to navigate than the mighty river itself. With blistering lips and irradiated fingernails, Darcy would tackle raging Class Five whitewater for twenty-five days straight, barely survived a dynamite-filled canyon being prepared for a new hydroelectric plan. She and her two companions would encounter illegal loggers, narco-traffickers, murderous Shining Path rebels, and ruthless poachers in the black market trade in endangered species. They would plead for mercy at the hands of the murderous Ashaninka people who were convinced that they had come to steal their children’s organs.
In a desperate attempt meant to give her some pretense of control, Darcy even cut off all her hair before entering Peru’s notoriously dangerous “Red Zone” in hopes of passing for a boy and being seen as less of a target. At once a heart-pounding adventure and a celebration of pushing personal limits, Amazon Woman speaks to all of us feeling trapped by our desk-bound, online society. This a story of finding the courage and strength to challenge nature, cultures, social norms, and oneself.
About the Author
Darcy Gaechter is the first and only woman to kayak the entire length of the Amazon River. For the past fifteen years, she has been considered one of the world’s best female kayakers, leading expeditions in the continental United States, Alaska, Ecuador, Colorado, Idaho, Bhutan, Nepal and Kenya. A speaker with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and the Colorado Whitewater Association, Darcy lives in Colorado.
A well-paced tale of outdoor adventure. Daring readers will be inspired to overcome similar challenges—and armchair travelers won't be disappointed.
The same courage and relentlessness that propelled Darcy Gaechter down the Amazon also powers this terrific book. Thanks to writing that is both lyrical and self-reflective, Amazon Woman manages to become at once an inspiring adventure story and a deeply intimate memoir.
— Eli Saslow, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of Rising out of Hatred
A roller coaster thrill ride, both physically and emotionally. Yet, riding rapids pales in comparison to having to face down the darkest elements of human nature. A riveting definition of true fortitude. Readers will be inspired by her audacious sense of adventure and courage, and when combined with her vulnerability, Darcy becomes a Wonder Woman for the ages.
— Julie Moss, Ironman Hall of Fame athlete and author of Crawl of Fame
Darcy’s trip down the Amazon serves as a reminder that the beauty of life is not in the destination, it’s in the journey. Darcy is a role model and an example of what you can accomplish when you follow your dreams.
— Tejay Van Garderen, professional road racing cyclist
Darcy Gaetcher navigates Class V whitewater and evades armed drug cartels while uncovering the deep and complex roots of her own passion for adventure. As the first woman to paddle the Amazon River from source to sea, she leverages extreme skill and endurance against refreshing humility. Amazon Woman shares a remarkable journey that runs, like the river itself, with both turbulence and grace.
— Caroline Van Hemert, author of The Sun is a Compass