British man is walking the length of the Amazon

Ed Stafford is either really brave or really crazy. Likely it’s a little of both. The 33-year old British man is now 436 days into his attempt to walk the entire length of the Amazon River, starting at its source, and eventually finishing up at its mouth along the coast of Brazil, where it enters into the Atlantic Ocean.

Stafford, a former captain in the British Army, began his epic journey in April of 2008, and is now more than 2000 miles in, or roughly halfway to his goal. He wanders the high ground as much as possible, and sometimes has to go well out of his way to stay on dry land, especially during the rainy season, when the Amazon can swell to massive proportions, and spill over its banks for miles in all directions. Stafford does carry an inflatable raft for navigating across the larger tributaries however, and on the Amazon, there are many.

As if hiking for 4000 miles wasn’t challenging enough, the jungle that surround the river provides plenty more obstacles as well. Stafford has to deal with wild animals, including some of the world’s most dangerous insects and snakes, and when he enters the waters of the Amazon, he has to deal with electric eels, piranha, and caiman as well. On top of that, there is the constant threat of malaria or yellow fever, which runs rampant in the Amazon basin, and there are still plenty of tribes that live in the jungle that are not exactly accommodating to outsiders.
According to Ed’s website, he expects to finish up his journey sometime in 2010. In the meantime, you can follow his adventure by reading his daily blog and following his Twitter feed.

On a personal note, having recently visited a section of the Amazon that Ed has just passed through, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is one of the most ambitious and demanding expeditions that I have ever heard of. I had the opportunity to trek through portions of the jungle, and it was demanding work, made all the more difficult by the constant heat and humidity. To read my thoughts on the Amazon and more about my travels there, be sure to check out my Adventures on the Amazon series.