Amazon Woman: Facing Fears, Chasing Dreams, and My Quest to Kayak the Largest River from Source to Sea

Darcy Gaechter

Pegasus, 2020

Agent: Suzy Evans

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 Gaetcher’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.