Listen to Armchair Explorer’s Podcast with “Amazon Woman” Darcy Gaechter


- Advertisment -

The Amazon River is known for being the largest river in the world by volume and the second-longest river on Earth. Due to the frigid source waters and the innumerable dangers – natural and manmade – this is an expedition very few experience in their lives.

Enter Armchair Explorer, the Webby-nominated podcast (featured in The Washington Post) where the world’s greatest adventurers recount travel stories of exploration, self-discovery, and wonder against a rich backdrop of music and immersive sound design. One episode that strikes our fancy features adventure kayaker, author and Paddling Life friend Darcy Gaechter, who became the first and only woman to kayak the Amazon River from source to sea.

Amazon woman darcy
The route, piranhas and all…

Some highlights of Aaron Millar’s – award-winning host and British travel writer – conversation with Darcy include:

  • 10:40 – How their team figured out the starting point for this journey and switching plans to start at the Mantaro river a week before the trip.
  • 14:15 – Navigating through dangerous dynamite work within the first week of the trip.
  • 25:30 – Entering “The Red Zone” – an area of the Andes that has a history of violence and illegal activity.
  • 37:00 – The mental and emotional challenges faced throughout this expedition.
  • 47:30 – What it felt like to finish crossing the Amazon River from source to sea, and how to return to normalcy.

Armchair Explorer is a flagship show for American Public Television’s newly-formed APT Podcast Studios. Listen to the episode here.

Read more here:


Amazon Woman chronicles Darcy’s harrowing journey to become the first woman to kayak the Amazon River from source to sea, showing what extraordinary feats women are capable of and encouraging people across all backgrounds and ages to find the courage and strength to live the life that they have imagined.

  Besides being a woman, Darcy is also small, and vegan, which only compounds her problems in the eyes of others. Little, female plant-eaters can’t do things like kayaking the Amazon, or so she’d been told. 

This 148-day adventure began on Darcy’s 35th birthday after selling her successful outdoor adventure business, and upsetting her partner and boyfriend (Don Beveridge) by getting both of them fired by the new owner. This last fact would fester and manifest during the often harrowing journey. To add some sublime to the ridiculous, Don and Darcy were on the Amazon to support their client, Midge, who was not a kayaker prior to dreaming up this Amazon idea and, in fact, had never even been camping.

What Darcy had convinced herself would be the mark of closure to a 16-year extreme sport ascent, a beginning of calm and social normalcy, did not end up turning out quite that way.  Darcy had been looking for an excuse, a reason, or that final push to convince her to give up her weird life that very few people understood and to try to settle into a what most of America considers a normal existence. Darcy’s hope had been that kayaking the Amazon (or any number of other big adventures) would so thoroughly satisfy her yearning for adventure that she’d finally feel good about turning her back on this lifestyle. 

This didn’t happen on the Amazon (or in the adventure-filled years since). Darcy learned that embracing her weirdness and alternative lifestyle was the only viable option if she wanted to be happy. The Amazon expedition taught Darcy not to let social pressures dictate her life choices. She learned that she should keep on kayaking and having adventures because that’s what brings out the best in Darcy and allows her to inspire and bring out the best in others.

Darcy, Amazon woman
Darcy making her way down the river’s upper reaches.


“A well-paced tale of outdoor adventure. Daring readers will be inspired to overcome similar challenges―and armchair travelers won’t be disappointed.” Kirkus Reviews

“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 powerful, adventure-filled memoir, beginning with the first page.”  Booklist

“Don’t miss Darcy Gaechter’s AMAZON WOMAN, an account of her harrowing kayaking journey along the Amazon river from source to sea.” Outside

Darcy amazon woman
Stroke number 1,234,689 and counting…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest news

New Guidebook Release: Paddling the Salish Sea

In Paddling the Salish Sea, professional kayaker and SUP instructor Rob Casey guides paddlers to the quiet inlets of...

River Management Society Announces 2024 River Studies and Leadership Certificate Recipients

The River Management Society (RMS) has announced 2024 recipients of the River Studies and Leadership Certificate, a program offered...

Paddle the Nation’s Driest State with New National Rivers Project Resources

Planning a river trip to America’s driest state has never been easier. The National Rivers Project (NRP) website, a...

2024 Yukon River Quest Begins June 26 with 76 Teams

The 24th annual Yukon River Quest is set to start at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, at...
- Advertisement -

Charlie Walbridge Releases “Whitewater Rescues: True Stories of Survival, Bravery, and Quick Thinking”

Ever have a close call on the river? The types that stories at the bar are made of? You'll...

Bren Orton Update: Body of Pro Kayaker Found in Switzerland’s Lake Maggiore

The body of British extreme kayaker Bren Orton, 29, missing since May 16, was found in southern Switzerland in...

Must read

Bren Orton Update: Body of Pro Kayaker Found in Switzerland’s Lake Maggiore

The body of British extreme kayaker Bren Orton, 29,...

Paddlesports Trade Coalition Announces Colab Event in Okla. City Sept. 3-6

PTC Colab at Riversport OKC September 3-6, 2024. The new Paddlesports...
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you