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Sad news from Peru

Friday, April 26th, 2013

It’s been nearly three years since my trip to Peru.  Last week a friend reached out to solicit advice on behalf of his brother who’s preparing a similar trip.  I boasted that they were in luck, as I knew a truly excellent guide.

I found Miguel Jove when I was in Cusco.  I was intent on trekking to the ruins at Choquequirao and Miguel came highly recommended by the staff at the South American Explorers club.  More specifically, as I sifted through the countless hand written reviews left at SAE by previous travelers, I kept coming across Miguel’s name.  Everyone who’d had the pleasure of taking a guided trek with Miguel had such great things to say about him.  Suffice to say, I had all the info I needed: this was the guy.  I met with Miguel a few days later.  Seemed like a solid guy.  And after it became apparent I could not find enough people to organize a multi-person trip, I hired Miguel to guide me on a solo trip.  One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

A few days later I met Miguel, and our cook Domingo, and we headed out on the journey.  As I was traveling solo, and neither Domingo nor our arriero spoke English, I spent a lot of time over the next 4 days conversing with Miguel. And once we arrived at Choquequirao he impressed me with his knowledge of the site.  In fact, he shared so much with me about the entire region – he understood his country so well: the history, the people, and what made them tick.  He told me his fascinating life story one night by the campfire.  Earlier in this blog I wrote about buying a hat at REI prior to my trip.  Miguel liked the hat so much I left it with him at the end.  Let’s face it, I had little use for it back home and he’d do it justice out on the trails.

Tonight when I googled Miguel to find his contact info, I was shocked to learn he passed away in 2011.  Seems he was killed in an accident on the very trail we hiked 3 years ago.  From the limited details I’ve found it sounds like the accident was landslide related, but I cannot confirm that.  All I know is Miguel Jove was a really smart guy, who strived to be the best guide in South America.  His words, not mine.  He was dedicated to sharing his knowledge about the region.  As a result he gave me, and countless others, a rich experience I’ll never forget.  I thought one day I’d return to Peru and take another trip with Miguel.  Tonight it’s with a heavy heart that I realize I will not have that opportunity.