After 859 days, thousands of miles, and "50,000 mosquito bites," Ed Stafford will be the first person known to have walked the entire length of the Amazon river when the waves of the Atlantic Ocean lap his feet in northern Brazil today. "I am simply doing it because no one has done it before," the 34-year-old former British army captain said, adding that he hoped his journey would raise awareness of destruction of the Amazon rain forest.
Stafford, whose journey has cost some $100,000 and is paid for by sponsoring companies and donations, began the walk on the southern coast of Peru on April 2, 2008. Along the way, he has seen vast swaths of demolished jungle; has lived off piranha fish he caught, rice and beans, and store-bought provisions found in local communities along the river; and has encountered every conceivable danger, from enormous anaconda snakes to illness, food shortages, and the threat of drowning. But there have been moments of relative luxury: To relax at night, Stafford said he has downloaded episodes of The Office via Internet satellite phone.