A Montreal woman flew to Peru on Tuesday to look for her son, who she said nobody has heard from since he boarded a bus to go on a short trek more than two weeks ago.
Alisa Clamen said her son Jesse Galganov, 22, left Montreal last month for what was supposed to be an eight-month backpacking trip through South America and Southeast Asia, but he only got as far as Peru.
Galganov spent a few days in Lima before telling her that he’d be out of communication for a few days on Sept. 28, because he was planning on trekking the Santa Cruz trail, a 50-kilometre hike through the Cordillera Blanca mountains, part of the Andes.
The trek is supposed to take three or four days, but neither Clamen nor any of Galganov’s friends have heard from him since then.
“It was easy to say a four-day trek turns into five, six, seven, even 10, because he did have a 10-day camping trip that was planned for later in this trip,” she said. “I thought maybe that would be something he would do. But when the time stretched on and the days went by, I decided maybe it’s time to worry.”
But to her knowledge, Galganov doesn’t have the equipment to hike for longer than that.
She’s reached out to the Canadian Embassy in Peru, her Member of Parliament and Montreal police, who she said notified Peruvian authorities, who have since launched a search.
On Tuesday she travelled to the country to join in the search and to make sure her son is high on the list of priorities.
“I’m going to find him and bring him home. Beyond that, I can’t let my mind get to what the possibilities are as to ‘what, where, who, how,’ because there’s good ones and there’s bad ones, and it’s not helpful for me right now.”
Clamen said she’s confirmed that Galganov got on a bus to the city of Huaraz, but she doesn’t know what happened to him after that.
As far as she knows, he was travelling alone, but it’s out of character for him not to reach out to her or one of his friends.
“It’s one thing to want to be off the grid for a few days while you’re trekking, but Jesse’s a very conscientious and a very responsible kid, and he knows he has a family and he has friends who love him,” she said. “He’s not a kid who would ever do this intentionally, so it resonated as, ‘Something’s wrong. Something’s wrong.'”
Clamen has asked that anyone who may have seen her son reach out to authorities.