Mexico: Ten weeks of Tacos, Tequila and Tall Waterfalls Part 1
It all starts with a long journey........Not the kind of deep emotional journey you might see in a top Hollywood blockbuster but an actual journey that took a long period of time. Starting with a plane from London to Cancun (10 hours), then a string of bus rides, starting with Cancun to Veracruz (16 hours), then Veracruz to Xalapa (4 hours), then Xalapa to Tlapacoyan (2 and a half hours), then Tlapacoyan to Aventurec raft base/hostel (20 minutes). So after almost two days of travelling I arrived at my destination.
Before leaving for Mexico I had very little information to go on, save for a 19yr old guide book, a whole bunch of kayakers blogs/videos and the information that I would likely be able to meet other kayakers at Aventurec, Tlapacoyan, Mexico. With this lack of information in mind I was instantly calmed after meeting other kayakers on my first day there. The kayakers on this occasion were Aniol Serrasolses (SPN), Tino Spect (USA), Mathias Fossum (NOR) and my friend Nick Troutman (CAN). On the day of my arrival at Aventurec they were already committed to helping Rafa with a Mexican TV Show so I had a day chilling out at Aventurec with Mathias who was at that time injured. The weather was sunny and warm so hanging out, laying in a hammock and reading for the day was pretty easy going.
My first river day was grey, cloudy and cool. Loaded in Rafa’s van we drove up to my first section of river, the Upper Jalacingo. Needless to say I was a little nervous, but Nick was sure I would be fine so when we arrived at the put on where the river is deep enough to walk through I was skeptical. The river started off as low volume rock dodging, trying to avoid getting pinned, (which I did not manage to avoid. Luckily Tino quickly pulled me off the rock), then after a long portage the fun really started. Approximately a kilometre of tight gorges with narrow walls and blind waterfalls from 5ft to 25ft, steep slides and a rapid that goes underneath a tree we got off of the river with wide yes and wider smiles. Afterwards we headed for another, soon to become one of my favourite experiences, Tacos.
Tacos are different to what you might expect or have tasted in Europe or the USA. A plate of Tacos consists of five small corn tortillas, filled with meat, onions and coriander, and usually served with a range of fresh salsas.
Over the next few days there were different rivers including the Tomata gorge, Big Banana, and Roadside sections of the Rio Alseseca as well as the rafting section of the Rio Filobobos.
After a few days of good paddling and bad weather, it was time for Nick, Rafa and Tino to leave. This left Mathias, Aniol and myself. With Mathias still injured, and Aniol feeling tired and broken after being in the country for almost two months, neither of them were fired up to paddle. So for a few days we hung out by the pool, swum and generally chilled out. Our relaxing time was going well, although I was beginning to get bored. After two evenings of ‘chilling’ the Spanish arrived (or more accurately returned as apparently they had left to check out some other rivers before I arrived) then things suddenly got interesting again.
(pics by Will Hartman, Todd Richey and Lukas Strobl, and myself)
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