Avocados, Volcanoes and So much Fun Whitewater. Chile has it all
The Rio Michamueda is between Chaiten and Futaleufu. It is a remote steep creek runs, which sees the river bending far away from the road, and away from human existence entirely. Since we hd to drive past it to get the ferry back to the north of the country it seemed rude not to go check it out. Camping at the put in we got an idea of how remote the run was. There was only one viable place to put on the river and then it bent away from the road immediately into the first gorge.
With Marco and Wee Joe deciding to drive shuttle, Pundy, Wookie Joe and Myself loaded up with split paddles, rescue gear and some biscuits and headed out for another long day of paddling. The river was long and alpine in style going through numerous steep, technical class 5 and class 4 gorges. All the while surrounded by huge valley’s which showed not a single sign of human life. No distant farms, no roads, just three kayakers in the wilderness. Hiking out here is not really an option.
Five and a half hours later, of which four was on pretty continuous quality whitewater we made it back to the truck at the take out bridge, where the river finally bends back towards civilization. This left us just enough time to head to catch our ferry at six AM the next day. High levels of WINNING were shared by the whole crew.
The Day ferry sucked. Eleven hours (Actually a bit more because of a mechanical problem early on in the trip) of wandering around, sitting down, standing up and eating way to many empenadas (A delicious type of savory pie).
Our next stop was scheduled to be the Rio Petrohue, which the guide book had lead us to believe was a fun class four with a clean 30ft drop at the end. It did mention that park rangers were not super keen with people running the drop but we decided to risk it. Needless to say upon arrival at the waterfall after some ok paddling, the park rangers instantly shut us down and kicked us off the river before we could run it. But they did kindly drive our shuttle for us so maybe its not so bad.
Not too downtrodden we headed to our next destination the Rio Golgol. Sunny weather and high water levels greeted us, but we were confident in a good days paddling the following day. We headed to the put in drop called Los Novios in the morning. I fired the fun 10ft boof first but a momentary lapse in concentration saw me get pinned to a tree on the easy grade 2 run out. Wookie Joe came hastily to the rescue to pull me off. However this was less than ideal and caused me to flip under the tree and through my paddles which got wedged between me and the tree. Luckily it all came good and I didn’t swim or get hurt. Pundy went next, styled the drop and avoided the tree. Although I was keen to get my spare paddle and carry on not every one else was so the group decision was to walk away. This river is definitely one I will be back for in the future.
So down to my last set of paddles we headed to the Rio Fuy. This had, in spite of the carnage, been one of my favorite rivers on the way down south. This time water levels were lower but it was much sunnier so we took it slow and enjoyed taking a few pictures along the way. The problem with that was that walking back to do multiple runs for photos plants ideas in your head, like do a freewheel. Said freewheel on one the smaller drops lead to me breaking my other paddle. Great. I paddled with the longer half all the way to the first waterfall where it is possible to hike out. But not before setting up the camera and trying to snap a few synchronized kayaking shots. Marco even lent me his paddle so I could have a go, and although I didn’t get exactly the shot I was looking for we did snap some cool ones. Now the plan was to rally back to Pucon and buy a new set of paddles.
More updates soon!
Photos by Joe Thurgate, Marco, Andrew Niven, a guy called rob and myself
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