Mexico: Ten weeks of Tacos, Tequila and Tall Waterfalls Part 4
Three, Austrian Kayakers, Robert Machacek, Matthias Zeiner and Lukas Strobl. These guys showed up one rainy, cold day at Aventurec. This particular day we had almost decided not to paddle, but new people meant a run on the roadside section. We loaded up their rental vehicle, a huge white pick-up truck, conveniently with six seats.
Once again the relaxed roadside section was taking no prisoners with the newest victims taking one swim and two broken paddles between them. This meant only one Austrian managed to complete the run, not a great start to their trip.
Over the next days I played river guide and we hit up some of the top local runs and park ‘n’ hucks. The second river day was a park ‘n’ called San Pedro. Although the water was a fair bit lower than my first visit here, we still decided it was probably good to go. I went first for what turned out to be a fairly big hit at the bottom. I then cracked out my camera to see one more broken paddle, and one more swim. The carnage continued at Truchas just a few days later. Truchas is a park ‘n‘ hike with a difference. After the half hour walk there is a 30m abseil and then a sketchy ferry to a portage before finally arriving at the clean 55ft drop. Followed by a short hike out. This was the lowest water trip there for me, the hit at the bottom felt like being kicked in the chest by a horse. A really big horse. But since I had gone first I did the right thing, looked up to my fellow paddlers, gave the ‘its all ok’ signal and cracked out my camera. Two swims later (Will and Lukas) we were all at the bottom ready to paddle out when we could hear what sounded like shooting. Nervously we headed out to a little closer to the take-out. The sound got louder. I had no idea what to do, luckily Will comes from the USA where Firearms are rife. He suggested making loud noises and blowing our whistles, but ultimately one of us would have to float round the corner to take a look. He and I played rock, paper, scissors to decide who that would be. Luckily I won. He floated around the corner and fortuately attracted the attention of the local gentleman who were doing some target practice. They promptly stopped and we managed to hike out with no problems.
One rest day later we organised a shuttle driver and made an early morning drive up to Pimienta, And Tatempa sections of the Upper Filobobos. This wonderful section starts with a long and committing, alpine style boulder garden for 10km. The run goes through a deep gorge and then twists and turns it way through 30km of grade 2/4 boulder gardens which take on a range of stunning scenery, from deep gorges which flatten out to secluded jungle and eventually farmland. After just over six hours on the water we reached the takeout, with everyone totally exhausted. Needless to say everyone ate heartily and slept for what felt like forever.
After we had ticked all of the classics we decided a little road trip was in order, so we loaded up our two vehicles with all our stuff. By this point we had picked up two new paddlers, both from the USA, named Greg and Rob. and we headed away from Tlapacoyan with our end goal being the Costa de Oro. But our first stop was Jalcamulco where a quick blast down a disappointing 5km run named the Pieda Punte. This was mostly flat with only one ‘rapid’, if you could even call it that. Disappointed, we found a place to stay.
We arrived at the Costa de Oro the following day, found a cabana by the beach to stay in, and had some dinner with a plan to paddle the Rio Oro the next day. Hopefully the weather would be less overcast. We awoke early to another humid and overcast day. Not what we were hoping for just a few days before christmas. Despite the lack of sunshine we headed off for what turned out to be an hour hike up a trail to the put on of another fun river, the Rio Oro. This was a fun river of steep narrow grade 4 whitewater which gorged into a clean 25ft, then a little way into fluffy 35-40ft. Then we bumped our way down the river until it flowed into the sea. A unique experience for me. Over the next couple of days we also paddled around the coast and enjoyed being at the beach. I even ate some fish.
Christmas day came with a storm which we thought may take the roof off of our little cabana. Motivation was at zero to make the long hike in this weather. But the surf was looking huge. We ate breakfast and watched intently to find that the swells were big but the waves were breaking very erratically. Not put off we grabbed our boats and headed out. It turned out to be much bigger than it had looked and the weather had not let up, strong wind and heavy rain persisted for our whole time we were on the water. But every wave caught easily made up for this.
Finally, late on christmas day we started to make our way back to Tlapacoyan. The Austrians had headed home and we dropped Greg and Rob off in Veracruz to go back north to the US. This left Will, Todd and myself on our way back to Tlapacoyan with one run which was still on all of our minds, The Lower Jalacingo.
(Photos by Lukas Strobl, Robert Machacek, Todd Richey and myself)
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