On the Road Again in Chile
It was a rainy day when I found myself back at the Pucon Kayak Hostel. It was raining hard enough that I was not excited to set up my tent. Conveniently for me I could use the covered area of the bath house to set up my tent and then carry it out to where I would be putting it which meant I could keep it and my stuff dry.
The heavy rain had been set in for a day or so already and showed no signs of stopping. This was great news for the local runs which had been very low since my arrival in October. The following day I managed to hitch a ride with the Whitewater Grand Prix crew up to the Rio Puesco where there was a race scheduled the next day. The 30 person crew had split into small groups I headed off first with a strong crew. Since I was one of the only ones in our group that had paddled the river I lead the way. It didn’t take long to find the level a bit higher than previous runs and considerably pushier. We made it off the river with Ben Marr (Can) as the only swimmer from our group. Heavy rain continued to fall all the way home, all night and showed no signs of letting up.
A few days later I rallied together a crew to hire a truck and head on a mission south to the Rio GolGol. This river was an itch I had wanted to scratch since walking away from it three weeks previous. Our crew of two new friends, Zach Shucster (USA), Jorden Poffenburg (USA) and fellow Ottawa Kayak School coach Kalob Grady (USA) wanted to paddle as much as possible on the way down there. So our first stop was a couple of speed laps on the Rio Fuy. A night of camping then a short drive and we found our selves at the park and huck, Salto de Nilahue.
The water was higher than when I had paddled this 60ft waterfall it previously. This lead to me crashing out pretty hard. I was too far right at the lead in, came down the ramp part of the drop almost sideways. Reconnected with a rock half way down which spun me backwards. All I could do was throw my paddle, tuck up tight and hold on to what I was expecting to be a fairly hard impact. When reality came it was like falling backwards into a marshmallow. I rolled up, retrieved my paddle and set safety for the others who learnt from my mistake and made the lines stylishly.
Arriving that evening at the Rio GolGol we were excited and hungry. The next morning was overcast and rain was threatening. We drove to the put in to find water levels slightly higher than when I had been here previously. We decided to take it slow and continue. By the end I was completely in love with the river. It has a great mixture of fun rapids and technical drops with high consequence, big undercuts, caves and a few trees chucked in for good measure. However even at high water the run was very manageable. All drops were portage able.
Once our mission was complete we packed up and headed back to Pucon.
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