Monday, November 29, 2010

Experiencing the Rio Claro, Chile 2010

Gareth on hour 36 of our travels to Chile

Last week Gareth and I decided to break away from the impending winter back in North Carolina and sneak away for a few weeks of kayaking in Chile. Our trip started out with getting denied at the Greenville airport with our boats, managing to change our flights to leave from Charlotte and eventually finally getting both of us and our boats on a plane South. After two full days of traveling, we finally made it to our first destination, San Fabian where we met up with my good friend Jon Clark.

Looking for a ride to San Fabian
Our first adventure took us up to the Rio Claro, most known for the Seven Teacups section. What I hadn't realized before, was that the Rio Claro also contained two other steep waterfall style sections that were exactly what I was looking for. First we did the Veintidos Saltos (22 waterfalls) section, which was aptly named as it contains 22 pretty sweet waterfalls. 

Me at one of the veintidos waterfalls (Photo by Jon Clark)

Gareth disconnecting with the water on a huge boof (Photo by Jon Clark)
After a quick snack we headed back on the water to venture into the section (and more specifically the one rapid) which we had been talking about since our arrival into Chile. The section is called the Entre Saltos which contains the infamous, Throat of the Devil rapid. The section starts off with some fun drops then quickly walls up. This is when you know you've arrived. The Throat of the Devil probably drops about 50 feet in total, with the first 20 feet dropping steeply through what I would describe as a mix between a skate park and a drain pipe following which the water falls about 30 more feet of verticle. Jon went first and I followed quickly behind him. Gareth shot video of the drop before taking the plunge himself.

Jeremy Anderson dropping into the skate park/ drain pipe on a previous trip to the river (Photo by Jon Clark)
Gareth beginning his ride (Photo by Jon Clark)
At the bottom of the drop you end up in a toilet bowl pool with a pretty sizeable exit drop to get through. What happens next is something that you really can't put into words. The river narrows down and the gorge walls fly to the sky and you find yourself paddling through the most magical place I've ever been in a kayak. Then you turn the corner to find a 30 foot tributary making the most beautiful waterfall pour down just beside you. Unfortunatley because of the nature of this, it is very difficult to take pictures, so you are just going to have to come experience it for yourself.

Finally we dropped through the "Vaginas," two very narrow slot rapids which its best to stay upright in. After a couple more drops the walls start to open up and you are transported back to the real world. That section of river is officially at the top of my list for one of the msot amazing places I've ever seen.

The next morning we dropped the classic, Seven Teacups section, which includes, you guessed it, seven waterfalls, before hopping in the truck and cruising back to San Fabian.

Gareth at the first of the seven teacups

Gareth finishing off the seven teacups section dropping the final 25 footer

Waterfall vista on the way out of town

The Hillux loaded down for the trip home
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