by Cassie Hayden
Team Zoar Update
I’m back in Chile doing the whole kayaking thing again. Nothing new in that way but I just took about a week to go kayaking with two of my very good friends Matt West and Sam Fulbright. We have all been traveling with the New River Academy and training for big waves and big water. This was our chance. We took a bus into Pucon and rented a sweet, red, 4X4 truck then sped back to camp to pack up. At 10 a.m. we began our long… long drive to the Rio Gol Gol on the border of Argentina.
The Drive was Incredible. I know this is going to sound dumb but the mountains here are huge. Everywhere you look there is some snow capped Volcano or Andes that takes your breath away. The whole drive we would take turns saying, “ Stop! We gotta take some pictures of that”. We decided to draw the line when Matt started saying that about the girls we passed.
We arrived at the Gol Gol in about 5/6 hours and went looking for whitewater. We immediately found a sweet little ten footer but decided to check out farther up the road and see if there were more whitewater falls to be run. What ended up happening is we drove for ten minutes and hit the border of Argentina! I went and talked to the border police for a few minutes and got permission to enter Argentina for nine hours. Once we saw the size of the line trying to enter we decided against it and went back the way we cam to find a place to camp for the night. We went to the national park and learned how bad our Spanish really is while trying to negotiate a place to camp. I think all of us were pretty sure that she said there wasn’t anywhere to stay but then she asked us how much we wanted to pay. So we gave her some money and she let us sleep on the lawn next to the horses. I had a hammock and let me say that they are lifesavers. While Matt and Sam layed out their sleeping bags on the damp ground I was high and dry in my sleeping bag hangin from the trees. That night we ate some hot dogs had a fire and went to sleep.
In the morning we hiked into two waterfalls. The first one was a 40-foot waterfall that was to say the least, a little sketch. The name was Salto Del Indio and it started with a demanding lead in and then went straight into a forty-foot vertical drop. The tricky part of this drop was that half way down you had to duck in between two overhanging rocks with the correct timing so that you don’t get your head knocked off. We decided that we would down to the Petrohue and check out the scene down there and once we had been in creek boats for a day come back and run Salto Del Indio.
So we took off. Sam decided it would be fun to take a back road
there so we spend an hour or so looking for a discrete dirt road but
when we found it we were delighted to find no other cars on it and we
were after all in a 4X4 truck so we got to the pavement about two hours
under the estimated time to get there. The whole way there we were
looking around for this giant volcano that is supposed to be the
landmark for the area and we couldn’t find so we just rolled on our
merry way, pulling into Ensanada at around 12 mid day. We took a walk
into the waterfall park and discovered that actually running the
section was illegal. Since there were hundreds of people hanging out,
sight seeing the falls, we headed upstream.
(A little side note, for some reason this part of Chile is covered in yellow jackets, we had a hole in the roof of our car and we think that there may have been a nest in it but still. Watch out for those suckers if you’re ever down there)
Upstream, haha, we ran into a lake and decided to put in on it. Something else about Chile is that every single spot is so beautiful that putting in on a lake is still pretty exciting because you get a little time to look at the Andes and snowcapped mountains. We quickly entered the river and began moving downstream. Even though we were in creek boats there were tons of little play spots to mess around in and even more great river running moves and challenging rapids. After about a mile the river splits into about 7 small channels with all different skill levels of drops on them. We scouted each one and Matt and Sam Chose a sweet slide with a must make lefty move. I chose a drop with one with a demanding lead in and a crack that is a must make boof because you land in a recirculating eddy and you have to carry your momentum out of the eddy or else you could get stuck and into a serious situation. Right after that we hopped out and I ran and did shuttle while Sam and Matt were left with nothing else to do other than talk to some chicks that were gracing the river banks.
When I returned we loaded up and realized that I had left the lights on and drained the battery. We asked a local for a jump and he pulled his big old truck up next to us and pilled out the rattiest old jumper cables in the existence of mankind. I mean there things were just falling apart in multiple places and didn’t have much plastic left on them. On the broken parts he proceeded to twist the wire back together, then he told me to hold the wires to the battery (because there were no clamps) I quickly handed that responsibility to Matt and jumped in the car to start it. Big Red groaned to life and we made the decision to, instead of return to the Gol Gol we would head north to Choshuenco and the home of the Fuy River.
After about seven hours in the car we rolled into the town of
Choshuenco and the home of the Fuy River. We have been there two years
in a row and have a hostel by the name of La Posada that we love to
stay at. It is affordable and the family that owns it are some of the
nicest people you’ll ever meet. Well anyway we rolled into La Posada at
around 11:30 and when they owners saw us they just said “Hola” Then
when they realized it was us they were like “!!!!!!!HOLA!!!!!!!” haha.
They wipped us up a room and had breakfast waiting for us the next
morning. I really do love that family.
The Fuy River was much different from two weeks ago. A lot lower and therefore every rapid was basically a new rapid but you had to be a bit more careful because of how shallow and rocky it had become. New Places had opened up like a cave next to a waterfall that went back about 50 feet “little sketchy” and then there was a drop that we realized our previous line ran right over a sieve. It was just different. Anyway we stayed there for 2 ½ days and then had to return to Pucon.
Once we got back to Pucon we discovered that we were told that we were a day early and that we could leave. So we did. Sam Matt and I took our last day and sped on over to a local playspot, set up camp and cooked up some more hotdogs and soda. I slept in my hammock once again which is my new favorite spot to be on the planet. In the morning we geared up and ran down to the hole. Threw a bunch of tricks, pretty much all the latest playboating moves are possible at this spot. Wave and hole moves a like. Then we left for town and dropped off the truck, pair our dues and took a bus back to our home base at David Hughes’s and NRA’s new house.
I hope everyone is well out there and getting ready for another season of boating coming up super fast. Paddle Hard!