Monday, January 12, 2009

The road goes on forever... and the party never ends

There´s something about a road trip that brings out the fun in driving. New friends and new places blurred together at 80 km/h creates a sense of solitude. With blue skies and hospitable people, how I wish the road just went on forever. After many hours behind the wheel of our cuad cab Chevy LUV pickup we so lovingly named the ¨go kart¨,amongst other things, we finally arrived in the promised land: Futalaefu. The town is smack dab in the middle of the Andes mountains. With craggy peaks surrounding us on all sides the feeling of paradise was hard to ignore. Once we reached the river though, all thoughts of any problems or trials and tribulations of the outside world just melted away.

The Futa is a pristine turquoise blue with magnificant glaciated peaks rising sharply from the river banks (I better stop describing in such detail... I might start to weep like a little girl). I cannot tell you how excited I was to finally take my first paddle strokes in the fabbled waters of the Futalaefu river. As we peeled out from the eddy Pat and I looked at each and grinned, knowing full well that the both of us had been dreaming of this moment for years.

The whitewater can only be described as perfect. With classic big wave trains, play spots, and even some pretty stout big water I felt I had, for myself, discovered a place I will return to for the rest of my life. By the end of our few short days of the river we left the Futa repeating ourselves incessintly, ¨proximo año¨...¨next year¨ to our new friends. If you boys are reading this Memo and Marcos, we´ll see you next year!

Alas, the road trip turned back north. The go-cart made it all the way back to Pucon, where we dropped it off at the rental agency who, of course, tried to con us out of $300! But with a little elbow grease and some punching of the roof, the ¨dents¨the agency claimed to be irrepairable were indeed repaired.

With bus tickets bought, and planes waiting on the tarmac, we prepare to make the epic journey back to Bozeman to see our friends, kiss our lady friends (pat), and get back to work and school.

Adios from Pucon,

we´ll be back Chile.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Into the land of BFGs (Big Friendly Giants)

The big one on middle Palguin began a none stop mission of large incredibly beautiful drops.

We began by driving down to the Gol Gol south of Pucon. This river has seven increasingly large drops. It begins with a 12 footer and ends with 45 footer. Ablsolutely ridiculously awesome.

Jared Seiler inspecting the gnarly low water slot
Ben Kinsella boofing huge on Indio
All of us watching Ian Garcia the probe

After the Gol Gol we headed over to Nellawe which is a big steep slide to a vertical drop. With a cave on the left a good line here was the concern of everyone.

Super fast, super fun. This drop is quite unique in the feeling when
launching down it

After boating such quality drops for days in a row we headed back to Pucon with plans to head for Argentina. We woke up at eight and headed to the car rental place to procure a truck for the next 6 days. Getting the correct papers to cross into Argentina proved difficuolt and we didnt leave until 2. After boating non stop since our arrival this was out first day not kayaking. Pretty good really. We drove through the night and didnt sleep until 6 am the next day. Spending the night searching for an illegal waterfall called Alerces we finally acepted defeit and slept for a few hours. upon waking up we found the drop and had a blast!

Bradford McArthur boofing into the curtain of Alerces

Doing a little boat repair
Ricky Lambert checking out a carnage shot
Team Marginal!

We packed up and moved on out to our next mission of a stealth hike in of the also illegal Cafe creek. Unfortunately with the same luck as before we spent most of the night until 4 am hiking our boats around the Argentinian wilderness searching for the run. After Pat rescued a lost Ben and myself we slept for a bit and in the light of the day found and started hiking up the creek. The daylight showed us the way but kept us nervious the whole way up. Getting buzzed by a helicopter once was exciting as well as nervracking. Once locked into the safety of the gorge we enjoyed extremely beautiful quality drops. Mandatory clean 15 and 40 footer, oh my gosh we are getting so spoiled.

Bradford McArthur seconds away from mega wall douche
40 footer of Cafe

We are now back in Chile on the Futaleufu, but that is for a different post.

Friday, January 2, 2009

So Clean!

Ben Kinsella on Middle Palguin

Well we have had some warm up days. And so it was finally time to huck! The middle palguin has a perfect 70 footer ready to say ¨Welcome to my whitewater paradise!¨to anybody wanting some extra splashy splash.

Ben and I started off on the upper palguin with Adam and Ricky. Very very enjoyable as usual. At the time I was contemplating running the bubbly 10 footer right above the seventy so I was quite nervious actually. Decided against it and felt much better from there on out.

We finally get to the seal lanch rock right at the lip of the 70. it is really quite a ridiculous drop geologically speaking. The 10 foot drop used to fall into a 40 followed by a 30. Recently during an earth quake the rock forming the 30 fell away creating the pool of the 70. It is difficult to explain, but once you are there seeing the actualy rock you can visualize the old drop and think of all that cascading down stream during the earth quake.

Anyways, Adam one the hand toss and had a very nice line falling off the lip. Ben went next with a roll right above the lip due to the squirlyness of the seal launch, but popped up and went beautifully as well. After the hit his paddle unfortunatly shot towards the only bit of wood which we eventually got out. I plopped in next and dropped my paddle as we all had planned felt the hit and then the boat tried to fold in on me! some how I had ended up upsidedown under the watefall. felt kinda weird and definatly left some creases on the boat.

We finished up with the lower section and took out finishing off a very very nice day. Tomorrow we head to the Gol Gol. It is pointless to make plans, but at the moment the idea is to stay there for a bit and then head to the Futa region. We shall see.
Bradford McArthur is quite happy

Thursday, January 1, 2009

And the lord said... let there be hucking!

Hola amigos! Well, its been an eventful couple of days since we last posted. We hit up the Rio Palguin and the Rio Fuy, which are both crystal clear agua waterfall runs. Coming from the chunky angry whiteawater of Montana it is truly amazing how clean all of these runs are.

No wood, no big f-you rocks in the middle of drops... just beautiful whitewater EVERYWHERE!

New Years eve saw the descent of some truly stout whitewater as Ian and Jared fired up Gerd´s drop. A very large 60 footer with a class V lead in. Jared went first and ¨stuck¨the line as good as he could have. Ian on the other hand dropped into the fold of doom and disappeared inside the waterfall. All we could hear was the loud crack of his paddle smashing the side of the rock 30 feet down from the lip with another 30 feet to fall. With no visual on him everyone was quite scared for a few moments that seemed an internity. After that epic little huckfest we dropped the most beautiful 30 footer downstream. Unfortunatly we have no pictures accessible right now because Adam left Pat´s camera on... no battery... dammit.

After that most epic of days we partied the night away on New years. I personally ended up sleeping on styrofoam with Bradford´s paddling gear laying on me as my blanket (note to anyone who thinks Chile is tropical...its not, its cold) Today we struggled to wake up at the crack of noon. With a refreshing dip in the lake that just so happens to be out the front door of where we are staying we slowly mounted up our gear and headed to the Palguin to lap the upper section 3 times. Afterwards we checked out the middle Palguin´s gorgeous 70 footer. Looks good to go. Who knows if and when we´ll run it, but I sure hope we get the chance.

Hope all is well for you reading this in our new year of 2009! And remember... its not peer pressure, its just your turn.
Adios from Pucon