Rio Claro

We arrived in the town of Molina where we spent the day in a restaurant, whilst a group headed on in the van to go kayaking. Those of us staying behind (there wasn’t room for everyone in the van at once) killed time eating ice creams and charging our laptops.

The van eventually returned to pick us up and drove us over to the hostel where we were staying, and we had dinner and went to bed.

The next day we headed up to the siete tazas, the ‘seven teacups’ with a short hike in, but a very steep path down to into the canyon, meaning we had to lower the boats in. Once we were down we got in our boats and headed down the first 15 footer, which I managed to land flat but sideways.ย Sidewaysness

 

 

learning to boof waterfalls

MKat boofing the first drop

The next drop was a short slide drop, and the one after had a tree in it and so we portaged round. Slide dropThe next two drops were also small and we didn’t realise (until we ran out sooner than expected) that they were part of the 7. I thought there were 7 tea cups?The 6th and 7th teacups were both 20 feet, we boofed (kind of) the first, which had an interesting curve round the left side making things difficult. The second we plugged, although I managed to go a little over-vert, and face planted… ๐Ÿ™ ouch. Going Over-vert!

MKat dropping off one of the 20 footer

There is also an eighth drop which apparently only runs when it is low, and so after scouting the interesting climb up a vertical(ish) cliff out, we ran this also. The 8th drop curves to the left, with a wall in front as you go down, you hit a right boof and land in a huge cave around the corner.

The guys also ran the veinte dos, 22 saltos, and another group ran the 7 teacups again.

The next day we headed back down to the teacups for my round two. This time round was much more successful, and I hit every boof! Unfortunately I went even more over-vert on the 20 footer though, ouch ouch!!

Nuble fest!

So after two days of staying at the Maipo our plan was to drive to the Claro for two days, before heading over to the Nuble fest. Unfortunately the Durango broke, resulting in a long day of sitting around doing not much and even less kayaking.

Lorenzo eventually returned, and the next day we hired a van to take us to the Nuble fest, in time to paddle before dinner. The section turned out to be very low, and so we had a very relaxed run down some shallow grade 2, before heading to the hostel to pitch tents and eat dinner.ย 

Lowri also arrived, and so, several hours later, did her stuff which got stuck on one of her flights!

The Saturday of the Nuble fest consisted of lots of races. We all competed in as many as we could. Lowri, MaryKatherine and I were the only females racing, and so we all claimed medals for the top three places… definitely made me feel better about coming last when I still got a medal (and a bottle of wine!).

We also had two teams in the raft races, one made up of Lorenzo and the guys… the strongest and fastest since Lorenzo is so competitive and us weaker girls weren’t picked for their raft. Instead we made a team with the help of some other gringos who’d driven up from the kayak hostel in Pucon. Lorenzo’s team of course won, whilst we came third.

By the end of the day everyone was very tired and ready for dinner. After which however we had to go to the awards ceremony where we were given our medals, wine and for a few first place winners giant cheques!

After the award ceremony we headed back to camp for a while, where we played ‘Never have I ever’ drinking games, until the discoteca opened. We then walked around town a LOT trying to find it, until eventually some Chilean girls showed us how to get there. A lot of dancing and alcohol later we made it back to our tents at around 4.30 in the morning, leaving us just enough time to catch a couple of hours sleep before breakfast and our drive to the Claro!!

Staying at Cascadas in the Maipo Valley

We made it up to the Maipo valley, where Lorenzo grew up, on Monday.
On the journey down we stopped to eat at a Chilean burger place, where Lorenzo ordered each of our lunches. When said lunch arrived, a plate with the biggest burger I have ever seen (except on man vs. food…YUCK) was placed in front of me. Containing avocado, tomato, lots of other vegetables, 2 layers of bacon, about 14 slices of pork, more avocado and then the bread bun enclosing it all. We all set to work, and they were fantastic! Unfortunately so good that I ate far too much, and felt pretty ill for the rest of the day. So when we arrived, after setting up camp… consisting of throwing mats on the ground and laying out our sleeping bags, everyone else went kayaking, whilst I slept it off!
Fortunately I was feeling better for paddling the next day!

Surrounded by mountains, and baked in sunshine, the Maipo river flows down bellow us in the valley. High with brown water which on closer inspection (so close it was in my contact lenses! ๐Ÿ™ ) is the grittiest water I have ever paddled in!
After a morning of catching up on work, before going to set some safety for the guys paddling the upper, on French man’s corner (or French curve?? there was some debate…) we had lunch and then geared up to paddle!
The Lower Maipo is an easier run than the Lower Middle Fuy, however the thickness of the dirt in the water makes the river feel much more intimidating, and feels as though it is harder to read, luckily we could follow Hunt’s lines down, whilst he was coaching us and giving us tips on our paddling.

Later that night we were invited to Lorenzo’s cousin’s Barbecue, and so we headed over the bridge…

Lorenzo’s family own the whole area, including the mountains, and there is one bridge across the river, leading to their family compound, consisting of about 40 family members they have a number of houses across the bridge. The bridge is a footbridge, and there are no vehicles on that side of the river, they are incredibly eco-friendly and ensure that everything is self-sustaining.
They also, have a pet puma in a cage, along side a cage filled with parrots, and other cages containing birds of prey… It seems to me, as though Lorenzo grew up in a fairy tail, or the Chilean version of Jungle book! With the mountains and river to explore as he was growing up, it certainly explains why he is such an incredible kayaker, and now coach.

Climbing the Volcan Villarica

Yesterday we hiked up 2847 vertical metres of Chilean Volcano! This was most definitely the ‘stoutest hike’ (as Carson puts it) I have ever done! Equipped with crampons (which we didn’t actually end up using) and ice axes (which we most definitely did!) as well as a tonne of water and sun screen! The first 400 (vertical) metres was on dirt, volcanic ashy rocky dirt, which slid so much you took one step down for every three you took up! This was possibly the hardest part of the climb, as my ankle was in an immense amount of pain from the motion of the walk. Luckily, just as I was contemplating giving up, the dirt turned to snow, and the new motion of lifting and placing your feet so you don’t slide, meant my ankle was no longer hurting, and so, the real climb began!

We had rests every so often as we climbed, in the few flat-ish places permitting time to stop, take off your rucksack, eat a snack, drink as much water as possible, and re-apply sun block!

Resting on the flat

The climb was mostly consistently steep snow, although occasionally it got steeper (and icier), and we reached the false peak, after climbing up the steepest part yet! Just to see the real peak towering high above us, and the people already climbing, tiny dots on the volcano side!

up the Volcano side

We each had a guide, or a guide to two, and so Carson and I were together with a guide. This turned out to be an unfortunate mix, as being very tall, Carson has much longer legs than I do! This resulted in the guide (in-front of me) taking huge steps, and me trying to keep up and stay out of Carson (behind me)’s way, so I basically jogged with huge strides up the Volcano.

We did eventually make it to the top, and the view was honestly incredible. We could also see into the crater, although we couldn’t see far enough down to see the Lava, we could see the smoke coming out in wispy little clouds. We ate some lunch, and wandered around the sides of the crater to see the different views, before (after drinking more water and applying more suncream) we started the head back down.

Reaching the crater of the volcano

The volcano’s alive!

On top of the Volcano

View from the top!

Happy family at the top!

The first part of the down hill hike was a little sketchy, being the steepest part of the mountain. We had to dig our heels in, and take one step at a time down each icy footprint. Soon however, we got past the iciest part, and for pretty much the rest of the way down, we slid down on our butts. This was so much fun, and in places there was more than one track, and we had races down. I went super fast, since I was small, and I had a few moments where I lost control and ended up going down on my side… but I managed to sit back up and slide down!

When we got to the bottom we stretched out and put our stuff in the sun. We took off our soaking wet boots and got into the bus, before driving back for the Chilean asado.

About an hour after my wonderful hot shower, my legs started to ache. Shortly after they were aching so much that I was in quite a lot of pain. After I walked to get dinner they were aching so badly I was holding back tears just to walk to get something to eat. Eventually John went to get me some painkillers, and after dosing up, and then setting my alarm for 2am, I said goodnight to all the university kids at the asado, and went to bed.

My alarm woke me up and I took some more painkillers, before sleeping the rest of the night.

The moral of the story?

Don’t try to keep up with tall people when hiking a volcano… go your own pace!

P.S. Be careful when sliding down volcanoes with an ice axe in your hand… It’s easy to stab yourself in the leg!

Praying for Rain

We pray for rain to fall and drive,
To drown the empty bed alive
Now dusty dry.
New trickles form from beads of dew,
The rocks a chain of pearls in view
Now sinking down.
So soon the river turns in sleep,
To wake from slumber and dreams so deep
Now rising up.
The banks begin to fill to brim,
As water rushes to dance and sing
Now spinning round.
All animals flee to ground up high,
As mother nature starts to cry
Now pouring tears.
And into boats of air and plastic,
We jump to brave the water fantastic
Now breaking out.
We soar and glide across the waves,
And even the birds become amazed
Now staring down,
At us.

 

I wrote this poem for my Video project: Express a poem through video media, I have yet to make the video part, but I thought it would be cool to publish the finished poem since I spent hours and hours editing it until it was right! ๐Ÿ™‚

Our weekend at the River Fuy!

We set off early friday morning, having to pack in ten minutes as it turned out the bus went at 8, from Pucรณn! John, AlexisGrace, Eric and I got the bus as there was not enough room for everyone inside the Durango. We arrived at the first bus stop on schedule, but the second bus however was late, and so after standing around for 40 minutes, and being told the next one was in twenty, we decided to go and try to find some snacks. We had fried bread things with cheese, and then walked back to the bus stop. The bus eventually arrived, and we crammed on, standing up to start with until some people got off at the next stop and we slowly got seats. The third bus however we discovered was not even running until 8pm, due to it being a holiday.

This meant we spent 45 minutes wandering around a small town, we went to find something else to eat and I had my first Ensalada(??) thing. Basically a bread/pastry style thing filled with meat and an egg. Was pretty good, but we were distracted sitting in the restaurant as the woman kept running back to the door and locking people out. We couldn’t see who was trying to get in, but we were all curious and a little concerned!

Eventually when we were done, she unlocked the door to let us out and we walked away, we couldn’t see anyone trying to get in, but obviously there had been before!

Eventually the Durango with the others in it arrived in town, and we crammed 12 people inside for the last 40 minutes of the Journey, possibly the most uncomfortable experience I’ve ever had, as I had to sit between the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat (which had Hunt and John both squished in) and was basically doing a constant sit-up to avoid falling backwards onto Nathan, Jake, AlexisGrace and Carson. Whilst MaryKatherine, Will and Isaac had to put up with Eric sprawled across all three of their laps!

We ended up arriving in Choshuenco in time for lunch at the hostel where we were staying. We then planned to go to paddle the Lower Fuy, however the guys were going to paddle the Lower Middle first, and we were going to meet them, but after they got to the river some local Chileans told them they had to come back to disinfect their boats to prevent some kind of bacteria getting in the water. So after spraying all our kayaks, gear and paddles, they eventually set off to just do the lower, but I opted to stay back at the hostel as I was tired from travelling and wanted a chance to Skype the ‘rents and brother since it was already 5pm as they were driving off!

They arrived back for dinner, and then the other group read out their paragraphs to everyone. We then handed our Video1 and Video2 projects into Nathan and eventually went to bed.

This morning we got up for breakfast at 9, and were all packed and ready to set off for the Lower Middle (there is some debate as to whether it should be called the Lower Middle section, or the Upper Lower section!) Fuy. MaryKatherine and Will planned to meet us at the put in for the Lower section.

We arrived at the put in, and had an interesting hike down a very steep path down to the river, but we eventually arrived at the river for one of the funnest stretches of river I have ever paddled!

Incredible blue water, accompanied by warm sunshine, huge waves, and Holes all over the river, resulted in one continuous stretch of river. I followed Lorenzo’s line down the river, weaving between one hole and the next, around pourovers and over boofs. There was one rapid which was a slide, which we paddled down the centre avoiding holes on the left and right, to then paddle right, to avoid the next hole!

We then reached the bridge where the other two were meeting us, and had a fun run down the bouncy Lower section!