Tuesday, March 2, 2010

South of the Border
Kayak Adventures

It was nice to get away from the snow for a week and spend some time kayaking in Mexico with brother Al and friends. Below is the place we stayed at Aventurec, owned by some friends. They hooked us up with a cabin and buffet style meals each day. They also gave us a van for the week... what good fortune.

Below is the cabin we called home

First river was Rio Alseseca, a short, steep, creekish run that was so much fun to paddle. It was a good 1st day to get us psyched for a week of challenging whitewater.

Every rapid was a drop or a slide, probably about 25 rapids total in a short 3-4km

We ran into our uncle (random!), who is pictures below on the first rapid.

Below is a video of one of the challenging drops, we looked at it and said "no way" but knew we were going to give her a ride.

Our 2nd river we wanted to paddle, paddle, paddle long and as far as we could. So we set out early on a 50km section of the Rio Filosbobos, which is probably one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever run. We put on high above the normal putin spot to run a seldom paddled upper section, turns out we got dropped off at the wrong tributary creek, very ledgy and steep, we almost went over this 60ft waterfall (below). We ended up rappelling around it but once below, we were able to see the bottom and figured it may be possible to kayak... maybe next time!

My waterproof camera broke on the first day, so we had to rely on our friend PAG to document the Filobobos. Turns out he seldom pulls out the camera, so on the most beautiful river and spectacular rapids, all we have is a pic of me swimming after failed roll attempts on a rapid called "meltdown". How embarrassing! I took the camera from him for the rest of the trip!

He did snap a pic of one of the many waterfalls that drop in from the surrounding canyon walls... so amazingly picturesque.

We paddled hard and rewarded ourselves with a huge buffet dinner, and made plans to leave our comfy cabin and lifestyle in seek of more adventure and bigger whitewater. Early the next morning we set out in search for a river only run once before (12 yrs earlier) by my brother Alex and Uncle Tom. All he could remember was a long shuttle, beautiful jungle w/ monkeys and that the river had no water....but if it did.....
Well we'd been getting lots of rain so now was the time to find out what this river was all about. It took us an entire day to find the closest town to where we wanted to put in. The van could only take us so far on the dirt and rocky roads, so we spent the night on some Mexican's porch. The next morning he showed up with a 4x4 ATV pictured below. We loaded up and spent the next several hours working our way to the river.

It was such an adventure just finding the river. They warned us of tigers and monkeys in the gorge. TIGERS! We knew the river was about 40km and that there was a chance we would have to spend the night in the woods if we didn't move quickly. No one wanted to sleep with tigers.

Eventually the 4x4 could go no further so we had to carry / drag our boats for the last 1/2 hour. We packed a few sleeping bags, matches and some food and set out for what would be an amazing day.

The river was intense, very steep and lots of rocks and big boulders. We tried to stay in our boats and scout rapids without getting out. We wanted to keep moving and make it to the ocean. Oh YES, the river ended into the OCEAN! We ended up carrying two rapids but the entire river was solid, nonstop class IV boating. It just went on....

and on.....

and on.....

and on.....

and on.....finally as the sun was setting we came out of the mountains, the gradient leveled off as we paddled to the beach.

There was no road access to the beach, so we asked this fisherman to ride us up the coast so we could get to a road and a phone. He said he would in the morning and invited us to stay with his sons and their wives who lived in huts on the beach.
They had just come in from fishing and we helped them unload the boat

clean the fish

We lived like humble fisherman for the night. No electricity, dirt floors, no utensils, a very simple existence. It was amazing to witness their lifestyle. Literally waking with the rooster each morning to fish all day. During the day while they fished, their wives ground corn into tortillas, did laundry and all the other duties of a good wife. ; ) They were attractive couples and seemed very happy. One of them had spent a few years in Florida so he was very familiar with our American lifestyle; I found it interesting that this is the life he chose. They put out what appeared to be a candle reserved for special occasions, and pooled all their resources (like random plates) to feed us. They fed us, clothed us and piled their fishing nets on the ground and gave us some blankets to stay warm. Great day, best day in Mexico .. so far!

Next morning we loaded the fishing boat and arrived an hour later in this neat little fishing harbor.

Today we would do another mountain to ocean run on the Rio Oro
More hiking with kayaks, but after a winter of putting on the pounds, we welcomed the exercise!

The river begins above this unrunnable waterfall by just bubbling out of the mountain top. The water is crystal clear and we could tell right away it was going to be fast and powerful.

From sticky holes to big waterfalls,

We just did it all!

screaming and yelling all the way

way down!

and even a broken paddle couldn't stop us. We (of course) carry a spare just for this moment.

The Rio Oro had it all and I don't think I have ever kayaked a better river in my life.

A broken paddle couldn't stop us, but a broken boat could...

Lo Siento Ted!

And so dashed our plans for another new and big exciting river for the last day. We headed back to our friends at Aventurec, borrowed a boat and spent our last day doing a lower section of the Rio Filobobos which flows alongside some ancient ruins. The sun finally came out for us and we floated down, thinking of all we had experienced this past week and knowing the next day we would be back to our snow covered homes.

Thanks to Alex, Stevo, Ted and PAG for a great week in Mexico.
We 5 make a great team

And thanks to Jennifro for the pass!


Christian said...

Whoa! Nice trip for a bunch of old guys!!!

Suzanne said...

Jaw hitting the ground! I gotta get my rear to Mexico! ha! -Suzanne

partii said...

Christian, Too bad you weren't old enough to go!

Ann Marie said...

What an amazing guys trip!

The ruins, waterfalls, rivers.. all so beautiful in picture.. I can't even imagine what it looked like in the real..

I love that your whole family lives life to the fullest! Everything is always an adventure.. and yet you most enjoy things that are so simple ( like staying with that family eating fish and etc.. )
I would have loved to experience that!
On the otherhand.. I would skip "sleeping on some mexican's porch" and sleeping out where Tigers are? Yikes!

Your family has the best hook ups all over.. don't you!! -- I know why though.. because you all are so great!

What an adventure!
Thanks for sharing it with us in the blogging world!

Jayne Layne said...

I say it every year .... Glad you are back safe, but.... Whoa! I just can't believe what you guys dare to do! It seriously looked awesome! What an amazing and gorgeous trip! I'll go next year!

jill said...

WHAT AN ADVENTURE!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously BEAUTIFUL pic's!!! I'm SO glad that someone took that camera and went to work, what a tragedy not to have pictures! You sure know how to live... I'm so impressed by the kindness of strangers! Glad you're back safe Nick! And jealous that you got to visit such beauty! Heart ya!

VEGAS VIC said...

The pictures were beautiful. I really do think it is great that you and your brother and friends could have this great experience. I do stand in awe of it all.

Up in Bubbles said...

WOW That just looks amazing. If only I could have a few of these experiences in my life. I need to get out of America and travel. Glad you made it back safe and sound and Jennifer survived while you were away. LUCKY

Amanda Cheek said...

You guys are so adventureous! And although it looks like a good time, I am totally okay living vicariously through your blog. I'd never have enough guts to do that!

CrazeeAngee said...

I am finally getting around to checking out your pics. What a great trip! The area and rivers are so beautiful!! Thanks for sharing!! We should all take a tamer trip down to Mexico sometime.

Kimmie said...

Okay, so Tracy has been telling me that I need to see how AWESEOME Nick is with the Kayaking adventure he went on!!

WOW, WOW, WOW is all I can say!!!

You are guys are hard core kayakers and I can't believe the stunningly gorgeous country you are seeing with your adventures you go on. LOVE all of your gorgeous photos and your great attitude you kept up, even though it got difficult at times.

I'm sad to say, but I wish I could choose to live such a simple life like the men who caught fish all day and the wives that made tortillas and did other "good wife duties". I loved your comment about the man that had lived in Florida, but "this was the life he chose". (I'm emailing something to Jennifer about this).

I am a believer that you truly can be happy by living simply. We Americans really do live "bloated lifestyles" and that is why Tracy and I are on the quest to get out of debt, so we can live SIMPLY, but live WELL!!

If I had could wave a magic wand and have my dream come true, it would be to spend weeks at a time backpacking, hiking and sleeping in the high country and seeing things that only can be seen by people who are willing to put one foot in front of the other to get there. I love to be in remote areas, where there is no noise from society, no four wheelers, no technology, only the breathtaking beauty of nature and all that she has to offer.
(sorry for the novel)

You could seriously write articles for an outdoor magazine with your great writing style and world class photos you take Nick!

You can Jennifro are such a handsome and incredibly talented couple!! What a JOY it is to know you both!!

Anonymous said...

Nick, you have more adventure in the fingernail of your right "pinkie" than I have in my whole body. It is a privilege to know you! Love, Aunt Nancy