The truth About Kayak Exploration
Kayaking is not all about running sick drops and high-fiving wit h your bros on the side of the river.
Sometimes you got to get out in the woods and do your research. In Chile these missions are characterized by long drives on bumpy dirt roads, frustrating hiking into impenetrable jungle flora, and furtive glimpses into impossibly tight box canyons.
Over the weekend we set out on one such mission to the zone north of Pucon. We had 5 five‘hits’, or potential rivers, to check out. The first river we investigated looked enticing at the takeout so we sent a search party upstream. The gradient seemed to be going the wrong way, the flow was low at the top and the river bent away from the road into desolation zone.
Here is the potential put-in we found for the Rio Dijo.
The first two rivers came up ‘no go’s’ so we set out around the third river. We had seen a photo in Kayak Session of some Germans running the next river we were looking into, so we had high hopes. This time we were stymied by low water, but committed to return and paddle the mini basalt gorges we scouted.
We drove through a national forest as we wrapped around the Volcan Llamia.
Here is a group of Ararcaria trees on the ridge approaching the pass.
Aracaria tree and Volcan Llamia.
Dastin, Deters and Riley driving through the Volcanic basin of Llamia.
The next river we checked on was the infamous Rio Traful Traful. The run is reminiscent of a Colorado class III with some serious Chileano Class VI at the end.
The final falls on the river.
No one wanted anything to do with “Trufulator” falls, so we called it a day.
Next day saw more driving on shitty roads and hanging off of spiny bushes and bamboo, trying get a good look into more basalt canyons.
We finally put on the Rio Blanco and located some class IV in box canyon and portages.
Portage on the Blanco.
After a fine evening at the ‘Termas de Rio Blanco we made the final loop to the Machine River and back home to Pucon. We did not paddle much, but we seriously increased the group’s knowledge base about the rivers in the zone we had just explored.
A smoking Volcan Villarica.