Dan Caldwell '08 Vid

Well folks I hope everyone is enjoying a happy holiday season and is out somewhere warm kayaking. I'm still in the frozen tundra of Northern BC but threw together some clips from my 2008 season. See you in the spring!

Alzar School in Mexico

Well, we have just one day before our group of US students arrive in Mexico. We have been scouting out the rivers around our main basecamp here in Jalcomulco. They are incredible! Today we paddle the Rio Actopan, which is a continuous Class II-III rollercoaster. You start at a small waterfall, which you can choose to run or not run, then encounter three fun rapids in a tight canyon. At one point, a HUGE waterfall dumps into the river. Plus, the water on this river is exceptionally clear, with a slight blue tinge.

Our hotel here is SWEET, one of the nicest places for the Alzar School yet. Plus, we have the new van, which is a great ride, comfy. Plus, we have been eating excellent food... two 'paletas' each day (awesome popsicles).

One of the most exciting developments is that we are going to have not one, but TWO local students join us for the trip. They are named Mayan and Marisol. Kristin and I met with them yesterday and they are SO cool. They are both 15 and are excited to share Mexico with our students from the US. We can't wait. Their tuition is covered thanks to all the generous donations to the Jean Bierle Scholarship Initiative, so a big THANK YOU to those who helped with that!

You would all be happy to know that Pebbles (the Alzar School puppy) is adapting very well on her first trip out of the US... She made the drive down easily, napping most of the way. We were awed by how well she did in the car. And, she has finally discovered that she can swim and loves it. Today we played fetch in the river and she was having a blast. She still needs to work on her technique a little before hitting the main current, but she is now leaping into the river instead of reluctantly treading out, which is great. She also really enjoys all the new sites, sounds, and especially smells. Today on my jog with her, she chased after a burro for a little bit, and later tried to eat a gecko.


New Zealand

Hello from New Zealand!
New River Academy's trip started off on the Kaituna River. This was a completely epic run, with a fun double drop and a 20 footer on it and numerous other little drops. The run leads into the Kaituna
 hole, which is an unbelievable playspot. It was actually at this hole that a couple HUGE students created the move "phonix m
onkey" a few years back. The area itself was gorgeous. Picture rich rolling green hills 100 yds from lush jungle. The river put in was only around 3/4 of a mile from where we were staying, and the hole only around 1 1/2 miles from us, easy walking distance. It was a perfect set up.

We spent time at the River Valley Lodge on the Rangitiki River. Wh
ile we were there, the river flooded and a cool wave came in. New River Academy knocked off school early in order to play on it. 
We did lots of other runs on other rivers around New Zealand. We even got time in the ocean! There are rough riptides and it is so tiring
 fighting them for hours. But New Zealand coast has sweet waves for sure!
  We got to run Maruia Falls, which are on the South Island of New Zealand. The falls are 35 feet tall, and super
 fun. It is a park and huck, so there is no pressure. We had some interesting runs, including 3 hail marys (which were amazing), numerous free wheels, and even a sort of panam. We also had our fair share of interesting lines as well. No pain no gain though right?
New Zealand
 is an amazing trip, definitaly one I'll never forget.

Happy Holidays!
Tracy d'Arbeloff