It happens every so often in life when the forces that be, in this case the river gods, give you a helping hand. I'm 29 years old, a recent home owner, and for the last two years have been working 11 out of 12 months. Before that I was Working 200 days and kayak traveling for a 150 days. It's been over three years since I was in Chile and wasn't sure when I'd be back. However, this last summer someone invited me back to Chile and I was motivated to look for a ticket making a deal with my self that I wouldn't pay over a grand for one. The river gods provided and I found a super cheap flight out of La.
I was only going for a month to say hi to friends and paddle in Pucon, then get back before I lost my job. Ha!, a month later I had realized that this third time back in Chile I was fostering old friendships and wedging my self into three different communities, Pucon, Futaleufu, and Lago Bertrand, (one of the main sources of the RIo Baker). I wasn't ready to go back. It was too good in these communities with these people who loved and respected there rivers and land.
I skipped my flight home and the river gods rewarded me for my faith by providing me work in Futa as a safety cata rafter, safety kayaker, and video kayaker (super g$$d job). While in Pucon, I paddled with my buddy LJ Groth, and his company Escape. It was super fun and also provided me exposure to the indigenous people of Curarrehue out side of Pucon and other paddlers.. It was a welcome relief to the craziness of Pucon and home of the Rio Puesco, one of the top three rivers in the area.
And so I'll start from the beginning.
The spring creeks of Montana Idaho where done by the end of the summer and I needed training.
Bear cr. Mt
White sands cr. Id
I found the answer with my roommate by going on a four week road trip of surf training in Baja. Sure your not in
a kayak, but surfing is great training. It started with a road trip from Montana to Baja in my 1992 chevy work/ surf van, "Lloy".
Of the cost of Baja on the Island Natividad
|Another Mexican sunset.|
I stepped on this guy. Luckly his tail was stuck and couldn't sting me. When I lifted my bare foot he had this venom just dripping out of his stinger.
OK, four weeks later and I'm all trained up, on to Pucon Chile.
|Kayaker Ian Garcia, |
|Rio Claro, The "Cericole" drop. |
180 degree 30 ft slide to 30 ft drop
Photo Lj Groth
photo, Dan Thurber
Photo Dan Thurber
Photo LJ Groth
|the exit falls on the rio Claro|
|Lj Groth, stomping the first drop on the vente dos saltos of the Rio Claro|
|waiting at the portage on the Rio Palguin. Huck it or jump it. Both are exciting.|
|volcan la'nin outside of Curarrhue|
Todd Richey lining up on the slide on Nevados cr.
Photo, Elena Louder
|Dan Thuber dropping in on the classic Nevados slide. Welcome to one of the top creeks in Pucon.|
|Dan Urriza catching a little more air then expected.|
photo Dan Thurber
|Catching some air my self!|
Dan dropping in on the hard left waterfall on the Lower Nevedos
|Loveing it, Boofing it!|
|Aniol Serasolses boofing the Wall drop on Nevados|
|Lj Goth firing off the Demshitz drop|
Dan and myself mid way through the waterfall section of the Upper Fuy
|My WRSI throw bag crushing it as usual|
|Dan Urizza leaving the Nevados slide|
|Thats always a good sign|
|on top of Valcan Viallarica in Pucon|
|Mt. Frey, one of the many sources to the Rio Monso outside of Baraloche Argentina|
|Lago Monso at night|
Myself, getting fired up for salto de Alerces on the Rio Monso
Firing it Up!
After two months in Pucon it was time to go to the big and beautiful water of the Rio Futaleufu. While here most of my time is spent working so not to many shots. But, the Futa is one of the best rivers I've ever been on. With about 40 kilometers of class 4 and 5 white water, easy access, and cleanliness it is a super special river. Don't be fooled either. IT IS STILL IN THREAT TO BE DAMED. Its happening subtlety, but construction of info structure has been going on slowly in the valley. Be aware and be educated.
In my last days in Chile I had the great luck of going back to the Rio Baker for a third time. This is truly a gem in the country and I encourage all, kayaker and non kayaker to come and experience the power and beauty of this land.
On this trip back, I was hired as a driver and a guide for Creature Craft and there first descent of the baker in inflatables. I know how kayakers feel about them, but keep in mind they ran all three canyons with out issue. On one lap the took two passengers. This opens up more possibilities for exposure to rivers to more people creating yet more awareness for rivers, thus growing our river community.
Needless to say, running in front of the creature crafts, as point man/ safety kayaker was crazy. Pretty much out there alone, watching waiting in the eddy below. Humbling to say the least.
* all photos in this section are from Tanya. Thank you!
|fist drop, Salto Neff, at the confluence|
|Fico Galisse in the first rappid. many kayakers Know Fico because he is one of few guides for the area. After eight trips here to the Baker, this was his fist time inside the canyon.|
|myself exiting rappid # 1|
|Dropping in to rappid #3|
|Creature crafts do flip some times. This is in rappid #3|
|Me safety kayaking the baker, ha!|
|finding a line between the chaos in the fourth rapped.|
|The whole team, Creature Crafters, Video, and me the only kayaker.|
|And so I had 10 days to make it from the take out of the Rio Bake to Lima Peru.|
When I skipped my flight home I looked for cheep one way flights.
Turns out lima is cheep. Lima to LA California was 345$ Winning!
BUT, it was 90 hours of travel, not fun.
Its, now my last night in Liima. I just need to fly back to California and drive 24 hr, back to Montana, and I'm home again. Thanks river gods for helping me in my way through the river of life. With out them and all of the friends and sponsors, WRSI, it would be impossible. What an incredible journey!