We were all stoked to be on the river together for day five,
with this being Eric
Jackson's and Heather
of exploration with us. We got up early and put-in at our previous
take-out bridge, although it had been a few days since we had explored.
After a leisurely vehicular unloading process, EJ showed us that
perhaps Ben has a competitor for the best seal launcher title.
picture shows how mellow the river was, but we knew
there was some gradient and perhaps a gorge ahead. Mellow gradient
continued for about a half kilometer downstream, with a few junky
rapids interspersed. Next thing we knew everyone was scrambling for an
eddy as the river dropped through a class IV lead into a boxed in
canyon. The entrance rapid ended up having a sticky hole, and prompted
us to scout more of the gorge from above. Rafa started some nice
machete work and we slowly made our way downstream, able to see a few
smaller drops and note that the canyon was still inescapable. More
bushwhacking followed, and suddenly we emerged into a small coffee and
banana plantation with a nice trail. Just a few minutes down the trail
we found a small bridge that looked like it must be over a tributary,
but to my surprise the footbridge was over the Alseseca, which was
gorged up so tight that the tree branches from both sides of the river
intermingled blocking view of the river, which was about fifty feet
standing on the bridge a local farmer came down the hill and made a
joke about diving in, and Ben started talking to him to see what he
knew about the area.
He told us that the gorge continued straight into a
forty-meter (131’) waterfall, and that he knew of a hour and
half hike around that he would be willing to lead us on.
hard at work.
Before leaving we started to take off all our paddling
gear, due to warm temperatures and the long hike ahead of us. Our local
guide let us leave all the stuff on his property, and gave us some of
the bananas that he grows. They were incredible, he told us they take
three months to grow and ripen, unlike most modern bananas that due to
chemicals and being genetically modified take only three days.
Ortiz translates all this for the group.
were the best bananas I have ever had.
With all our layers dropped off we headed up the trail to
go around and check out just how big the waterfall would be.
the Alseseca even the off river hiking is outstanding.
The trail in the above picture eventually leads to a small
town, if you don’t take the cut off we did. Once we started
getting near the river we were surprised to see Thayer and a few more
local guides. Israel took Thayer and Lucas up to the small town, and
then some locals showed them down to the waterfall where they were
waiting for us. The waterfall was nothing short of fascinating as it
poured out of the boxed in canyon.
We quickly judged it at eighty to ninety feet, but when
Ben climbed up the cliff near the falls we realized it was quite a bit
larger than we had originally surmised. We spent quite a bit of time
just enjoying the waterfall before hiking back up to the footbridge,
where some of the group scouted down the canyon to the lip, and others
socialized by the footbridge. The scout revealed the gorge was truly
inescapable, all the way through the waterfall. We really
paddle anything this day but the quick flat section above the gorge,
but it was still an admirable day of exploration in the jungle.