We all knew this was it. One full day left to
this run that we had spent the last three weeks working on. Early in
the morning we all rejoiced that the weather was the best it had been
in days, with spotty clouds and a good amount of ambient light.
Emotions stirred at the start of such a big day, excitement and
apprehension about the first waterfall, curiosity and trepidation about
the unknown river downstream, and most of all hope that we could
complete the bold mission we had put so much into.
We made quick time down to the water, and most of
group was in business mode for the morning and got setup quickly. I
felt really good about the waterfall, confident I could make my move
and willing to take the horrendous swim if I didn’t. To my
surprise EJ was also fired up about this waterfall, something I
didn’t expect from a someone that to my shame I had mentally
categorized as just a play boater without knowing him. EJ’s
was different then Ben’s line, he planned to seal launch in
backwards, into the slack water/eddy right above the falls, and then
proceed to start a ferry across turning his angle downstream as he did
so. Without delay Eric headed to his boat while the rest of us got our
assorted cameras ready.
Jackson, looking focused and about to seal launch in.
From the eddy EJ made an easy looking ferry and
long left side stroke all the way into a tuck at the bottom,
disappearing for a moment and resurfacing on the right of the boil,
rolled up and was as fired up as I have ever seen anyone.
Eric Jackson, Middle Alseseca in Vera Cruz, Mexico.
Now I was even more excited about this drop and
to my boat. I still wasn’t sold on the reverse seal launch,
tried several spots for my boat but couldn’t find anything
suited my taste. While debating my options EJ walked back up and sold
me on the reverse seal launch. I quickly thought of my line while
Heather was kind enough to hold my boat and I prepared mentally. I knew
I wanted to move across in a upstream ferry, let it turn my bow
downstream when I was far enough right, then take a left stroke once I
was going over the falls, and boof with some right angle. Normally I
wouldn’t consider boofing something of this size, but the
was huge and looked like it could cushion the impact from the
My boat quickly stabilized under me after the
launch, and I wasted no time before starting my ferry across, as I
dropped over the edge I got the long boof stroke in, boofed and leaned
forward, ready for impact. The impact at the bottom was soft, and
I’m not sure if I subbed out and resurfaced upside down or
immediately flipped in all the funky water, but on rolling up I was
relieved to see I was far away from the left undercut and not stuck on
the right wall. During the boof I forgot to turn my head sideways,
connecting my face with my cockpit rim. My nose was sore but not
bleeding, and thank heavens, not broken.
stepped up and ran it too, with the fourth clean line.
After his run we regrouped at the top of the falls and with
plenty of daylight left chose to finish the unknown run below. In true
form, after one corner the Rio Alseseca went through a nice set of
bedrock drops that looked a bit sticky. After a quick scout EJ opted to
probe the drops, the first one being an interesting folding affair.
lined up the drop and nosed into the fold, and surprising everyone he
disappeared completely for a brief moment.
Jackson, 155lb man in a 93 gallon boat, somehow doing a mystery move.
a paddle blade! EJ on his way to the surface.
hole proved to be a little sticky but he worked his way out.
was really one long rapid with eddies between drops, classic pool drop
style. Two ledges followed the folding affair.
Eric Jackson on the second of three parts of the rapid
The third ledge was super sticky on the right side
circulated back into the hole from fifteen feet downstream, so needless
to say we went left.
Jackson, three of three, Middle Alseseca.
I portaged the folding affair while Rafa ran it
problems, and Rafa, Nick and I grouped in the big eddy above part three
while other team members came down. Next the river split around a large
island requiring a quick scout for an easy rapid that emptied into a
pool above a larger horizon line. A quick scout of the larger horizon
line revealed a quite substantial horizon line at the bottom of a class
IV lead-in. We all got out for a look at an intriguing waterfall. Once
again the river split around a large knob of bedrock sticking up in the
middle. The right channel…could go but was not friendly with
sticky ledge holes. The left side was a sweet 10-15’ slide
dropped onto a pillow/seam from the right channel, and then straight
over a 10’ drop, unusual and very fun looking. We spent
time looking at it, and while doing so Rafa and Ben checked out what
was downstream, found a sticky hole with a major cave that looked like
you would never come back out of. By the time they walked back up the
waterfall was known as “Meatlocker” in reference to
cave feature downstream.
Rafa also yelled to us with elation that the Pesma
just around the corner too. That made this drop the last of the first
descent on the Middle Alseseca and that much sweeter than it already
was. With huge smiles on our faces we got ready to run the rapid or
capture it on film respectively.
Ortiz, first descent of the Meatlocker on the Middle Alseseca.
Rafa disappeared at the seam and resurfaced below
with a deft roll and big grin. EJ got a nice boof off the slide and
completed the drop in a screaming fast tail stand.
Jackson, the Meetlocker.
lines were had by all, this drop just stoking us that much more on a
Troutman relishing the last of the first descent action.
Post quick portage and brutal seal launch (for
around the cave feature we were on the Pesma run that most of the group
had run earlier on a high water day. Thayer joined in on the run and we
enjoyed the low stress drops all the way down to the Tomata Bridge.
Jackson somewhere on the Pesma run.
Our ever-faithful Israel was waiting at the Tomata
Bridge, and we pulled off the river with a feeling of accomplishment,
elation, and respect for the river words can never do justice to. The
cameras were set down while we enjoyed one last night in Tlapacoyan,
packed up for Mexico City and our various flights home. Years
later it's great to look back and see how classic some of these
sections have become.