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Argentina & Chile

The paperwork has still not come through for our car. We seek local advice and are pointed to the Rio Salado, located near the famous Las Lenas ski resort. Although it's out of our way, 400km and change from Mendoza, it should have a short class V gorge. Getting out there from San Rafael should only take us an hour or two, and soon enough we are forced to stop for a military checkpoint, common leftovers from less stable times in Argentina.

Search dog and all.

So fierce, he seems more interested in a nap than searching our little car.

Cleared by the military we continue on up the river as the road climbs high above a canyon. It's beautiful, but really hard to tell whats going on. With no real trees it's hard to get a grip on how flows look or the size of rapids.

We have good beta for the run. Put in below Las Lenas ski resort, but not in the valley. Rok Sribar hikes in.

There is a good reason not to put in at the easy access in the valley. It's not just a tight gorge, the river flows underground for a little bit.

There is supposed to be an old trail around here somewhere, but it's faint and we head down the ravine as described. It's very steep but loose sand makes it possible to walk all the way down.

Rok Sribar

Andrej Bijuklic crosses an old bridge over the Rio Salado

Putting on is intimidating. We'll seal launch off some sloping rock into a shallow looking pool. It's apparent this is more of a creek than a river, and we're curious about what's downstream.

Rok Sribar checks out the seal launch.

The seal launch proves to be the toughest part of the day. It's a beautiful gorge full of class III rapids with one easy portage for an undercut. Twenty minutes later and the gorge opens up.

Igor Mlekuž and
Fabian Bonanno approach take out.

Perhaps a fitting end to the day, an ok sunset for an ok river.

Well almost over, wolfing down an empanada Fabian also got a piece of plastic, which lodged in his throat.

Rok Sribar and
Andrej Bijuklic discuss the logistics of empanada eating.

With Fabian in the hospital for a day we had some time to kill in San Rafael. How about some local cuisine?

I know we can't read Spanish, but I'm pretty sure this spot is not for us...

True local cuisine, we pick up some Malbec wine and steaks!

Half of kayaking is waiting around.

A panoramic view of our evening at Silvio's new house.

Now it's been five days, and our luck must turn for the better! Will we get into Chile tomorrow?

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