The Lohit River flows from high Himalayan
headwaters in China and enters India at its Eastern most point in
Arunachal Pradesh. The state of Arunachal Pradesh borders Tibet and
China, and is a sore point for China, who still claim ownership of the
state. India is of course a massive country, and getting to its
easternmost point is no small task and the most dangerous part of the
trip. This area of the world has by far the most sketchy driving
conditions I've ever seen. Right of way is dictated by size, and it's
not uncommon to see bicyclist run off the road.
nearest airport it's still a full two day drive to reach the Lohit
River, thankfully the scenery in India is always entertaining.
Scouting doesn't seem quite as appealing when you see these
sized spiders hanging out...
The Lohit can be
down and done as a two day run, or extended to four days. We mused over
the options on the way up, and stayed the last town before the Chinese
border. The small village had one hotel and marks the upper take out.
Below this the river is pool drop class IV, but takes only slightly
longer to kayak than it does to drive to the lower take out. We decided
to maximize time on the river and out of the car, utilizing the lower
excited about their
our dues with more
driving. The heavy Indian Army presence in Arunachal Pradesh can't be
ignored. I'd imagine it's just as thick with the Chinese Army on the
other side of the border.
Packing up at
The Indian Army
outpost right near the border, and getting past it to the put-in
requires a bit of blind luck. Sometimes it's possible, often it's not.
We packed overnight gear and left it at "Garam Pani" (Hot Water) a hot
springs that is being developed into a resort. With our fingers crossed
we headed a few kilometers further up the road and breezed past the
little checkpoint without being flagged down. With luck on our side we
quickly hurried down to the river and put on to 4,000-5,000cfs of
beautiful turquoise water. The river bed had changed since the last
time anyone in our group had seen it, and we found everything to be fun
big water read and run IV-IV+ down to the hot springs.
Daniel Migoya gets
his first taste
of Himalayan whitewater in a beautiful setting.
Our first night on the river we picked up our gear at the
Pani hot springs and camped there next to the springs. The following
two days were full of big water read and run IV-V with the occasional
larger rapid mixed in. Overall we scouted five times and had no
portages, running an innumerable amount of fun rapids. Words come
nowhere close to doing this river justice. No big pools but tons of big
(but not too big) rapids.
Rafa Ortiz on the Lohit.
enjoying an early
It just feels so good!
One after another, all day long. Daniel Migoya and Chris Korbulic.
A little panning action as Rafa Ortiz runs one of the many boulder
It's amazing. Despite the fact the road was miles away and we were on a
remote river, every time we stopped for lunch or camp, people appeared
out of nowhere.
sandy beaches for camp, and "foothill" scenery.
quite damp in this part
of India and tough to get a good campfire going.
Rafa Ortiz gets into a curler and around a hole.
Rafa about to go deep in one of the Lohit's trademark drops.
Chris Korbulic takes an alternative route.
enjoying one of many
good rapids on the Lohit.
Although there are no major
tributaries pumping water into the Lohit in this section, by the end of
the third day the river has grown to nearly 15,000cfs.
is common in the
afternoons and night.
The last day of the
Lohit has some big flats unless you take out at town. Since paddling it
takes half hour more then driving around,
staying on the water is the way to go. The scenery stays top notch and
rapids scale down to III-IV with some big pools.
there wasn't so much else
to kayak in Arunachal Pradesh, we'd go back for a second lap.
This section of
River is easily one of, if not the best multi-day trips in the world.
More than enough rapids, no mandatory portages and only a handful of
scouts. Clean clear water and friendly local people. It doesn't get
much better than this. The river is best run in the fall when it is
low, spring and summer flows would be terrifying. If the Lohit is on
your radar or to-do list, I'd suggest going sooner rather than later.
Engineers have already been at work and marked out a dam
just upstream of the bridge, so get it while you can. Thunder
Bow Expeditions has a map if
you're wondering where it's at.