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The Indus River through the Rondu Gorge
Northern Territories, Pakistan V+

Episode Six


  It was our last day to be paddling with Rafael Ortiz on the Indus. Schoolwork called him home, but was not on anyones mind as we put on the mighty river. Rafa's presence would be replaced by a police detail assigned to us by whom we'll never know.

Rafa Ortiz starts off another intense day.

I was continually in awe of our ant like presence in the Karakoram.

   Not long into our day we arrived at "the portage" which is the cover shot from the "first descent" and I had to chuckle. I'm not too big a fan of posing photographs, and the portage route was much higher up than the obviously staged image. We took a walk down to the edge of the rapid to look at it with no real intention of running anything.

"If you go in that hole you'll probably end up back in Mexico City" - Phil Boyer.

Below the mandatory portage was a grand final for Rafa's journey. 15,000cfs of water flowing over a narrow bedrock ledge.

The first hole was a bit intimidating. Chris Korbulic

Rafa Ortiz making the most of his last day.

Rafa enters the chaos.

   Our euphoria from running the rapid quickly faded as we were forced to bid farewell to Rafa, knowing his infectious personality, enthusiasm, and confident boating would be missed. We floated downstream with a keen eye out for a remote campsite that would give us an excuse not hike to the road. Camp was found at the ideal time, so we enjoyed the sandy beach, estimating we had covered at least twenty five kilometers in our read and run frenzy.