third day in country and second on the water, Jesse Coombs.
Deep in the canyon. Last night saw our arrival at
spire. The spire signified the extent of our gorge rim scouting
mission. The downstream vertical canyon marks the beginning of the
Coombs finishing the spire
It was already nice and warm in the morning.
required a little boat lowering, which is quite a bit of work when your
kayak has overnight gear and seven days of food.Less
food: a weight
easement contrasts with a heightening sense of
urgency. The entry drop to the gorge was a nice bedrock
Water was lower
than the previous day, but that was fine with us because this drop
would have a big hole at higher flows.
back upstream at the portage.
Coombs moving down river.
lighting in a beautiful place. The
nature of exploration.
The gorge only contained flat water and pleasant
On the other
side gradient continued to accelerate, but the canyon was open enough
for us to portage over rocks and occasionally under them. This portage
forced us to finish in a seal launch above a ten foot falls.
"A picture is worth a thousand words" Portages mixed with navigable
boulder gardens. Stunning sights the entire way. Dwarfed by a canyon
wall of the Rio Piaxtla.
hope we can figure things out at
river level, because there is no
getting out of this epic, and formidable canyon. Jesse enjoying the
Rocky Contos in his element.
Lush jungle in one spot, cactus in other. The canyon of the Piaxtla is
a place of amazing contrast. Ben above our first large falls, which
unfortunately lands on rock and required our second rappel.
loving the adventure. Note the
ancient native ruins in the wall
far above river level.
The nature of the Sierra Occidental is boulder
The low angle
slides we'd seen so far were out of character, as was the big falls
we'd portaged. Going in we expected boulder gardens but knew of the
large falls. The unspoken hope was that not only would there be the big
falls, but perhaps others in this abnormal slice of the mountain range.
Coming out of yet another boulder garden to a large horizon line, I
expected something to be wrong with the falls, but of course hoped for
It only took a few seconds of scouting for us to
to ear grins.
This thirty to forty foot falls was good to. The lead in was complex
enough to make it interesting, but not too dangerous. The landing
looked pretty good, there was a significant but easy to avoid cave far
on the left.
Coombs lines it up, it wanted to
take you left, but you don't
want to go too far right either.
it feels so good.
Rocky Contos enjoys a pleasant surprise on the Piaxtla.
I was getting set up for Ben to go and had a shot
As he peeled
out I had it all framed and perfect when a gigantic spider ran across
my hand. I nearly dropped the camera but thankfully the spider ran off
and I was able to frame the shot at the last second. We
carried extra animation to the lip of the next
above we'd seen that it was pool drop. Would there be more great falls?
The next cataract was more of a slide than falls.
or anywhere close to it, I'm pretty sure it would have been run. On the
other hand, days away from help in a remote, hard to access gorge, the
possibility of taking an injurious hit was too much to risk, and we
made quick work of the portage. Another pool and horizon line. Once
again a very questionable falls. Perhaps with higher water, or smooth
granite, the lead in would have been possible. As it was it appeared
that a paddler would get slowed down by the abrasive rock and then fall
to a massive piton or hit on the left wall.
extensive scouting Ben decided
to use his seal launching skills
to run the falls past the shallow lead-in.
Past the falls a boulder garden led into a
one large rock split the river into two tight channels. A quick scout
on the wall showed us a seal launch down the center or options on the
side. James led the charge on the left, took a piton and brief surf in
the pothole before paddling out.
follows with a nice piton too.
Not liking the mandatory piton, I thought the
good, provided I drove hard enough to the left to avoid a piton and
cave on the right. I came in hot, got my bow up where I wanted it, but
still pitoned at the bottom and got my own quick surf in a cave. The
joys of murky water! Paddling through calm water we were all pleased
with the day. We'd made acceptable downstream progress and ran better
drops than expected. As the right wall peeled back from the river, sun
had already left the canyon and we jumped on the opportunity to partake
of a nice campsite well above river level in case the ever present
threat of rain came through. The temperatures are mild, but we're all
coming down with a rash and getting harassed by the obnoxious black
flies. Looking at the topo and our guesstimated pace of travel, we
should reach the six hundred foot falls tomorrow.