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Talung Three

       Loading up for one more trip up the arduous Lingza-Be road.

   We walk a good section of the road, since it's about as fast as driving it. At the trailhead we quickly don our kayaking gear for a full scout mission of the falls. A few minutes of hiking puts us at the dubious bridge.

Jesse Coombs geared for business.

  The only way to see the falls is across the bridge, so we have no other option but sucking it up and crossing one at a time. Then it's a fifteen minute jungle crawl traverse. I throw on a pair of Glacier Gloves for the traverse, it's not cold but they sure do a good job of protecting my hands from the too numerous thorn trees. Seeing the falls we form a plan. Jesse will rappel to the base of the falls with his kayak. It's totally walled in, and the exit drop is unrunable. Thankfully there is a wide, shallow gravel bar before the exit. Jesse will paddle around the landing zone and check for depth while Ben heads to the lip of the falls to see how it looks from above. Chris will shoot from above on the bridge. I spend my time beating down the jungle with a large piece of bamboo. Eventually I have a clear view of the falls. When I get a full view it's one I've been dreaming of for years. A big falls dropping into a perfect bowl. Great water color. I'm stoked, having had this image in my mind for years I know what I want to capture.

Humidity is high in the jungle, and I'm not happy about fog on the lens.

Jesse probes around the base of the falls while we clear vegetation.

   With such a small team and complicated access logistics we're limited on our media capture. I'm doing something I has wanted to do for a while, but have not had the opportunity to do yet. Shooting one camera by hand, and my second with a remote. I debate my options for a few minutes while setting up. The light is dark because we have a heavy cloud cover. For the ideal capture I want both the envisioned horizontal wide image, and a nice vertical shot. I put my D200 on the tripod and go wide with a 20mm lens on it. Attached to that is a cheap wired remote for the shutter release. For up close I'll shoot the D700 with the Nikkor 75-150mm on it. On top of that I was passed a video camera to shoot too. I duct tape that on top of the D200.
   Ben decides he won't run the lead in, but will seal launch in from the lip. With a thumbs up from everyone he scoots closer to the lip as cameras roll. Swiftly he slides into the top of the waterfall and a second later resurfaces at the bottom.

Ben Stookesberry, Sikkim, India.

I'd been waiting years for this one, glad everything came together.

   Ben emerges from a big hit in ok shape and celebrates with Jesse while exploring the amazing views at the base of the falls. 

Amazingly getting to this point has taken most of our day, and the boys ascend out of the canyon as quickly as possible.

Chris heads back to the jeep and the end of our time in Sikkim.

Although the paddling in Sikkim has a high work to reward ratio, we enjoyed our time in this special place. The rivers tend to be a bit too steep & boulder filled to kayak most of, with the occasional good section. I'd suggest traveling to Sikkim just for the cultural experience, it's a magical place with friendly people and a lot of history.

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