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Teesta: Five

Time to move down river a bit. Below our current town was construction on a dam. Access to the river was not a possibility. So we drive down to the next access to see what we can get into.

 We are not alone at the put-in for too long.
Right out the door it was rapidly apparent that we'd gained volume in here somewhere. It was a real river now. One rapid below put-in and we scout.

Instead of capturing the "optimal data" I try for something new with this shot, a longer exposure and intentional blown out highlights. Jesse Coombs.

 The river continued with large rapids requiring a scout of each one as they grew more complex. Jesse Coombs in the mix.

A tight spot just downstream. Water levels feel high.

Oh yeah she is a river now, no doubt about it. No change in weather but it's on the high end.

One more quick scout and then the road drops into view on the left. Jesse gives the last rapid a go.

The road drops near river level on the left, but the river naturally funnels us right. It's only just after lunch time. The gradient gets steep downstream. Really steep. Deliberation station. We all have overnight gear. Getting to river right requires either a highly dubious ferry above what looks terrible, or a hike back upstream. Jesse doesn't like the look of the gradient and canyon and wisely heads upstream to ferry across to the road. Ever the optimist I ferry across to be followed by Ben and Chris. It's as dubious as it looked but we all make the crux move. We park our boats on shore and scout downstream.

 Things don't look good. Not good at all.

As seen above the river drops through a sieve. Not just one, but half a mile of sieves.  Like like ants in a gravel driveway we crawl over rocks. Getting to the bottom of the sieve takes over an hour without boats. There the gradient is not as steep, but still too steep to kayak with the current water level. I don't think this section is going to go, and head back to my boat, where I meet Jesse. Chris is shortly behind me and we talk about how the road is close. As full darkness approaches Ben returns from the long scout reporting that two corners down we'd be able to put back in again, just below a footbridge. Camping out seems the best option, since we hadn't done any so far and love being out in the wild. We'll make up our minds in the morning. For now it's time to enjoy a special Thanksgiving meal sent with us by my better half.

We rise, and decide to continue on with the canyon, knowing the portage will be long but we are here to run the river. The portage is heinous. Hours tick by as we pass boats over slick, towering boulders. They are larger than anything on the San Joaquin and slippery to boot. Eight hours later we finally reach the footbridge. It's abandoned. Years ago. There is no sign of a trail or civilization outside the bridge. The river is still too steep. We could make a V+ ferry to the right, but then a canyon wall rises up. It's apparent the only prudent thing to do is egress.

Overgrown and rotted out, this doesn't look good. Fog on the lens.

Another view of the same.

Yes this is the "good part" of the trail.

So we hike up steep jungle. There is no trail. Imagine the South Branch hike out, in a jungle with slick mud. Exhausting. Darkness begins to set in. Not too soon we make verbal contact with someone that hears us as we approach the edge of a village. Not a moment too soon, we are in the village and met by our trusty guide, Targain.

Too exhausted from the eight hour portage and two hour hike-out we don't worry about tomorrow, wolfing down dinner and heading to bed.

To be continued in Talung One.

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