layover day to recover from the portage would have been ideal, but by
our estimation we were less than halfway through the river and five
Last nights mishap with my camera took
a toll: a cracked command dial,
no light meter or sequencing.
Good thing I've been shooting all manual using the
histogram as my
light meter, it wasn't much of a transition to continue shooting.
body shows the toll of the rash and portage.
Paddling out of camp it was game on at
400fpm. Jesse Coombs leaving
Thankfully the river was pool drop, filled with big boulders. Ben
Large boulders often create interesting rapids, or just
full on sieves.
Sometimes a strange mixture of both. This monolith was carved out in
the middle, and Ben and I decided to give the crack drop a go.
Ben Stookesberry deep in the crack
Gradient quickly leveled out to a more manageable level
and allowed us
to enjoy the scenery. This lower canyon made the upper look relatively
Locked in once again, Jesse
Making downstream progress as the
river bed widens out.
Gradient may have tapered off, but the scenery was still majestic at
Before ever putting on the Piaxtla we had discussed the
option of a
lower put-in at a major confluence. This would have let us enter the
river below the vast majority of the gradient, and was highly
anticipated as we struggled through the slow, steep miles up top.
The confluence, unique in geology from
what we'd seen so far in the
Cheered by the confluence we took a nice long break in the
already reminiscing about the adventure of the last few days. Despite
one significant mile of gradient below, we were confident that we were
home free and would make it out with sufficient food.
Curiously the Piaxtla didn't want to let us escape so
easily. We were
forced to portage at the confluence, and complete it with a dubious
seal launch into fairly shallow green water.
Immediately following the seal launch the now voluminous
through a rather nasty two tiered bedrock drop. After much scouting we
decided it didn't look great, but if you stayed in your boat you would
flush out the bottom.
James Dusenberry testing out our
Ben Stookesberry, confluence crack
Laughing about lines in the ugly
looking but congenial rapid.
To our immense dismay the river did not maintain a bedrock
We were still exhausted from the massive portage on the previous day.
Not only did the river turn back to boulder gardens, but more sieves
appeared as the river was now double in volume.
A late in the day portage is kept
entertaining by a unique tree that
seems to grow right on the rock.
We pushed hard into the afternoon, hoping to escape the gorges
relaxed night where we would not have to worry about overnight
rainfall, but hours after the sun had left the canyon we were forced to
biovac in a questionable campsite only inches above the river in a
vertical walled gorge.
Rocky's setup, quite creative.
The threat of rain was undeniable in our conscious as we
attempts to to sleep. If we got lucky and didn't get flooded overnight,
hopefully we could make it our of the canyon in the morning because we
still had nearly thirty kilometers to cover and a minimal amount of
food, having spent five days of effort covering the last ten to fifteen