|The Cochamo valley at it's finnest.|
|Our alarm clock.|
The beta we were collecting on the Rio Cochamo was spot on Chilean. Loose. None of the stories add up, and there was a constant downplay on the size of drops, not to mention the lack of directions to and from the river. The stories of paddling the river over the past 15 years were as varied as they come. "Sieves on top of sieves with logs, super clean, it's the Chilean Yosemite, big rapids, smooth granite, slides, hike in, use horses, complicated, don't use horses, multi-day, one day." The beta on this run was almost comically bad. The only consistent beta was that in a very remote part of southern Chile there was a river and it was worth paddling.
|Boats precariously balanced in one of the beautiful inlets of the Pacific Ocean.|
|Our poor rental truck, slightly overloaded.|
|Lago Llanquihue and one of the countless volcanos.|
|Our cowboy for the trip.|
That evening I was on the fence about whether I was physically able to paddle or not. After another spike of pain my mind was set. It was not worth risking the team's safety for my desire to paddle. This was an exceedingly hard decision to make. I have suffered plenty of injuries over the years, but this one was really hurting me mentally. I was going through my nightmare scenario, flying back to the states, having surgery, getting a "real job," and not being able to kayak.
The next morning we drove the vehicles along the river to the end of the road. Some place along the drive the rental car received it's first flat tire. Get the wrench, loosen lug nuts, raise car, take tire off, spare on, lower car, and tighten nuts. At this point in the trip I was feeling like a NASCAR mechanic. Next we talked to the cowboy that was going to wrangle the two rented horses to the top of the river. Casey, Gordon, and Seth shouldered their kayaks and started up the 10 kilometer hike. Anna, Matt and I followed behind carrying cameras and water. The aging access trail consists of braided trenches stamped into the earth by millions of hooves.
|Gordon Klco hiking through the trenches.|
|The view looking up from the bridge in Cochamo.|
New Year's Eve
|Star trails for New Years.|
|Celebrating New Years with some wine and a beautiful view.|
|Write up and photos by Chris Baer|