Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chasing Waterfalls

Hi all, I'm checking in from a pizza place in Pucon, Chile after a day of chasing waterfalls. Or, more accurately, chasing one waterfall: Salto Coilaco. It's only a 9 minute drive away from our home in Pucon, but today it took us hours of exploring and a few painful hikes through brambled fields. When David last ran the photogenic 30 footer, you could drive right up to it. It was the classic park and huck. Since then, the upscale area surrounding the river had become a gated community, closed off to all kayakers. Less park and huck, more park and try your luck, or park and tuck (under many barbed wire fences) or park and- fuck! no waterfall access!

David even got chewed out by a Chilean troll, whose job was to literally sit next to the gate and deny access to hopeful, doe-eyed American paddlers. We all assumed the gate was locked, but David hopped just to check and, finding it unlocked, made an elaborate show of pushing it open prove he was right. That moment commenced the biggest Spanish cuss out we'd ever heard: ¡Yo le vi toca la puerta! se va! se va ahora! usted va, ahora! usted tocaba la puerta! hoja, ahora! You touched the gate! I saw you! get out of here! go go go go go! leave now! Dave did his thing to try and make friends with the guy to get some beta, but he didn't get far. As we drove away, we could still here him shouting. "Well, what were we supposed to do?" Piped up Stephen from the back. "We had nothing to pay the troll toll."

To make a bad story shorter, we eventually found a sneak by pure luck and lots of directions from fishermen. We passed through a sunny field, climbed a few barbed wire fences, and found ourselves in front of the ice cold cascade, illuminated by a bar of brilliant sunlight.

Here are my photos:
David Hughes the first to drop in
Send it!
The incredible Matti Hill
Alex Anderson with a near melt down
Wavesport's own Taylor Cote

They're crazy, and they keep getting crazier.... my blurry, close-up-cropped series of Stephen Forster making life interesting: