Work, Scout, Palguin

Okay, calling it ¨work¨ might be a stretch, but I do occasionally give Rodrigo a hand with his ¨ducky¨ trips. Chillin at the home base, Kayak Pucon. Argh!

The work vehicle, a van I would not mind living in.
On the days we work we just load all the unsuspecting thrill seekers into the vacuous seating area and whisk them away to the Rio Liucura to run the $%&!. Actually, it is just big water class three, yet we still see enough carnage to make us weary at the end of the day.
Mmmm, barbecue.

Rodrigo and I have been salivating over what the Rio Lahuenco might hold, and have been trying to organize a scouting mission in hopes of finding good whitewater. Much to our liking, one of Rodrigo´s friends has lived near the Lahuenco his whole life and was willing to lead us straight to the heart of the gorge, where he said we would find some big waterfalls. Well, turns out the river he brought us to was not the Lahuenco, but a creek just a little north. This did not slow us down though, so we began to hike and eventually came to a tight gorge with a sketchy lead in to a 5 or 6 meter falls dropping into a mean hole with a cave on the left and an undercut on the right. This also was situated right on top of what we assumed to be a clean 10 meter falls, though we did see some spray coming up from the lip. We decided not to run it this day, but hope to return higher in the river to find more upstream and run that gorge with a little less water.

View down into the claustrophobic gorge.

I think it is important to note that we did not really go into this prepared to get wet. Not a good move on our parts, so we had to strip down a little to get to a place where we could see the gorge. I´ll spare you the photos of Rodrigo and I in our intimates, but send $5 with your request and I´ll send you the photos.

The Rio Lahuenco flows into the Rio Maichin a little less than half-way down the run. We still plan on exploring this creek and running it all the way to the Maichin. We just need to work out the logistics.


Huge, clean falls above the upper put in. I am no master at estimating height, especially from 400 meters, but I would be willing to guess that this falls is about 27 meters. Yeah, tall. Save this one for another day.
Two boofs in the first rapid.
One in the third.
We came back the next day to run the lower, but without a guide or any sense of direction we ended up on the middle section of the Palguin. Not so bad, right? Except that what used to be known as a top-notch waterfall run has turned into a big portage. The first falls is still sketchy and runnable, but the second has greatly increased in size as the third falls is totally gone.

Boofing the munchy and shallow hole of the first drop on the middle Palguin.

Here is what remains of the middle Palguin. This is the second part of the double drop. Formerly about 35 or 40 feet, now probably 80+ feet. The lead-in to this is a tricky 15 footer and boiling pool leading to the lip.
Zoomed out shot of the second falls. You can see on the left of the photo the ledge that formed the third falls. The geology here is very unstable. If you check here -http://kayakpucon.blogspot.com/2006/04/medium-palguin-is-gone.html
you can see that a 20 foot falls used to be here, but the area is deteriorating so quickly that it has turned into a small boulder garden in just a few months. This whole area has changed drastically, clearly displayed by these photos.

Sad news indeed, and a very scary place to be with all the recent movement of huge rocks from the canyon walls into the river. We got out of there pretty quickly then I met up with Rodrigo in the afternoon for a high-water trip to the Rio Nevados. Unfortunately no photos of the run, as our attention was fully on the river. We will return soon though, with lower water and camera in hand.

Also, at some point in the last week we returned to the Carhuello with Jared, but found an extremely low flow.

Jared with a big boof on the second drop.

Me, same drop from below.