TR: Rio Gol Gol

First, a little info about the last post: the whole thing with the Futaluefu did not work out. Ferries and passports and cars and whatnot did not add up to making it to the river. We spent a couple fun nights in random port towns then made our way back to the Gol Gol for another day of great paddling.

The scene in Puerto Varas.

Here is a little story to go along with the photos. 'Little story' mostly means the same as any other post, so here are some photos of the Gol Gol.
After being rejected on our final attempts to get farther south to the Futa, we decided to head back north for another day or two on the Gol Gol.

Rack problems added to the excitement of the drive, as with every large bump, of which there were many, the racks would shift and sometimes fall off.

We eventually got to the river with all the boats and a few more scratches on the roof. Everyone was pretty excited to get on the water, so we headed straight to the put-in, ate a quick lunch and had a little talk with the border folks, then got in the water. There is a flat stretch for about a kilometer, then the first horizon line.
Here is South African Scheepers Schoeman running the left line.

Next comes some fun boogy water with some surprisingly powerful holes, as I found out in an extended surf at a small drop with a big hole. We all made it through this section quickly then got out to check the next drop. It is a small ledge leading into about 75 meters of fast water class 3 with a ledge with a munchy hole at the bottom.

Scheepers again about to get eaten.

Phillip same.
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This rapid always promises to offer up some excitement, and this day was no exception. With one near cave and undercut exploration under its belt, and a hole beating this falls was still not content with the state of things. Adrian was last to go and spent quite a bit of time in the eddy above the drop. Any boater who has sat at the bottom of a drop and waited to see first the paddle blades then the face and boat come flying over the lip knows the feeling of anticipation and anxiety about your buddy having a good line. I think we all had quite a bit of anxiety built up by the time Adrian came over the lip on the very wrong side of the falls. He plugged in deep and came up in the hole, rolled quickly and pulled himself out with a fit of powerful strokes. We were excited to see this, but not excited when he stopped paddling and drifted directly into the undercut left wall. A roll attempt and some concerned yelling on our parts couldn't stop the inevitable though. He pulled his skirt and quickly came out of the undercut and into the hectic pool below the falls. We gathered up his gear and continued downstream with some encouragement and respect for the dangers of this river.

Next up was the double drop. This was an interesting rapid with two avaliable channels. The right side was a pretty straight forward double drop and a big soft hole at the bottom. The left side looked a little more exciting, as it was a single slide with spray from rocks on both sides coving the middle with a thick blanket of water.
Scheepers about to meet the huge hole at the bottom. Everybody went very deep through this then rocketed to the surface to some impressive heights.

I liked the looks of the left line. This wasn't a very big drop, but was definitely one of the funnest things I have run. Coming over the lip to see the water spraying up on both sides and covering the whole slide to make a tunnel of water was amazing. It was a total white-out with pressure from both sides and a huge hole at the bottomg. I went really, really deep in the bottom hole with some underwater cartwheels, then rolled up at the bottom laughing. No photos though, sorry.

Phillip in the lead-in to a mean ledge. There were big boils pushing off the left wall and into the very nasty right side so some strong strokes were necesarry to stay left.

Scheepers making it left.

Next was one of the more exciting drops on the run. Again, the river split around an island with a nasty rocky rapid on the left, and a clean falls on the right. Okay, clean is a little misleading, but it looked pretty good until you started noticing how big the hole at the bottom was and all the undercuts next to it. The lead-in was no walk in the park either. To run it safely you had to charge left through some surprisingly big, powerful waves then straighten out and fly off the lip. To my surprise, everybody liked it and decided to give 'er.

Phillip making it left for a perfect line.

Scheepers going for the boof and another great line.

After this was a little slow water leading to the grand finale of the run. Making our way down to Salto del Indio.

Salto del Indio was an amazing waterfall with a pretty high intimidation factor. It has a fast, boiling lead-in and about half of the river goes up on the right wall then drops back into the left side. The left side is a smooth ramp into a complete white-out from the curtains of water coming off both the left and right walls. Needless to say, you go very, very deep at the bottom of this falls.

With some discussion and camera juggling, I headed up to my boat to run first. I was surprisingly relaxed at the top and didn't really concentrate on the lead-in, which is probably what led to me getting pushed a little too far left. It all worked out though, and I went over the lip, disappeared into the curtains coming off both sides, then went deep with some underwater cartwheels in the violent boils. I rolled up, collected my elbow pads which had been ripped off, but conviniently surfaced next to me, then paddled to the bank satisfied with another day on another amazing river.
Myself about to disappear. You can see the water coming off the left side and the immense amount of water coming off the right wall. You hit that wall of water about halfway down, then go deep with all the water.

This is one of my favorite photos from my trip.
Scheepers about to take the hit and go deep.

On our sunny day, the bottom of this falls had an amazing rainbow over the boil and great light. Phillip enjoying his view of the rainbow.

Starting to fall.

The take-out bridge was just around the corner and ended our wonderful day on the water. The Gol Gol is an absolutely amazing river and I am very glad to have had the opportunity to paddle it. More coming soon.