Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Río Mapacho: V - Day 5

by Zak Sears
Back to day 4
Elevation at camp: 1605 meters

Below camp we paddled open class 4 for 45 minutes until we came to a river-wide ledge of 2 meters. None of the lines looked really good, so we walked a short distance on the left, and put in just below. Downstream was more of the same open class 4/4+ for about two hours until we stopped for lunch at a huge drainage on river right carrying little water. Dave explored the bench above the river, and came back with a bag full of oranges and three huge avocados from the orchard of a farmer who was inviting us to stay the night and eat the sheep they were cleaning in the creek. The farmer said there was a road above the river about a 1 hour walk where the local people can meet a truck that comes twice a week with supplies, and carries out the agricultural products of the valley. In this section of the river, there are a lot of people living in small thatch roofed structures and cultivating the land, growing coffee, coca, yucca, bananas, and oranges. We passed under seven rickity foot bridges throughout the day, that linked together the vast networks of trails on either side of the river.

After lunch the whitewater backed of to mostly class 3+ with the occasional class 4 for the rest of the afternoon. We passed a couple tributaries that added a little more water to the river which gave the rapids a more pushy feel than the whitewater upstream.

This was the only afternoon of the whole trip that we struggled a bit to find camp. We finally found a great one on an upper bench on river right, in what we learned the next morning was a communal center that consisted of a soccer field, a tool shed, and a secadero (a patio-like structure with short walls around the perimeter that is used for drying coffee in the sun) on which we camped. The bugs were bad at this camp. On the water for six and a half hours.

On to day 6

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