Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lower Santa Teresa (III)

After a disappointing morning on the Sacsara, we decided to take a look at the more voluminous Santa Teresa. We all decided against our initial aspirations of checking out the upper run, which is reputed to be a steep, multi-day classic. Instead we agreed on running the lower roadside section. Initially, our hired shuttle rig took us to the upper bridge at the end of the road in a town called Playa. Sadly, some recent road construction has dumped plenty of sharp rocks into the river creating steep rapids that needed much more water to be clean. So we opted to put in at the middle bridge about six kilometers upstream of town.

To say the least, the Lower Santa Teresa is fun! The water was the clearest we´d seen yet in Peru and the flow was enough to avoid destroying our boats. Much like the Sacsara, the Santa Teresa was very continuous and shallow, but unlike the Sacsara it was more channelized and every section had a clean line and plenty of boof practice.

The run down to the lower bridge was a fast 5 km that took us just over a half-hour to cruise down. Everything was easy read-and-run where we only eddied out to catch our breath. Zak and Kase got in the first lap on this run and when we all went back as a group, we decided to continue down to the confluence with the Urubamba. Below the last bridge, the Santa Teresa got a little more powerful and near the confluence the river is loaded with wrecked train cars and railroad tracks leftover from a flood that ripped through here in 1998. Moving carefully, we were able to safely avoid all the scrap metal and finish off the fun last rapid on the Santa Teresa.

The Santa Teresa enters the Urubamba in the run-out of a class V rapid. Below the confluence, however, the river slows to class IV+ and then to class IV. We chose to take out at the bridge a few hundred yards below the confluence, although if you´re up for the tougher rapids, it´s worthwhile to continue another mile and take out at the next bridge next to the hot springs. The hike to the road is much easier down there. Sorry folks, no pictures....

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