We put in on a tributary of the legendary Gol Gol, parking at the border check on the Chilean side (although the actual border is way up the road). The scrapy float into the main river was oddly reminiscent of running Nordheimer Creek into the Cal-Salmon. After 20 minutes of flatwater and some class III rapids, we eddied out to scout the first drop.
Salto de los Novios (Boyfriend Falls?) was visible from the road on the way up and drops about 20 feet with the lead-in. The right channel had a really fun-looking line with a unique move, but it was out of the question due to a rock in the landing zone. We all chose the shallower left channel with mixed results. Both days that we ran it, Zak launched incredible super-boofs, landing stern first and keeping his head dry.
Mike running the far left line
There is plenty of recovery time to roll up after the falls, but a swim here would be painful due to the chunky rapid just downstream. From here, we paddled about a mile of class III/IV pool-drop rapids where nothing really stood out. That is, until we came to the second drop.
Brian on the entrance ledge
The second big one on the Gol Gol is probably my favorite rapid anywhere. The river spreads out over an 8-foot ledge with a variety of lines to choose from. The river feeds into 50-yards of class III boulder garden, then accelerates over a fast, clean 20-footer.
Zak finishing off the second drop
Both times I ran this one I flipped upon landing the bottom drop, but still came away intact and elated from a blissful rapid. Mike seemed to have the best line the first day, with a perfect entry angle to shoot away from the falls.
Immediately below the second drop is a class III rapid with a couple of fun boof moves. The next drop is a chunky 25-foot double drop we all portaged right away via a good trail on the right. From there it was easy boogey water to the fourth drop.
The fourth drop had me a bit nervous, as it had a retentive hole that swam two people last time Mike and Zak had been down here. We caught small eddies half-way through the lead-in and hopped out to scout on the left. Zak then led the way with a big, loud boof giving Mike and me confidence to follow with the same. It turned out to be a fairly easy drop so long as we were in the right spot, and the landing was a bit hard.
Zak cleans the fourth drop with a strong boof
In the pool below drop 4, we saw the Rio Colorado flow in from river left. Passing it, I couldn´t help but wonder how much time I could have saved the day before by following that river downstream. We soon were at the lip of another horizon line and were out of our boats again to scout 30-foot Salto Repercura on the right.
Scouting Repercura from the viewing platform
The morning before, we had hiked from camp to the viewing platform across from Repercura on river left. From there we could clearly see the line, but could also clearly see the nasty undercut/cave wall on river right. This hazard is invisible from the scout on river right, and I would highly recommend scouting from both sides before running the drop. We all ended up portaging that day on the left, where there is a marginal trail at the base of a cliff face.
The left channel of Repercura
After a 20-minute portage around the waterfall, the river offers nothing more than class II and flatwater. Oh, and a 50-foot waterfall: Del Indio. As big drops go, this one looks reasonably doable with a huge cushion, deep pool, and plenty of room to roll up below or swim your boat to shore if you blow a skirt or break a paddle.
On my third trip down the Gol-Gol, Allen got pumped up and fired up his biggest drop ever!
Halfway down, he disappeared behind the folding curtains and went super deep. The impact blew out an earplug, both elbow pads, and the corner of his skirt. But he resurfaced after several seconds and rolled up strong. Then came Brian....
The two boys had pretty much the same line, but Brian was only down for a couple seconds before resurfacing upright and paddling away with a big smile. I was just happy to sit in the pool below with a great angle to watch my buddies stick their lines!
Note: Many people refer to the waterfall I´ve called Repercura as Salto La Princessa. Just below this drop, the river corridor splits into two channels, rejoining in the pool below Del Indio, which is in the right channel. The left channel is now dry (at least at low water), but looking at the riverbed, it´s obvious there was historically a 25-footer followed by some rapids. According to local information, this dry waterfall is Princessa. The point is, if you think my pictures look just like those others took of a drop called Princessa, that´s because they are. Get over it.