Mike approaches the end of drop 1
The upper section of the Palguin River near Pucon is one of the best backyard runs imaginable. And it truly is in the backyard of Ben May, owner of Kayak Chile on the main drag in Pucon. We spent a couple days camping out at his place, working on the trail, and running laps on this waterfall playground.
I only ever ran the first half of the run, which is reported to be the best part. It can be easily run in 15 minutes and includes three great drops that are clean and fairly easy.
Putting in below the natural bridge
The run starts with a 12-foot seal launch into a pool, which flushes immediately into the first rapid, a confused double-drop. After a short lead-in, the river drops four feet through a slot into a boily little room. Then the rapid ends with an 8-foot drop into a clean, calm pool below.
And stomping his way into the pool below;
My first time down I backendered in the slot, rolled up in the room, and had just enough time to catch a breath before flipping again off the wall as I drifted backwards over the lip of the 8-footer. Not a stylish line at all. Luckily, the channel is deep, the drop forgiving. Plenty of people have run this one upside-down with very little consequence.
As you continue downstream, the drops get taller and easier. The pool below the first drop drains into a short rapid leading to the lip of the second drop, a 15-footer. This one isn´t really scoutable, but you can eddy out within view of the horizon line to plan your approach. Go right boofing right. The left side has a retentive pocket that swims many people, but the right side has a boof flake that gives some great air-time.
After another 50 yards of calm water comes the third drop, a 20-footer with two options. The right channel is easier to boof, but has a slightly off-angle approach. The left channel has a rolling lip and can easily be plugged, but also gives great practice for late boofs. Both are very non-consequential, class III drops.
The next horizon line is the crack drop, with a very narrow slide that people run, trying not to catch paddles on rocks. We always took out on the right at the lip of this one, and hiked back up along the good trail for another lap.