Scouting Week: Report #1, Upper and Middle Pacuare.
Thanks guys, but we’re on the wagon for good this year. Matt has enlightened us on the benefits of a healthy human body and wow, between the calestenics and long, erotic stretching, there really hasn’t been much time for Cuba Libres. All bullshit aside...What can I say about today? ¡Que chevre dia! We awoke for the third time (thanks to Miguel’s new car alarm) to a magnificent view of Vulcan Turrialba looming over the city. After shopping for pastries and machetes in town, we embarked for the Upper Pacuare. The access road appeared much the same as last year. With sunny skies and no prior rainfall, the passage through the landslides was only slightly unnerving. A few days of thundershowers could change that significantly, but...for the moment it’s fine. Arriving at the river, I was convinced we had made a wrong turn, until Steve reminded me that the strange green tint was actually the river’s normal color. Amazing! So, is this low? I wondered. No, he assured me, it’s well, pretty average. Does that mean then that we can do the...Middle Pacuare...too? Well...do you want to? Matt? What? I’m in. Yeah, me too. Sure, what are we doing? And with that we shoved off. The Upper passed with little drama. Under bluebird skies we descended the familiar rapids, made notes on the changes and found a significantly easier set of drops in the final gorge. The floods this year have rearranged the boulders in fantastic fashion. All the lines are clean and even the sneak is without impact. I think Class III-IV, and even strong Class III groups will love this section. Oh yeah Ken, you’re hole is gone. You can sleep now. Although it would’ve have been easy to quit at the bridge, we pushed on into the Middle. For years Matt and I had heard stories about this shadowy upper gorge. Steve had called it the ´The Green on Steroids´. Ryan and Craig never failed to smile at its mention. And Doug, well he just said it was ´really f$%&/ing hard´. What we found was full-on fun in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Leaving lunch below the bridge, we paddled through several kilometers of increasingly taller drops before rounding an inconspicuous right bend. And then, you guessed it, the shit hit the fan. For the next two or three kilometers dropped through the heart-pounding inner gorge, stopping twice to scout and once to portage what remains of Bobo Falls. Following the arduous carry, our journey appeared complete, after some much needed redemption (for some) at Steve’s Ledge. The canyon opened, the whitewater relaxed, and we were cruising on easy street...until I rolled blind into the last chance eddy above one of the biggest drops of the day. Matt, just a few meters behind, described our mutual feeling upon meeting in the slack water. Where the hell did this come from? I don’t know! I can’t see shit! Me neither! Steve, always the sharp one arrived shortly in view on the left bank. Through a series of hand signals from him and just plain impatience on our part, Matt and I managed to survive with shameless grace. Steve followed soon after, and we continued through 7 more kilometers of classic big-water action culminating in our chosen favorite - the Magic Tongue. Arriving at Tres Equis, the sun still shone through bluebird skies. We drug our weary bodies out of the water, loaded up the van, and cruised uneventfully back to town. The gatekeeper at the farm said we were the only people he had seen all day.
Can’t wait till tomorrow. The Rio Reventazon.