Monday night and we landed late into Costa Rica, victims as usual, of the hurry-up-and-wait plan. We reached the Sarapiqui by 2:00AM, and were soundly asleep by 3:00. Rain hit the roof all morning, and by the time breakfast rolled around, things were beginning to get juiced. Always striving for efficiency, we made the push to the Balsas, hoping for a complete top-to-bottom run.
The resort at the top once again granted passage to the canyon, and we elected to carry down to the put-in. We found the walk most refreshing after sitting on our asses for two days .
on the river, large pillows surged between the boulders still uncovered. For the most part we stayed in the flow, pounding through holes and breaking diagonals .
Though my memory of the takeout was fuzzy, we opted for the Rio Macho – a run we had explored back in ’05. Luckily, the logistics worked out and we were rewarded with 5 miles of Reventazon-style whitewater in a beautiful mountain valley .
Friday, Final Day
A low pressure off the east cost of CR is pulling moisture out of the Carribean and driving it west into the mountains of Central America. After fleeing the North two days ago, we returned for one last shot at the Toro and the Sarapiqui. We bunked in a modest little place in La Virgen – your standard low budget cabina replete with (faulty) electric showerheads, (slightly) fenced in parking, and firm (plywood) mattresses. Even with the higher dosage of sleep aid (rum), we saved a bundle, and set ourselves up for a big last day.
We struck out early for breakfast at Miguel`s favorite roadside dig where the food was fantastic as usual, and they had the videotaped version of ´Home Alone` that we were watching. If not that they cut to commercial we might have never left. You forget how great that movie is, you know?
We arrived at the Upper Sarapiqui a half hour later, and contemplated the chances of survival. Miguel remarked that Ken would be pretty pissed off if he had to find two new guides this late in the game. Okay, we´ll stick to the Lower, we said.
Water ran up into the trees on either side of the Lower Sarapiqui put-in, but the rapids were beginning to show definition. For the most part only big waves and exploding holes dotted the many horizons that normally signal rapids. Some of the wall shots turned vicious with massive conversion zones and sucking boils. Confusion was especially gnarly, and I remember thinking that this is probably the coolest mystery move I´ll ever do in a Diesel.
And a great way to end an unusual scouting week!
p.s. we miss you Steve