What makes paddling in a rain forest environment like Costa Rica or Ecuador so interesting is the potential for rivers to change character from one day to the next depending on water levels. Just ask our first group of merry paddling pranksters from Colorado and Pennsylvania: the majority whom have been with us in either Costa Rica and/or Ecuador. They arrived here in Costa Rica on the tail end of some pretty serious flooding in parts of the country.  But these guys are all experienced enough to know that whatever/wherever we paddled would be a great week!

our custom crew of boaters set for a week of paddling

our custom crew of boaters set for a week of paddling

The Orosi River oft times is overlooked as paddlers race to the Pacuare or the Reventazon. partially due to the inconsistency in releases on the Orosi. Fortunately Craig and Joe checked it out last week and found it this year to “have waves like Double Trouble, but not be any harder than Double Suck.” Perfect for a warm up for a Class IV group that needs a day to get used to unfamiliar boats and rolling this close to the equator. We arrived at the Orosi and it seemed a bit “plumper” than last week, probably because of this past weekend’s Hurricane Tomas effects. But it was not until we ferried down to above the first major rapid that we realized it was no longer a Double Trouble/Double Suck level—but with the off set holes and some crashing wave trains it was looking like things had turned a bit “busier” than would be expected by a group for a warm-up run.

Checking out a high water version of the rio Orosi in Costa Rica

Checking out a high water version of the rio Orosi in Costa Rica

After scouting out the first two rapids and feeling everyone out, it was decided that a bit more of an actual “warm-up” was preferred. So we loaded up and headed over for a warm-up run on the Pejibaye.  The Pejibaye was at a perfect level for a stouter group’s warm up. High water, but still clear and blue, there were great places to surf, throw in some rolls, and get boats trained for the more difficult runs we have in store this week.

Including a Plan B in the itinerary is always a good idea—and for first day, it came in handy as we went from a possible white-knuckle scare to a great warm up on a river that allowed everyone to have fun and be fired up for a run down the lower Pacuare–which when we arrived at the put-in we calculated the Pacuare was at about as high of a level as is good for paddling.  But for a group of durable Class IV guys that share many-a-paddling-adventure, they were up for the challenge.

Cimmaron on the Pacuare--nothing sedate on today's run!

Cimmaron on the Pacuare--nothing sedate on today's run!

No lack of big waves to catch on the Pacuare

No lack of big waves to catch on the Pacuare

Well-deserved cervezas at the Pacuare takeout

Well-deserved cervezas at the Pacuare takeout

Since we were in high-water Pacuare mode, we decided to hit the Upper Upper Pacuare the following day to follow-up our action packed day on the Lower.

LisasLounge on the Upper Upper Pacuare

LisasLounge on the Upper Upper Pacuare

The takeouts can be almost as interesting as the river itself.

Joe and his new friend

Joe and his new friend

With the runs available for this group, it was deemed time to leave the Turrialba area and head north for a different watershed that included the Rio Toro and the Sarapiqui.

there are few canyons as breathtaking as the Toro Canyon--for the whitewater and the views.

there are few canyons as breathtaking as the Toro Canyon--for the whitewater and the views.

Hard day of work

Hard day of work

Winding down after some good Rio Toro boating

Winding down after some good Rio Toro boating

Six incredible days of boating here in Costa Rica.  And while the weather (cooler than normal) did not entice this crew to for-go their dry tops every day, the last day’s run down the Class IV Upper Sarapiqui had everyone in short sleeves and in their groove, reluctant to head back to San Jose at the end of the run. But we know that we will share many more great river days with this crew.

Nothing like glancing up to see a toucan hanging out in the tree

Nothing like glancing up to see a toucan hanging out in the tree

Pura Vida from Costa Rica!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp335MXN_cE&fs=1&hl=en_US]