It would go down as an epic trip in Valles.
How can one begin the day by disappearing behind an 80 ft. high curtain of falling water, and then a little later drop over an unsee-able ledge, hoping only that you choose the right spot to land on the water disappearing below?
The next day you get to scout a rapid with a hole called NEMO, and if you miss boofing off the edge of that hole you get forcibly back-endered and shoved momentarily underwater. And then you get to fly high off ILLUMINOSO, a 24 ft. falls, landing into the boiling, churning chaos of water if you miss your aim even by just a little bit.
Another day, you spend your entire time on the totally untrammelled GALLINAS river, with nothing around but mountains and no end to curves and drops until a misty cloud warns you to take out before the 300 ft. TAMUL Falls, where the river dumps into the difficult and committing SANTA MARIA.
Combine the MICOS, EL SALTO and GALLINAS rivers with the OJO FRIO, a technical, low volume run located in a ravine, deep between sweet smelling sugar cane fields, and you will be hooked with the beauty and style of the rivers of Ciudad Valles in northern Mexico.
For some, rivers full with ledge boofs and waterfalls are all they could want in a paddling trip. For others, the idea of a trip down the infamous SANTA MARIA, a river that almost ended Steveo’s kayaking career before it started, was too good to pass up. Tom took a select crew through the canyon of the SANTA MARIA, stopping often to scout and portage during the 15 mile run. Those who paddled the SANTA MARIA arrived to Tamul falls just before dark, and were happy to have their boats carried up 300 feet of stairs by the more rested faction of the group, who had been on the GALLINAS again.
Our group was all well experienced and self-sufficient. We the leaders had only to point out the best lines, and show the best way to get air-born when it was needed. Every evening we stayed at Aldea Huasteca, an eco-hostel located at the takeout of the Micos, with as much delicious Mexican food to eat as you could consume. Most of us slept in a single big cabin, except for a few who braved local stories of seeing Jaguars drink from the river to hang a hammock outside.
It was not easy seeing the week come to an end. Our group was a collection of friends and outdoor enthusiasts from the western United States and Canada, and it was a blast getting to know them all.
For now all there is to do is wait for the next trip to Valles….
~ Tom McEwan – Calleva’s Liquid Adventures