The Beautiful but soon-to-be-gone Achibueno.
The next day, after a hearty breakfast of Granola Berries and hormone laden milk (since fresh milk is not an option when you live in a truck, I had to buy it at the grocery store and Chile does not have regulations on the hormones allowed in livestock--I definitely noticed a change in my body during our travels--hooray for the healthier food choices we have in the US!), we set shuttle and some of the Germans went on a journey up to an eco hotel to see about hiring horses in order to access the river 10k from the end of the drivelable road. Meanwhile I put on my Pyranha pack and got an early start on our hike up run.
As I was hiking up river, I noticed that the river was mellow--it was class II/III, not class IV/V like the guidebook had promised. I could only see class III for miles upstream, and I decided to sit down and wait on the others since I was not going to hike up for more class III. Anna, one of the Germans, showed up in an off-road jeep with the guy from the eco hotel upstream to let us know that we had horses for tomorrow. On my hike up, I had seen lots of signs about saving the Rio Achibueno, so I asked Anna to ask this guy about it. He said that the Rio Achibueno was going to be dammed. I put this together with info that we had gotten from a ranger that lived up the Ancoa a few nights prior: it's actually going to be diverted. We put this together with other signs and the constuction that we saw and realized that the Rio Achibueno will be diverted through that tunnel we saw being built into the giant Ancoa Resevoir next year. This past year was probably the last for the Achibueno.
Jeff (who had also needlessly hiked up with me) and I put on the river and paddled down to meet the rest of the group who were waiting downstream. It was a great run with about 1500 cfs and big granite boulers that provided sweet boofs. It was a nice long run mostly class III with a few class IVs, which was a great run to dust off the whitewater cobwebs that I had developed while working in the office prior to this trip.
We ended the awesome day of paddling with a dinner of pasta, red sauce, and zucchini, which would become our staple, during a sweet sunset and then a night filled with stars as we said good-bye to the Rio Achibueno for a long time...
Oh, and the Germans did get up super early the next morning and go another 10k up with horses and they never did find the fabled class IV/V...We opted to sleep in and venture out on our next journey--the Rio Laja!
COMING SOON - Misadventures in the beautiful Laja Valley!