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Mexico Trip Report '06/'07

Our most recent trip to research for "The River Gypsies' Guide to North America" took us south of the border to Mexico. We decided at the last possible minute that a trip down there was needed, since Mexico is a North American paddling destination with plenty of whitewater. We decided to explore the Eastern Slope - the Sierra Madre Oriental - in the states of San Luis Potosi and Veracruz. Here's the report:


Barranca Grande
The next day, we aroze early to begin our journey on the Barranca Grande section of the Rio Antigua. On the way to the river, we caught this incredible view of the volcano Orizaba.


Orizaba - about 18,500 feet tall.

The Barranca Grande is usually done as an overnighter or multi-day, but Leland and I decided we wanted to do the whole run in a day. To quote Austin Rathman, "this is the best class III run on the planet."(or something close to that) Although it is class III, it is super continuous, and very challenging class III. In fact, it was so continuous that we had a hard time even being able to catch eddies in order to take pictures early in the day. It reminds me of Colorado boating, but warmer water. It was absolutely amazing with high cliffs, ferns, waterfalls, and a surprising absence of farming. It was true wilderness boating.


Andria in an open spot.


Overhanging Ferns.


The heart of the canyon.


Leland on Barranca.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Jalcolmulco and really enjoyed the fact that even in the drier part of the season, the rivers there had plenty of water.

The next day, after a leisurely morning smoothie in Jalcolmulco, we headed for the city of Xalapa. This is a cool European style city complete with a bohemian part of town. I drug Leland around to some hippy clothing shops, we had a fabulous lunch of chicken mole, and then headed back over to Tlapacoyan to run the last river of our trip, the Tatempa section of Rio Filo and Alto Filo (it is actually the upper upper Rio Bobos).

Stay tuned for part 4 of the River Gypsies' Mexico trip report -
Tatempa on the Bobos and the ruins at Tajin.