Putting in on below Big Banana Falls Photo- Dylan McKinney
Between my first two semesters as a Civil and Infrastructure Engineering student in Fairfax, VA I decided to meet up with Dylan McKinney and Ryan McAvoy in Mexico city and hop on a bus to Tlapacoyan in hopes of falling off some waterfalls. We were very lucky to arrive with near perfect water levels. There I would paddle 12 out of my 14 days in the muddy Mexican jungle. I was very excited being able to get 4 runs on Truchas, a 80 foot repel into a spectacular gorge where the only exit was running a 20 ft ski jump into a perfect 50 footer. I managed a couple runs on the Big Banana section and the Roadside sections of the Alsesecca as well as a run down the Upper Jalacingo. I was also incredibly stoked to accompany Dane Jackson in successfully falling off 60 ft Tomata One 7 times in one day, bringing my total tally up to 9 laps on Tomata during my 14 day stay in Mexico.
Styling Triple Drop Photo- Seth Ashworth
Though it was a relatively cold and rainy 2 weeks in Mexico, the East Coast crew definitely brought the heat. It was really exciting to be down there and paddle with the likes of Team Thunderdome and the DC crew as well as the Jackson Clan, a couple of Mexicans and a handful of random west coasters. It’s amazing to be supported in stepping up my C-1 waterfall running and creeking skills by all my friends, parents and sponsors. Each paddling trip gets me even more excited for the next one! But for now Enjoy this short edit I made of my trip to the not-so-steamy-but-very-moist rivers of Mexico!
Day 4: Lava Chuar to Rattlesnake Camp is only 9 or 10 miles on the river so it wasn’t the paddling that was daunting. We got to camp early so we could take part in the yearly tradition of “Mike Hikes”. He pointed up to a peak that looked to be beyond not just the first wall behind camp but over another and then one more. That was a daunting visual. I was thinking to myself, really?
Day 3: We started to gel as a group. I have a feeling our late night party in Yonton’s hotel room the night before putting on the river may have set the tone. The Truth serum brought out the camaraderie in all of us. It takes a little luck, social flexibility, and empathy for those in your group to come together as easily as ours did. It seemed the 3rd day was when everyone felt as though they could deal. Packing the boats was coming a little more easily. The cold was cold, for lack of a better word, but manageable. There were still nerves in some of the group about the whitewater but those were more known fears than the big questions that people had before the beginning of the trip. By day 3 most of us had used the groover so that was behind us.
The first day of the trip i was mostly just overwhelmed with getting all my crap together, getting to know the group a little bit, feeling the boat out with all the weight, and just settling into the idea that I was going to be out there for a while.