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Hello Everyone,

Team Jackson Kayak is working hard here in Mexico, trying to access some of the hardest whitewater with the hardest access, considering its proximity to people. Ben Stookesberry is our fearless trip leader and is constantly going full on in every way to make these first descents happen. We got still decided not to enter the canyon that lead to the 100 foot waterfall with the only way out by ascenders and 80 feet of free climb, with the rope already set and the actually making past rapid 1 and 2. Instead we decided to enter the next section from land, 200 feet over the water…

The past two days have been big days. Yesterday we arrived at the top of a 100 foot waterfall and spent 5 hours setting up a rapel down a cliff just downstream of it that was 210 feet high. My first rapel was quite a doozie. We rapeled into the water, unclipped, and had to swim to the other side of the river, and then take off the "harness" which was webbing, and send it back up the on the rope for the next person, and also lower the boats down. Wait until you see the photos, the sense of BIG is oozing out of them. The waterfall was huge and our rapel was twice as big. We tried to run a first descent after that but hit a canyon that had overhanging and vertical walls, and no way out once we entered. I tried to cut a path to find a way from where we were to the top and we were already walled in. Nick fell from 10 feet up trying to scramble up a creekbed. We decided that we would have to head back upstream, and luckily were were less than a mile from the big falls. We made it back up but it was getting dark soon, so we left our boats there, and booked out of the jungle and to a villiage where we asked locals for a ride to the take out, but ended up meeting our shuttle part way. I was tired and went to bed when we got home, skipping dinner.

This morning we got an early start, with the goal of starting at the take out, which was a bridge, 80 feet over the water, where the canyon was 20 feet wide and totally overgrown. We made good time scouting today, just heading down to the canyon lip when we heard rapids. We found a waterfall, a slide, and two rapids, that should have accounted for 60 of the 80 feet of vertical drop we estimated that was in the .5 mile canyon. The next rapid was far upstream and it would have taken more than an hour to get to it, so we made the call that we would take the risk of the 20 feet of vertical not being a show stopper (can´t scout, can´t walk, can´t extract, can´t run). We hiked to our boats from another villiage, which was only about a 20 minute hike, following a local who could get us to the base of the falls directly. We suited up and headed downstream, running lots of sweet bouldery, steep rapids, with moss covered rocks, and near vertical cliffs. One drop, however, had a nasty pin rock in a slot and it got the best of Rafa, who had to bail. Shortly after we hit the canyon, where we turned back yesterday. We entered the canyon knowing that the first rapids would account for 20 or so feet of vertical and may pose a problem. The first one was a slide that had a slightly ugly right side and a decent left side, but it fell right. We all did it successfully, and I got to go first on that one. The next drop was a boulder garden in a steep three tiered rapid that was juicy and fun, accounting for about 20 feet of drop so we were comfortable that we were out of real danger of a major suprise.

We ran a couple of cool slalom course type rapids that were just fun and relaxing in about as beautiful of a place as I can imagine and the run out went straight into our first big drop that we scouted from above but couldn´t scout now that we were in our boats. I saw it from 100 feet above and figured it was a 15 foot waterfall with a big hole. Ben got out to film from 15 feet behind the lip and I decided that I would probe it. the lead in was an S turn with boils coming off the the right and left wall that you could see before you entered it. I went down the middle and saved the boof or tuck decsion for the lip and when I got there it was bigger than I thought so I tucked and plugged it. I went deep and came up near the left wall but rolled quickly and paddled away. AWESOME! It was cool getting a first descent on this trip of a new falls. The falls were about 25 feet high with a big hole and the water going into past vertical walls on both sides. Darren went and his skirt blew and he swam but luckily there was a place in the pool to get out of the water. Ben came down to video from below and boofed it but the hole backendered him and got the beatdown in the hole followed by a beatdown against the wall bloodying his knuckles. In good Ben form, he got out and videoed the rest of the crew, who all were suprised by the size of the drop and the hole at the bottom.

The next rapid was the slide I saw and Ben managed to find a very small eddy at the lip and was able to scramble out of his boat and scout and film. There was not room for another boat so we got his hand signals from 50 yards away. Start river left, then drive right, it pinches down at the bottom. The tell tale sign was how long it took Ben to scout and give us direction, meaning it wasn´t to be trifled with. Darren got the signal and busted a move down it before Ben was ready and Ben couldn´t tell if he made it alright or not. I went next and when I got to the spot Ben pointed at and got the visual, it was a nearly vertical drop that had a rock jutting out on the left and otherones making curlers on the right and a big meltdown about to happen at the pinch point. I took two strokes to drive right and ruddered the drop on my right to keep my paddle out of the way of the rocks and went deep, getting the full force of the water on my right side underwater and flipping right on the resurface and did the quick roll, clear of the walls. Awesome! Rafa came down and got out to video, and Darren took photos of the rest. Eric hit the left nub of a rock at the top flipping him and dragging his knuckles on the right wall, but he didn´t lose too much skin. The last of the hard drops were over. We hit the bridge and it was over the craziest canyon with contours, caves, and vines hanging everywhere and you could barely see the bridge 80 feet up. We went downstream another .25 miles to a place we could get out of there. We left our boats for another first descent, starting tomorrow, the next section down!