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jackson, kayak, karma, chile, paddling, review, boof, palguin

Feeling on top of the world, and quite tired from our attainment out of the Rio Claro, we pack up the car and head south. Pucon is well known as the center of kayaking in Chile. It’s been a low snow year and we don’t know exactly what to expect. Personally I don’t know what to expect at all because I did absolutely no research for this trip; that way everything is fresh, exciting and new.

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We stay a relaxing night in a hostel as rain patters on the tin roof through our dreams. In the morning we touch base with Rodrigo, Jackson paddler and The Man in Chile. He laments the low water and points us to the famous Palguin, wishing he could join us but busy with work. Now we’re driving around Pucon trying to find the bus station, were Yoshi is waiting for us. Yoshi, like myself not really speaking Spanish, has somehow managed to make his way from Santiago to Pucon on the public bus system, no trivial feat. He is relieved to see us pull up, and we waste no time loading and head to the Palguin.

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None of us have done the Palguin before except Yoshi. Somewhere around ten years ago Yoshi ran the Palguin with fellow Jackson paddler Phil Boyer, but at this point he not only doesn’t remember much, the river has changed. Hiking down the steep slope to the water, I’m amazed by the put-in. A natural bridge spans the river, and we seal launch off the far side. That’s too cool. The run wastes no time getting to good rapids, and we have ear to ear smiles in a few seconds. Hopping out to scout here and there, we run mostly normal lines and a few apparently unusual lines due to our ignorance. It’s all going well. Soon we pull out to scout again and from above I recognize “the portage” from all the video I’ve seen of the run. I’d heard of people running it lately and jump to the conclusion that it’s pretty much being run all the time. Not bothering to scout the rest of it I get back in my boat and bombs away, flipping like most in the top folding drop, going over the second trying to roll up and resurfacing below a bit wide eyed. Then the other five team members follow and all goes well, though none of us get through upright.

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Middle Palguin, most who partake of vicarious kayaking in videos and images are sick of this seventy foot waterfall, and it’s an experience best left to itself. Standing above the lip, with low water, it certainly looks very tall and thankfully goes well for our team, lead in included. We continue on through the lower Palguin as per Clay Wrights advise, and enjoy the whole section of nice scenery and one last portage on a nice trail.

jackson, kayak, karma, chile, review

Everything else seems a bit low, but as it rains our hopes rise as we imagine water levels doing the same, giving us more options in the morning.

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