DRAFT - Thrills and spills from Chile 1998
From February 15th to March 1st 1998, nine friends met in southern Chile for two weeks of class IV and V kayaking on some of Chile's most famous rivers.
To the Manso we will go....
Driving to the road which leads to the takeout of the Manso was a pleasure, as the highway was up to North American standards, however from the highway to the shore of Lake Steffan was another story. Switchbacks on a steep, one-lane dirt road made for an interesting experience when an oncoming vehicle was encountered. We picked a campsite next to the lake and kicked back, resting in preparation for a long day.
The Manso starts in Argentinian National Park Nahuel Huapi, and as such there are plenty of tourists - and the Argentinian parks service charges each and every one 5 Argentinian pesos (pegged 1 to 1 with the American dollar). This is the first time I've had to pay a 'put in' fee.
The river starts right where the tour buses drop off their blue-haired cargo to look at the 'pretty waterfalls'. Not so pretty if you are contemplating running them. The first one was a doozey, probably 30ish feet of solid white froth. Kinda hard to tell what was in there, we opted to put in below... but not before a large horde of tourists gathered thinking we were going to run it. Aren't we all a little morbid at heart? We heard that Dan, Clay, and Brennan had run it the day before. (note to self: find a pic of this)
So we started off on this grey day, paddling quite a ways on flatwater (grrrr, overall this river has too much flat stuff) before the first drop, a river wide slide, about 20 feet high. A hole halfway down on river left (?) was the only concern on this fun drop.
20' vertical drop
The last half hour of the Manso was mostly flat, essentially a warm-up for the two hour paddle across (I mean all-the-f*ing-way-across) Lake Steffan. Sure the scenery was nice, but that wears thin pretty damn quick.
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Page last updated: June 28, 2003
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