Whitewater rafting Upper Trancura River

by CameronM Fri, April 07 2006 21:40

Today was our last day in Pucon before heading back to Santiago on the night bus, so we were keen to make the most of it. We headed off in our Politur minibus again, this time to Upper Trancura River for a two hour whitewater rafting trip.

As it is heading towards winter, I was pleased to know that the tour company provided full wetsuits and even booties and gloves to keep us warm. The river contains rapids up to class 4, however as the water level is low at this time of year, they had dropped to about 3.5. There was still enough foam to make three of the rapids a little scary, but under the watchful eye of our safety kayaker, and in the trusted hands of our guide, we were able to conquer them without flipping, falling in or otherwise coming to grief.

At one point we had to leave the rafts as the guides took them through a very rocky section alone. We walked for a few hundred metres beside the river before having to jump in, off a rocky outcrop about 4 metres above the water. It was great fun, although during the fall I did have time to think that the water seemed to be a lot further away than it initially looked!

Sitting in the front of the raft and being responsible for setting the pace for my side of the raft, meant that I tried very hard to respond to the guides commands. This meant that after an hour I was completely knackered. Luckily I was able to ease up on the paddling and rest a little between rapids, although our guide did seem to have a nasty streek and sometimes made us paddle for an extended period, just to watch us run into a rock at full speed.

Finally we reached the half way point on the river, between the easy lower section and more difficult upper section. This was the end of the road for us and it was with some relief that I sat down and rested, while enjoying a Pisco Sour and a ham sandwich.

Yerko and Corine had purchased tickets for the executive overnight bus service to Santiago. This is the middle class of the three standards for long distance buses and appears to be the one most commonly used by tourists, as our bus was full of fellow backpackers and adventurers. The seats recline and there is plenty of leg room, so in theory you can get a good nights sleep. In practice though, at least for me, you tend to spend the night trying to get into a comfortable position and just as you drop off to sleep, you are awaken as the bus stops at one of the many toll stations or bus depots, or you are kept awake by the snoring of other travellers.

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