After an epic trip to Meghalaya last year, picking a destination for this year was pretty easy. Last year we turned up having done no research and found gold, so along with a year of google earth reserach myself and my brother headed back, joined in three stages by Barry Loughnane, Moe Kelleher and Chris Korbulic.
Barry Loughnane on the Upper Kynshi
Arriving in September we were treated with high water, which involved some pretty unpleasent rain in the tail end of the monsoon in the wettest place on earth.
Dan scouts a filthy rapid at high water on the Upper Kynshi
I’m not entirely sure why I keep going back to Meghalaya. I’m not the biggest fan of walking with kayaks, especially when they’re full of multiday gear, and Meghalaya has its fair share of walk-ins. All the same, when the water levels started to drop we headed to the Lower Umngot via jungle hike into a pretty comitting section.
The easy part of the walk down to the Umngot, where the path was still obvious
The Umngot itself was a fantastic trip. We paddled some great rapids, but also walked a tonne of aweful boulder strewn mess.
Moe Kelleher shows off his boof face on the Umngot
With boulders the size of houses you even have to scout the portages on the Umngot
Moe Kelleher exploring the bizzare geology of the Umngot
With four weeks of hard trips under out belt, and water levels dropping off, we decided it was time for a break from all the ball ache and headed to the gem we found last year, the lower section of the Kynshi.
Griff’s Gash on the Lower Kynshi
We had been saving a big adventure for the end. We were planning on heading to the Simsang in the Garo Hills, but unfortanately a few days before we set off the newspapers started to use phrases like “civil war” and “kidnappings.” So we sacked it off, as that didn’t really sound like that much fun. After a bit of debate we headed to the Middle Kynshi, which drops around 1,000m in 45km if you include the lower section we had already paddled.
Spot the kayaker: Chris Korbulic paddling Tuna, Mustard and Mayo on the Middle Kynshi
The photos and videos of the Middle Kynshi make it look fantastic. Be warned, out of six days we spend a good three walking.
Looks like a great river, right?
By the evening of day five we finally hit the lower Kynshi, and it was decided (by the keen members of the team, i.e. Chris and Dan) that paddling it all in one day was a great idea.
Blasting down the Lower Kynshi
Right at the end of the trip we finally made it to Krem Chympe, and underground river in the Jantia Hills. We were expecting a 1 hour paddle down with maybe one or two waterfalls. After a crazy 5 hours we made it out to the other side having run around 20 different waterfalls varying from 5 foot to around 20!!!
Dropping into the darkness in Krem Chympe
Despite the ludicrous amount of walking done it was a fantastic trip, and once again I’ve agreed to head back next year in the hope that we find a nice multiday section with easy access and no portages. That might be a bit optimistic, but who knows, there is so much left to be paddled in Meghalaya and even if we do end up shouldering out boats again, the adventures off the water as are awesome as they are on the river!!!
Additional photos by Dan Rea-Dickins and Chris Korbulic