Below: Adam Goshorn in one of the many canyon sections, photo by Matt Beauchamp
Our third full day in Mexico was spent running a nine-mile section of the Upper Rio Bobos, putting in near Zapotitlan (If you missed the first two parts of this trip report, you can find Part I HERE and part II HERE). We had almost the exact same crew as the previous day on Big Banana, but had the pleasure of being joined by Lianne Germaine as well. The long drive to the put-in for the Zapotitlan section was so rainy and foggy I’m pretty sure we would not have found our way there on our own. However, knowing the shuttle was quite long we had hired drivers from Aventurec (www.aventurec.com) who knew the route and after hopping out to push Christine’s car a few times, we found ourselves at the top of a rocky, switch-backed, trail leading off the side of the mountain, supposedly to the river, hidden somewhere below in the fog.
Much of the trail had been stabilized by the placement of large rounded rocks, somewhat like cobblestones paving the surface, but larger, rounder, and on this day, covered in a thin veneer of mud and algae. The next hour was a test for our knees and ankles as we negotiated the slick, rocky trail down into the valley. As we gingerly proceeded, step by careful step, a few local men jogged past us heading to the river as well, but instead of kayaks they carried fishing nets draped around their necks. Another local passed us heading uphill leading his sure-footed mule up the tough trail. Eventually, the steep path emerged on the floor of the valley and with knees screaming, we left the trail and cut across a grassy field covered in boulders to reach the river.
Below: Christine, Wade, and Julian at the rainy put-in, photo by Matt Beauchamp
Where we accessed the river, it was wide, shallow, and the water level seemed too low. Sliding into the water we started moving downstream quickly, mentally preparing ourselves for what might be a nine-mile scrapefest. Luckily, the river soon constricted between boulders and morphed into fun sections of continuous class IV boulder gardens. Again and again throughout the day I was surprised by great scenery and fun rapids, despite the low water level. Although a couple sections were tougher than rest, using aggressive boat scouting we managed to make quick progress and avoid timely bank scouts.
Below: Ben Bernhard in one of the canyons, by Matt Beauchamp