Sorry for the ridiculous title but it’s deserving. In this update, I’ill show off some cool shots from Bariloche, and talk about how Matias is such a “bad influence” taking “dumb gringos” into the amazing Mansa Gorge.
First off, Bariloche. I stayed at Refugio Patagonia,
The Manso Gorge,
First off the logistics are hard, it is a long shuttle and technically it is forbidden to paddle the river. So find yourself a local guide. I was lucky enough to know Matias Nunez from the states and he was more then happy to take me into the gorge. It starts off with a bang, “The Monster” a 40+ foot drop with a very odd hole at the lip, reminded me of a super pissed off Punch Bowl Falls. I came in hot, boofed hard and dove right into the hole, it swallowed me and I remember thinking hang on to that paddle, and then waiting and waiting and waiting for the thaploosh of entering into the landing pool.
Matias and I finished our high fives and turned our attention to the next seven hours of paddling, scouting, and portaging. It starts off with some stout ledges, intermittent with large pools
Soon the pools turn to more continuous rapids as you enter into the “gorge“. Once in here be careful, there is a stout hole that has dished out some beatings and a rowdy 50ish footer. We ran a chunk of the gorge and then Matias showed me the far left line. With our boats on our shoulders we slowly maneuvered through the dense jungle, trying not to accidentally run a big waterfall in the middle of nowhere. After we found the 50 footer, we put back in the river and routed through some more great drops.
The “tricky rapid” had my number, I came through a tight slot into a funny backwash, and immediately starting getting spun around. Instead of going with the spin I fought it and found myself momentarily pinned between two huge rocks in the middle of most of the current. I quickly shifted weight and did some kind of miracle paddle stroke and the boat came unpinned, I then got to run the slot in the picture above “switch”.
Tthe river dumps right into this magnificent lake, If it is sunny out you can usually flag down a motor boat and get towed in. In our case it had been raining all day and there wasn’t a soul on the lake. We paddled and paddled and an hour and a half latter we reached the truck. There leaned aga
inst the truck was the ranger. Matias looked at me and said don’t worry I will confuse him. The ranger and Matias, who at this point are on first name basis(Matias actually gave him a fake name and the ranger called him by it ((super funny)), started chatting about how it’s bullshit that the river is closed, and there are better ways to protect the land. Matias also stands behind a precedent that the original ranger not only allowed them to paddle the river but often times would drive his motor moat to the far end of the lake and pick up the kayakers. The ranger in turn told Matias he was a bad influence bringing dumb gringos onto the river. Me being the dumb non spanish speaking gringo responded to the ranger’s questions with “no Nintendo por favor“. A couple minutes, a fake name and passport number later, we were on our way. Matias is truly working hard to try to resolve the access issue on Manso as well as a couple other gems in the area. Until these access issues are sore up, Matias’s opinion was to continue to do the runs, just be a little sneaky.
Another adventure by Chris Baer