Rafting the Futaleufu River in Patagonia and then visiting Easter Island, December 2007
I've done a piss poor job sharing the photos of this trip so far. I put all my effort into Larry's site and neglected my own. You can check out Larry The Lizard's adventure in Chile.
Here are 300+ photos of the Earth River trip in Patagonia.
Some river shots from the disposable water proof cameras. We couldn't take pictures during the real action, but you can see the amazing scenery surrounding the Futaleufu.
And after the thrills of Class 5 white water, 300' rappels, rock climbing, zip lines, hikes and more... Easter Island (or Rapa Nui in native language) was an amazing change of pace.
Well this trip was easily the most adventurous trip we've ever done. I hadn't even read the itinerary close until a couple days before we left. The hype, "safety" talks, "high swim potential" and fact that other guests (there were only 7 of us) were opting out of the Class 5 rapids had me pretty nervous. I have to take that back - I was probably the most flat out scared at times on this trip than I've ever been as an adult in my life. I'm not a strong swimmer but always thought I could swim well enough to save my life and in other white water trips all you had to to was get on your back, feet forward and ride out the rapids. But once in Patagonia, we learned that isn't the case for a high volume river like the Fu. The swim test we had to do on our first day on the river had me convinced that I was NOT going to be allowed to go on the Class 5 portion of the trip. I started strong, jumped into the river 2nd out of 7 and I was thinking positively for the first few strokes. Then I was suddenly out of steam and the one wave in the 300 feet of river we had to swim went right down my throat. The river and water were much colder than we expected, it was gray and raining and I was fully clothed with multiple layers, heavy boots, gloves and a helmet - not the best swimming attire. I can remember just bobbing around in circles and catching the eye of one of the guides on his raft pulled into an eddy and thinking "why the hell aren't you rescuing me?!". Lori came swimming by me and asked if I was ok, I said no. She said you can do this and I said, No I can't. I don't remember much more than that but she says we had a full conversation. Once Lori passed by me I got a burst of motivation (mostly due to embarrassment of being passed I think) and I tried floating on my back, and dog paddling... anything to keep moving. I kept think how there is no way I've passed this test and this is the end of my white water adventures. Anyway, I got to the raft and was pulled in (Neil is my hero!) Everyone thought they did horribly and the cold sucked the life from us all more than expected. Greg our fearless guide said we all did fine. Unless you totally panicked and drowned, you passed the swim test. I felt a little better after hearing everyone say how horrible it had been for them but 3 people decided to skip the Class 5's the next day. I spent all night tossing and turning, paddling in my sleep wondering if I should opt out myself. I'm still not sure if I was having nightmares or never even went to sleep. I kept repeating to myself "Stay in the boat" - trying to use the Law of Attraction and not think about falling out and drowning. Needless to say, the rest of the week was actually a breeze compared to that fear. Hell, I had Larry the Lizard with me cheering me on to go sick, I couldn't go all the way to Patagonia and opt out of anything.
I heartily recommend Earth River, they rock. And Easter Island is just another world - very cool place. In fact Chile has tons of cool things to check out and like so many other places we've visited it is on the list for a second visit.