As we float adrift, rustic nature accompanies the course and shows us different wild nooks with particular hues.
The Chimehuin River is part of many sports coveted by families and groups of friends during their vacations in the South. Rafting is one of them and it is gaining more and more enthusiasts as a result of its development and the amusement it implies.
There are many experts in the subject both in San Martín
and Junín de los Andes
. We were accompanied by them along the route that leads to Huechulafquen
. We crossed the steppe watched by the Lanín Volcano
cut out in the skyline.
Mariano Bianchi and his team made up by young guides were waiting for us at the refuge. Mariano introduced himself and mentioned the entire program for this outing, including some surprises we would learn about later on. Firstly, we had to change clothes and put on wet suits and wind jammers. Likewise, helmets and a life-jacket are mandatory items.
We left our belongings at the locker room and showing off our rafting outfit, we set out on a short trip by bus to find the shore. Mariano gave us our first surprise: a natural vantage point with a splendid view of Lake Huechulafquen and the mouth of the Chimehuin River. This zone has been a favorite area amidst fly-casters for a long time now.
The boats were ready as we reached the river bank. Before we got on, we listened to the instructions provided by the guide. Each of us made contact with our own paddles and became aware that the watercraft would move properly only if we managed the paddles well. Our guide said: “Never let the paddle leave your hand”. To the Rafts
“All forward” and “All back” were the most popular words that commanded our moves from the very start. Our group added our own voices to make them sound stronger and give good vibes to our adventure.
When the river was smooth, with no rapids or rocks in sight we had a chance to chat while still paying attention to the rhythm. Our guide always anticipated obstacles and got us to make the right moves. As the bigger rocks appeared in the center of the river, we gave all our energy as we heard: “All forward” or “All back”.
The most exciting moment came during the last 8 kilometers of the tour. In some cases, the boat rocked and rolled over the rocks, but we came through successfully. We shouted and screamed and laughed heartily.
The second surprise consisted in two stops where we all landed and dived into the water from a rock. The river was deep enough. Then we swam to the shore. On another stop, we dived again but this time from the boats and wearing our life jackets. It was fun and we felt like kids.
Before we bade farewell to our fellow adventurers, the guides and Mariano, we gathered at a very cozy shed to have some hot drinks, tortas fritas, homebaked bread and jam.
We all agreed on the fact that this is a very amusing activity if practiced safely. It can be relaxing and bring out the best in us.