Cascadas de las Animas (Wed.,3/11/09) – Rolling Down the River
by Tom Bernitt -- March 11th, 2009
A brief encounter with a Class III river invigorates the DELsters.
Our first full day living at the Cascadas and it was action-packed. I’ll try to describe the morning and leave the afternoon to others.
Finally, a night of solid sleep with more than four hours did wonders for the psyche and disposition. After a leisurely breakfast there were many action-packed activities for everyone to choose. And the real DEL folks chose to white water raft down the Maipo, a Class III river running adjacent to the property.
We 10 DEL folk headed out armed with other people’s wetsuits (not necessarily recommended if you can avoid it but one just doesn’t think about it and it will be OK), paddles, helmets, and a killer attitude. After sizing us over, it was decided that Cheri, Lesleee, Sara, Holly B, David, and I should torture Lorenzo, a member of the Chilean national rafting team, for the 13-mile trip. The other boat consisted of Dr. Deb, Mary Pat, Holly R, and Kristin. They may have had more political pull within the DEL program but we were definitely the A Team on the river. After a brief orientation (which gave no one, especially Lorenzo, any confidence at all) we set sail around 10:30 and started our trek. Paddling with the precision of kindergarten students, we proceeded down the river without incident. We then had a brief stop at a sheltered inlet downriver that allowed the more agile of us to practice for the Acapulco cliff-diving Olympics. No one died although some had reservations right up to the last second. And there were some that swore that the last diver changed the cry off the cliff from Geronimo to Gallagher to great effect.
Sliding further down the river (for we surely—much to Lorenzo’s disgust—weren’t paddling necessarily with the same rhythm or direction) we then had the opportunity to actually jump in behind the raft and let the river work its magic. Bracing it was to say the least as the river lived up to its 9 degree Celsius reputation.
It was then finally to our rendezvous point where everyone, no worse for wear and with all paddles and teeth accounted for, managed to wade ashore to the waiting bus.
A good time was had by all and the rumor is that everyone passed this portion of the course (although I’m sure there will be some exceptions made).