WCKA Newsletter - Chile 2008
WCKA Newsletter - February 2006
February has been the
height of our kayaking experience in Chile. Our time spent in Pucon,
Futaleufu, and Pichilemu has resulted in epic days on the river. In
this, the shortest month of the year, we have paddled some of the
students’ favorite rivers of all time.
The first river paddled
in February and the second river paddled in Pucon was the Maichin. This
river has low volume with a creek-like feel; it is crystal clear,
flowing over boofs and technical rapids. Next, we embarked upon the
Palguin, a world-renowned creek. Our first mission, the upper section,
is laden with waterfalls that range from five to twenty feet. The gorge
is narrow and steep, the water clear, and the drops awesome. The lower
Palguin has tighter lines and a technical run with interesting boofs.
The triple-drop rapid has a four-foot and a three-foot boof before the
river drops off a twelve-foot waterfall. By far the most interesting
rapid is a slide with a ski-type jump at the bottom. The combined upper
and lower section of the Palguin run makes for a truly exciting and
larger-than-life day on the river.
Morning workouts here in
Pucon were totally grueling, consisting of long runs plus either a
strength or core workout. Students are now comfortable on up to a
45-minute run. It has been interesting to see people’s muscles shape up
and endurance improve this quarter. Students have been pushing their
limits in all strength and core exercises.
month also contained a duathlon race among the students. This was a
two-mile run followed by a two-mile paddle down the Liacura. The race
was very close, with first, second, and third places all finishing
within a minute of each other. Phil took third, Jesse second, and Clay
was victorious in first. After leaving Pucon we headed to another
beautiful Chilean river, the Fuy. This blue river flowed over amazing
boofs and tongue drops, contained a fun slide and both a twenty and a
twenty-five foot waterfall. We ran this beautiful spring water river
twice before catching the ferry.
After days of sitting in the
van we were all ecstatic to run the famous Futaleufu. Our most paddled
run, Bridge to Casa, includes big catch on the fly surf waves, huge
whirlpools that can totally swallow paddlers, monstrous waves and big
Class IV (+) rapids. This high-volume big water river is truly amazing
to kayak, dwarfing a paddler in its huge rapids. The other two runs on
the Futa are the Terminator and Inferno Canyon sections. Terminator
includes a Class V monstrosity, which we sneaked, quickly followed by
three stacked Class IV rapids containing incredible large waves (10-15
feet), good surf, and nasty holes. The Inferno Canyon section was
scenic as well as challenging. The two main rapids, Entrada and Salida,
were huge with big water moves and holes to be punched. The final
rapid, Throne, is borderline Class V. Only teachers and a few students
ran it. Throne has a challenging move where one has to ferry below
holes and above a pillow rock. The Futaleufu is arguably the favorite
river of a number of students, myself included. At our camp in
Futaleufu we had a large pasture that we utilized to play Ultimate. An
average workout was a 12-minute run, a little strength and/or core
training, followed by an Ultimate Frisbee game.
paddled this quarter include two of my top three rivers. We paddled
little creeks to huge rivers, waterfalls, and giant waves. This month’s
“business” paddling and cross-training workouts have shaped students
into strong athletes and well-rounded paddlers.
was a fruitful month for all. The first day of February found us ahead
of schedule and already moved into our house for our three-week stay in
Pucon. The greater Pucon area, with its steep mountains, luscious
forests, and beautiful beaches offered us a host of activities.
the end of our first week, a crew of ten students and teachers rose
early on their day off to attempt an ascent of the famous and very
active Volcon Villarica. Villarica is approximately 9000 feet high and
has a recent history of large eruptions. The climb took all day and at
times it looked as if oncoming rain clouds would force a turnaround. At
the top we were graced with a spectacular view of the Andes and Lake
Villarica, as well as the plumes of lava that shot out of the crater
For our first weekend in Pucon we ventured south
for a raft-supported overnight trip on the San Pedro, a beautiful
lake-fed river that is slated to be dammed imminently. The remote
setting gave us some time to relax, surf, and enjoy the pristine river.
We’ve been told that we were one of the last groups fortunate enough to
paddle to San Pedro and the Fuy before they are dammed by the Spanish
power company, Endessa.
In our last days in Pucon we had the
great opportunity to square off against our good friends and rivals
from the New River Academy. With cuts, scrapes, and welts for all, the
debate as to who won will be left as one of the great unsolved
mysteries of all time. Due to the tenacity and skill of both teams, the
time ran out on both matches before either flag could be captured.
celebrated three birthdays in February: Evan Garcia turned 17 with an
Asado (barbeque) at our house in Pucon. Friends of the school turned
out for the excellent feast provided to us, courtesy of Israel and
Cote’s superb culinary skills. Reed Koeneke, who turned 20, and Jake
Sakson, who turned 16, had their birthdays in Bariloche, Argentina and
at the Futaleufu in Chile.
The trip to the Futaleufu was
indeed epic. After finding an alternate route over the mountains and
into Argentina, we reached the border after it had closed, forcing us
to spend the night in the disputed border area known as the Zona Gris
(Gray Zone). During our two days and one night of driving through
Argentina, we spent time in San Martin de Andes, Bariloche, and Esquel.
The sun shined for a few days on and off in Futa, but before long most
everyone had moved into the relative shelter of a barn and out of the
driving wind and rain caused by the Antarctic weather systems.
for us, all WCKA has been enjoying nice sunny weather. Perfect for
having class outside, breathing in the outside air, or just having a
good time. Since arriving in Pucon, we have been busting out as many
classes as possible, so we can have extra time to go paddle all the
great rivers of Chile. Everyone is excited to get through with classes
to go paddle, so they work extra hard to complete assignments. All
classes are rolling along nicely, and everyone is enjoying themselves.
In Chemistry everything is going well and everyone earned an A on the
last test. Students in Videography are learning how to make videos on
the school computer in Final Cut Pro HD. Environmental Science class
was fortunate at the Futa, having the opportunity to listen to two
presentations by two guest speakers (thanks, John and Chantal). They
talked about the conservation of the Futaleufu Valley and its many
resources (such as the awesome Futa River). All other classes are doing
fine also, especially the Spanish classes. Since being in Chile
requires us to use Spanish, everyone looks forward to class with Orion,
so they can learn to speak more easily with the locals. Everyone has
been having a wonderful last few weeks in Chile, enjoying every minute
and getting ready to go home and relax for a week before we head off to
the West Coast for some awesome creeking!
Athletics by Jake Sakson
Academics by Chiseki McConnaughay
Activities by Ben Guttridge
WCKA Newsletter - January 2006
WCKA has arrived in Chile for second semester. One day and a long plane
flight later, we landed in hot and sunny Santiago, at about 6:30 in the
morning (although it felt like it was time for bed). Then we were off
to the Maipo River, located next to the small town of San Jose.
Although tired, we went on a beautiful hike up to the Cascadas de las
Animas where some of us and took a “shower” under the waterfall (very
fun). After that first wonderful bonding experience, the returning
students started to get back into the swing of things and the new
students started to get acclimated to the hectic schedule. After
spending a couple of days getting to know everyone, things started to
roll along and the teachers decided it would be fun to hike to the top
of one of the many beautiful peaks in our area. The hike took most of
the day, and once we got to the top we were greeted with a breathtaking
view of the valley where we were staying. For a special treat after the
long hike up the mountain, we were lead to a crystal clear swimming
hole that felt wonderful after the 90-degree weather all day. Then we
hiked back to our campsite to get dressed for dinner out. A day well
After spending some time at the Maipo, we decided it
was time to head to Pucon, but not before stopping to paddle the Siete
Tazzas, the kickoff of another epic WCKA road trip. What was supposed
to take about seven or eight hours ended up taking a full day and night
because trailer trouble, car breakdowns, and many gas stops. All in a
day’s work, I suppose. After spending two days at the Seven Teacups, we
were off again to Pucon, which although not as long and grueling, the
trip still took close to 12 hours. All’s well that ends well. Now that
we are here and situated in Pucon, everyone has been relaxing and
having a great time paddling and practicing their Spanish with the
locals. It’s also been great being able to buy ice cream on those hot
days for only 50 cents (score!).
workouts started soon after we arrived at the Cajon de Maipo with a
demanding cardio kickoff. The sight of 20 gringos running down the
street at 6:30 in the morning has been a bit puzzling to the locals,
but they have given us nothing but supportive greetings and cheers. We
have found that rural Chile has an unfortunate lack of suitable
Ultimate Frisbee fields. Instead, we played another cardio Frisbee game
called Hotbox that demands a lot less space. Our first game of Ultimate
took place on Pucón’s town beach. We have been slowly working our way
up from 12-minute runs, reaching 20 minutes today.
Chile started out with a bang on the flooded Rio Maipo. Humongous
crashing waves, munchy holes, and big surf waves made every run
exciting. From time to time, one could feel and hear the vibrations of
boulders being swept downstream by the rushing, muddy water. It was a
bit bizarre to find a world-class whitewater river in the middle of a
desert canyon with cacti and tumbleweeds. We had our introduction to
Chilean creeking on the world-renowned Siete Tazas (Seven Teacups) of
the Rio Claro. These highly exotic waterfalls are a popular destination
for tourists, some of whom insisted on taking pictures with the
strangely attired people in kayaks. After belaying our kayaks down the
near vertical canyon walls, we put onto the crystal clear water of the
Claro. The clean pool-drop nature of the run made the 18-foot
waterfalls a blast for the whole team. It was a perfect place for some
of the new students to log their first waterfall descents.
we completed the epic journey to Pucón, we wasted no time making our
way to the Liacura and the Lower Trancura, both of which featured some
much needed and enjoyed playspots, as well as spectacular views of the
local volcanoes. Everyone is improving quickly with the top-notch
instruction from Coaches Tom and Orion . On the last day of January
many of the students got their first taste of Class IV Chilean
whitewater on the Upper Trancura. The rapids were steep and the
whitewater interesting and exciting. With our new home on the banks of
the Liacura, everyone has been able to takeout next to their tents.
academics have jumped back into high gear at the start of this
semester. Our brand new English teacher, Mary, has started her classes
with interesting novels. Math classes have continued with business as
usual. The histories have begun learning about the indigenous peoples
of the Americas, the reign of Pinochet and the Chilean government.
Spanish has had a lot to do to prepare students for conversations with
World Lit is reading Savages, a book about American
oil corporation’s genocide and destruction of the homelands of the
Huaorani, an indigenous people of Ecuador. Brit Lit has been reading
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a very dense
and complicated political allegory that alludes to relations between
South America and the USA. American Lit has been studiously reading
House of Spirits, a book by a renowned female author, Isabel Allende.
History has been learning about the indigenous people of the Americas,
as well as feudalism and the Middle Ages of Europe. Government has been
studying present-day Chilean government and economy, as well as the
government during the reign of Pinochet and how the repercussions of
his rule are affecting Chile today. US History just completed their
in-depth study of the Civil War and has just begun examining modern
Environmental Science has been focusing on population
explosion and how to control it. Chemistry recently had a test on
converting empirical formulas to molecular formulas, percentage
composition, naming compounds, and deriving formulas from percentage
Spanish classes have been reviewing appropriate
restaurant etiquette and language. They are also learning relevant
vocabulary, taking full advantage of the learning opportunities
presented by our geographical setting, both by speaking with locals at
every opportunity and by incorporating Spanish into our interactions
with one another.
Activities by Keith Chiseki McConnaughay
Athletics by Ben Guttridge
Academics by Jake Sakson
WCKA Newsletter - March 2004
Dos Margaritas in the Futaleufu Valley is a guide school for local Chileans between the ages of 18 and 24. Located on 1000 acres of forest and glacial capped peaks it is a place of amazing beauty. With the whole campus to ourselves, our time on the Futa was an academic explosion. All classes were full of life and learning. Aimee’s English classes have been reading and writing like crazy trying to finish up their novels with a masterpiece of an essay. English students could also be found with dictionary in hand cramming for their vocabulary tests. The Futa set the “Semester of Math” into full swing. After countless measurements and geometrical calculations, the Geometry students were able draw plans for the reconstruction of the kitchen building. The eccentric Pre-Calc class could be found wandering around campus calculating the height of trees, area of buildings, and elevation of mountains all in measurements of flip-flops, pens, and umbrellas. With one month of intense mental math training behind them, all students at WCKA were in eager anticipation of the WCKA 1st Annual Triathlon of Math. The Triathlon of Math is a timed mental math race with no written work and time penalties for wrong answers. After the very heated preliminary round Dan West came in first, followed closely by Ian Garcia and Philly Williams. Next came the finals, the whole campus was filled with energy as the competitors stepped to the starting line. Organizer Greg Campbell dropped the flag and the three math racers were pushed to their mental and physical limits. Racers were required to run as well as spin, do somersaults, and dodge flying soccer balls all while trying to solve math problems in their heads. After all three racers had crossed the line there was silence filled with anticipation as the scores were calculated. With only a one second difference between first and second place, Dan West emerged on top again with Ian Garcia settling for second. Unfortunately Philly had a pencil break which cost him a lot of time. Students will begin more math training after spring break. Biology Class has been looking at the impacts that a hydroelectric dam and aluminum smelter would have on the wide array of ecosystems in the Futaleufu Valley. Having class right in the valley has made it easy to have some great hands on learning. Lone physics student Philly has spent many lonely hours building his miniature suspension bridge. After three weeks of gluing, the bridge was ready. The little bridge proved to be strong and was able to hold a good-sized kettle of water before cracking in two. The very opinionated videography students have been in a filming and editing frenzy. The big water of the Futaleufu has provided hours of amazing freestyle and river running footage. Video class described in the words of the video students “Under the oppressive control of our professors we have been forced to complete humorous mockumentries and epic kayak videos during our time here.” When I asked Dan West what video class was all about he simply responded with “exercising independent creative intuitions to support the revolution through media propaganda.” The semester video is looking great and will be even better after the West Coast tour.
Everyone here is sad to see our time in Chile come to an end. It has been an amazing journey that none of us will ever forget. Some of us have already started talking about a return trip. With spring break in our sights we are ready for some time off. We are having too much fun and need a week to relax.
Arriving in a green valley surrounded by jagged grey and white snowcapped mountains, students were excited to paddle Chile’s world renowned Futaleufu River: the heart of the valley. World Class Kayak academy spent two weeks on the Futaleufu’s azure waters perfecting their aerial freestyle moves and plunging down its changing rapids. On a wave named Pistola, WCKA athletes trained under the watchful eye of head Coach Andrew Holcombe. Andrew offered advice to help students change the enormous bounces occurring as kayaks launched off the Pistola Wave into enormous blunts and other assorted aerial stunts. Also students had the opportunity to journey down all four famous whitewater sections on the Futa. While paddling down the river, students paddled past impressive river features: waves tall enough to be named the Himalayas, holes trashy enough to be called Terminator, and whirlpools gaping enough to be described as Royal Flush. All the while, off the river students were woken up soon after the sun rose by Coach Holcombe for morning work-outs. As athletes’ minds were still waking up before class their bodies did crunches, sit-ups, push-ups or a game like ultimate frisbee. Leaving the Futaleufu, WCKA drove north to the beach town of Pichilemu where athletes used skills they perfected on the Futa’s waves to go aerial on the ocean’s waves. After a few days surfing in the ocean students flew home for a welcome rest period. At home they prepared for the rivers and experiences to come on the west coast of the US.
By Matt “Ivan” Stiefel
We awoke on a secluded beachside soccer field, barely having enough time to eat breakfast before boarding our first ferry on our long journey south. On a five-hour boat ride, we enjoyed dolphins, penguins and were mesmerized by the beauty of Southern Chile. Beneath the branches of 4,000-foot tall Alerce trees, the group wandered through a private reserve and around multiple cascading waterfalls. Finally, the anxious staff and students of World Class Kayak Academy arrived at their new home on the Futaleufu River, Dos Margaritas. Dos Margaritas (Two Daises), is a guide school for local Chileans with a mission to push ecotourism to protect the Futaleufu for future generations. To show our appreciation and to give back to the community, we held a two-day kayak clinic for the local inhabitants. On a nearby lake, we taught eleven Chileans kayaking basics before heading to the river. Despite the unforgiving rain, their positive attitudes and enthusiasm made the run enjoyable for everyone. To warm our spirits, we cooked a fireside asado dinner, the perfect remedy after a long wet day on the river. Sadly, our time at the Futaleufu quickly came to an end. We took our last run down the incredible Futaleufu at midnight. The group paddled down the river guided by the light of a full moon, an experience that no one will ever forget. As we left, I took one last look at Dos Margaritas, the most beautiful place on earth, hoping that one day I will return. Our first return ferry took us to the yarn capital of the world, the island of Chiloe. Those who are enrolled at World Class Crochet Academy spent their last few pesos on home spun, naturally dyed wool for their new line of hats. If you are interested in a very stylish and home-made crocheted hat, contact Dan West at: email@example.com to purchase.
WCKA Newsletter - February 2004
In February students at World Class Kayak Academy pursued their school work, energized by Chile’s natural majesty, motivated by enthralling rivers, and intrigued by foreign culture. Academic topics potentially dry in a traditional learning setting have come to life this month in WCKA’s fertile learning environment. English students plunged into the worlds of magical realism created by either Noble Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Chilean author Isabel Allende. In these magical worlds students discovered very real issues such as a loss of cultural memory in Garcia Marques’s plague of forgetfulness, or Allende’s theme of patriarchal class struggles. In solidarity with English classes, US government students briefly discussed the feminist movement, but their recent energy has been focused on studying the theories behind the American Constitution and how it relates to their lives. Continuing the “Semester of Math,” Greg Campbell continues to prove that math is practical. When Greg is asked what he has been teaching in class he replies enthusiastically. “In geometry class,” he states, “we are studying logarithms and exponents and their relationship to the financial world.” When questioned about trigonometry he answered, “Well, we are studying the theories of trigonometry and their applications in both astronomy and navigation.” In physics class, students are thrown into the world of quantum physics where science mirrors Eastern Religions, teaching that form comes from nothingness and nothingness is form. The end of February will find WCKA in the Futaleufu Valley where there is a proposed aluminum smelter and major hydroelectric power project. Biology students are working on an evaluation of this controversial issue and possible benefits and downfalls. Similarly, environmental science class is studying the impact of dams in the region by learning about David Bower, an executive director of the Sierra Club, and his life as a conservationist. Particularly, students have studied his crusade to thwart hydroelectric projects on the Grand Canyon. Students in Aimee Cullwick’s publications class are in the process of querying editors to accept articles they have been composing, as well as writing this newsletter.
By Matt “Ivan” Stiefel
January 29th marked our departure from the Maipo River. We headed off in search of the world famous waterfall run, the Siete Tazas (Seven Teacups). The water levels were low, but we made the best of the opportunity. Aqua blue water flowed through the deep basalt canyons of the Rio Claro, creating seven classic waterfalls ranging in height from five to twenty three feet. The run was short, but the group returned for a second run, without our kayaks; swimming through the pristine waters and jumping off the drops. Next we continued on to Pucon, a region that offered plentiful rivers for our paddling pleasure. First, we kayaked the Upper Palguin, a quintessential waterfall run with four drops up to twenty-five feet. The drops were clean and so were our lines. Next, just twenty minutes from the guesthouse where we are staying, is a small play feature on the Liucura River. This wave/hole offers an excellent setting to hold a rodeo and local Chilean paddlers were invited to take part in our competition. In the final round, Ian Garcia competed head to head with local pro Max. The following day, we started early and drove four hours to paddle the Rio Fuy. The run was steep, with multiple waterfalls including La Leona (The Lion). The beautiful, electric-blue water was warm and made the run even more enjoyable. The next run brought us back for another section on the Palguin. Unlike the upper, this section has more of a creeky feel with boulder gardens and basalt waterfalls, including a drop named "Auto Boof." Following the Palguin, our local friend Sergio took us down the crystal clear waters of the San Pedro River. This river flows out of Lake Rinihue, surrounded by white capped volcanoes. The long stretch of flatwater was compensated by the amazing play features. One of the last river events we experienced in Pucon was another rodeo held on the Liucura with an even better turn out than the first. Ivan Stiefel, Adam Johnson and Jon Meyers paddled their way to top honors and enjoyed a fireside asado dinner (Chilean style BBQ) following the long day of competition.
By Jon Meyers
One more month has flown by here in Chile, packed with tons of fun. WCKA finished up their time in the Maipo region and began traveling south. After a couple days of long van rides we arrived in Pucon, the activity capital of Chile. Filled with beautiful girls, big rivers, and a bumpin’ nightlife, Pucon is a dream come true for the 11 male students currently attending WCKA. On Saturday nights most of the students could be found in the discotecas dancing till dawn, yet those of us who preferred to spend the evening sleeping and saving money could be found at Casa Blanca, our new home for a few weeks. The Casa Blanca is 15 km outside of Pucon along the peaceful banks of the Rio Liucura. Pucon is a giant tourist magnet and town trips have become quite frequent for us. With an abundance of Internet access, restaurants, and essential supplies, we find it hard to stay away. With the remote Futaleufu as our next destination, we are trying to get as much town time as possible. Just down the road from our accommodations our new found Chilean friend, Pangal, and his family have a summer retreat. The highlight of this summer retreat is a game he and his cousins have created high in the trees called Los Palos, the sticks. With logs lashed parallel to the ground anywhere from 1 to 15 feet high, the game resembles a ropes course made of trees. Now add 15 to 20 people up on the logs and start a game of tag. Those with no balance fall out fast and the balance blessed keep on playing. Pangal is master of the game and can full on sprint through the trees with the greatest of ease. Some of the students have developed their balance over the past weeks and have become quite good. The “Best Balancing Gringo Award” however, went to Andrew Holcombe, who managed to tag Pangal, a feat no other Gringo has accomplished. With several nasty falls, Los Palos has showed us that in some games only the strong survive. Pucon has been a good time for many reasons, yet WCKA will be heading to the Futaleufu very soon and everyone is stoked for that.
By Dane Hollinger
WCKA Newsletter - January 2004
WCKA wasted no time getting back into the swing of school. Dean Cullwick and Dean Campbell report an outstanding beginning to this semester's math classes. "The entire school is enthused by mathematics and our semester of math," Campbell explained. The deans would like to announce that the Math Club elections will be held at the end of the month. Students are in eager anticipation of the new novels for English classes. British Literature is reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Noble Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, while American Literature enjoys Chilean author Isabel Allende's, This House of the Spirits. The science department is utilizing local resources to bring to life scientific theory. For instance, Biology class is creating their own guide to Chilean Flora. Our Government class is reading Animal Farm while studying the Chilean government. It is an excellent opportunity to learn while we camp only twenty minutes from former Chilean Dictator Pinochet. Taking full advantage of our new environment, Spanish classes learn in and out of the classroom. We join young kids who also inhabit our campground in soccer games as well as Foosball, Ping-Pong, and pool time fun. Our shuttle driver Miguel is a valuable asset to help us learn the language. We are all excited to hear Miguel will be traveling with for the rest of travels in Chile. The Publications class is proud to present these monthly newsletters.
By Jon Meyers
The spring semester has sprung and the students at WCKA are raring to go. To start off the semester the students were on the water within 4 hours of arriving in Chile. Before we knew it we were up before the sun doing our morning workout. So far the group has participated in ultimate Frisbee, core strength building, and long runs for their workouts. Soccer is on the list of possibilities for morning workout and all the students are looking forward to that. The Maipo has provided awesome paddling for WCKA with three main sections to enjoy. The upper section is a continuous solid class IV section. Littered with big waves and holes, this section has some epic catch on the fly play. The middle section made for a perfect warm up run for the group to get back into the paddling groove. With some great class III rapids and some fun play spots the 7 kilometers of this section make for a great afternoon run. Last but certainly not least is the lower section, which has showed us some great play spots. The students have been spending most of the afternoons on the lower section paddling their arms off. With the recent discovery of the upper section it looks as if it will be the run of choice until we move on. Although the water of the Maipo has the appearance of flowing coffee, no one has hesitated to jump right in for some world class paddling. This semester the students will be training under head paddling coach Andrew Holcombe. Coach Holcombe has tons of tips to improve the paddling of all WCKA students. We are looking forward to improving our skills here in Chile with the help of Andrew.
By Dane Hollinger
The morning of January 16, 2004 the students at World Class Kayak Academy were on a plane looking out the window to see their first glimpse of the snow-capped Andes Mountain Range. Minutes later, the plane landed concluding an all-night, 9 hour flight and beginning WCKA’s spring semester in Chile. After getting ourselves and our 16 kayaks through customs, we loaded into our two rental vans for a three hour journey through the Chilean countryside to arrive in the small town of San Jose; a town pushed next to the churning milkshake brown Maipo River by steep mountains on all sides. WCKA set up camp and then eagerly geared up for a paddle on the water. The river was fast and continuous; every bend offering large challenging rapids riddled with intimidating holes. Answer a riddle wrong and expect a good thrashing by the river. The water also offered plenty of friendlier and more inviting play spots. This river is invigorating to play on – the perfect place to burn off jet lag. WCKA took off the river with large smiles, but now with an appetite the juicy river and awe-inspiring mountainous scenery could not quench. This was answered in short time when we entered the home of Gema who would be feeding us like a second mother for the next week. She capably prepared a wonderful dish of pasta with an abundance of fresh Chilean vegetables. Everyone is looking forward to the meals to come. The next few days will see WCKA slip into its “normal” schedule: workouts in the morning, class during the day, paddling in the afternoon, all laced with great cooking from Gema. The end of January will find WCKA traveling to the town of Pucon continuing its search for the best whitewater and experiences to be found in Chile.
By Matt “Ivan” Stiefel