Exploring the Rio General – Costa Rica day 18

18 Mar

Larger, more technical rapids were the norm in the Rio General. In higher water, this river would become a world-class whitewater paradise. Fortunately, for us, however, the water was lower and we mainly experienced class III rapids.

With my occasional flipping in rapids, I was very glad to have practiced my rolling skills as much as I had. I found myself able to roll in a rapid and pop right back up to keep going. This ability caught the instructor’s eye and he told me that he wished he had picked up kayaking as fast as I was. The comment encouraged me and gave me confidence in my abilities.

While I paddled, the sun beat down. It felt warm, but the water splashing on me to kept cool. The sun was relentless however, and sunscreen was a must-have. I applied it more than usual, but the water washed it off my hands. I soon found hundreds, maybe even thousands, of sun-blisters forming on my hands. There were so many blisters that they were running together and seemingly stacking on top of one another. It hurt.

I ended up needing to cover my hands with athletic tape in order to shelter them from the sun. I guess that in future tropical kayaking trips – should I be so lucky to have some – I will need to bring rowing gloves in case that sort of thing starts up again

When we made camp at night, I was one of the group-members in charge of cooking dinner. We had the best dinner I have ever tasted in the backcountry. We made mashed potatoes, a mix of cooked veggies, and blue marlin. I could not get enough of the marlin. It was fantastic and I had never had such a delicacy which on a backcountry trip. Without a doubt, that meal raised the standard for meals in the backcountry.
As the fire died down, we prepared for bed. Everyone slept under a large tarp on the beach. The stars were bright, and the jungle had a pleasant ambiance from all of the animals singing their songs.While we cooked, other members of our group made fire and the men regressed into little boys. They even got into a sword fight with sticks at one point. It was great to see grown men, many of whom work very professional jobs and internships back home, completely letting loose and playing around with their imaginations in a way usually only children can do. For some unfortunate reason, most adults leave their imagination behind as they grow up, but these individuals had certainly found them again and it was a joy to see.


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6 responses to “Exploring the Rio General – Costa Rica day 18

  1. LA Edwards

    21 March 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Pura Vida! How very fun your adventures are! You are brave to even kayak with stage III rapids! I have rafted in the states and held on for dear life with my feet wedged under the pilons to keep from falling out. The closest thing to a kayak was a duckie!

    • Nathan Menkveld

      21 March 2012 at 6:23 PM

      Where have you rafted? and yes it certainly was a rush! Thank you for commenting!

      • LA Edwards

        21 March 2012 at 7:27 PM

        I went rafting on the New River and Gauley Rivers near Fatetteville, West Virgina for a week – Class 4 and Class 5 rapids. Had so much fun, that I went back during Gauley season after they open the Dam. It was an adrenalin rush, that year they were all Class 5 and Class 6 rapids. Class 6 rapids are rare and I tell you, I had my legs burrowed in so far under the platoon of the raft, I wasn’t going anyway except down the river. At one point I was the only one on the raft. It was sick! Those days are over for me, but what a great adventure. Now I can live vicariously through others. 🙂

      • Nathan Menkveld

        21 March 2012 at 7:36 PM

        Well I have been on the both of those rivers in the springtime and yes they are AMAZING! I went down both in a small raft with only my dad and the guide in it with me. What a rush! Would you recommend going down in the fall when the dam opens? I have been considering it since my dad took me down their in high school for my father-son excursion.

      • LA Edwards

        21 March 2012 at 9:42 PM

        The best time to raft down the Gauley is during Gauley season right after the dam opens. It is a huge party festival. You have to sign up early as they can only have so many people on the river at a time?? At least when I did it that was the case and they will only take experienced rafters. I would recommend it if you want a serious rush and as long as your dad can handle it. I don’t know his health situation, but if he is fit and can raft. It is a great time.

      • Nathan Menkveld

        21 March 2012 at 9:45 PM

        Alright, well I will certainly have to work on making that trip a reality then. Thanks!


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