Saturday, November 9, 2013

Starting to head South

So after a rest day in the cool rain on Thursday, Tom said he and Todd were going to paddle a couple of rivers on Friday since all the rivers were now high but dropping slowly. Partly cloudy and temperature in the low 70’s. They got a driver and we headed off to the Ojo Frio river which is a tributary way upstream of the Micos. It’s a small deep river with lots of 4 ‘ travertine drops. The river really has a high gradient. But it is narrow and deep at this high level. It sort of reminded me of a cross between the Chauga River in SC and the Little Sandy River in WV.

Tom led most of the way and there were a few trees blocking the way in a few places. We got to a 12’ drop that I messed up and got stuck in the small hole at it’s base. I had a very short swim into a recirculating eddy but other than my pride, no problems. We were within a 1/4 mile to the take-out when I got stock in another hole. This time I was about to get out when Todd dropped down on me. The good news was that we both were out of the small hydraulic. The bad news was I hit another rock and flipped over. Knowing that I was still next to Todd I used his bow to roll up but dropped my paddle. It stuck on a rock while I headed down the next drop paddleless and did a back ender landing on the travertine with my face.

Lots of blood and my left lens was missing from my sunglasses. Must have scratched my face but no serious injury. Since I can’t see out of my left eye anyway, missing the lens was no problem. But I did not have my paddle, so Todd walked up the bank where he saw it stick but by then it was floating down the drops. I yelled to Tom, who had just got out of his kayak to look for the paddle, to get back in his boat because it was floating right past him. In his haste he didn’t get his spray skirt on and it popped off in the next small drop and he ended up filling with water and swimming to shore. But he didn’t get the paddle.


This is why I carry a 3 piece breakdown paddle in my kayak. I got it out and we finished the last few rapids without seeing my lost paddle, At the takeout I offered a local youth 300 pesos if he or his friends could find it. Tom will be back to this river with his Mexican paddling trip in a few days. So who knows I might get it back.

On the way back to camp you pass the put-in for the Rio Micos. Tom & Todd unloaded their kayaks and I drove back to camp so Peggy could clean up my wounds and put some Neosporin on them to prevent infection. They both finished their run and I shuttled them back for yet another run. I took another rest.

Saturday morning at 7 AM we left for the Emerald Coast. We took the back roads through El Higo to avoid going into Tampico. The roads had a lot of water damage from a hurricane that passed by. There were some very short construction delays but we got to Neptuno Campground by 3 PM. It was only 250 miles. but you don’t make good time on these bumpy roads. Light drizzle a few times during the day, but it was cool and heavily overcast so we might not stay here on Sunday. Traffic through Vera Cruz to Catemaco might be lighter on a Sunday, making for an easier 200 mile drive..


  1. Sounds like more adventure than I would like to encounter! Be safe. Looking forward to hearing more of your adventures. Tobey & I are flying down this year and renting an apartment in Tulum for a month (Jan., 11 to Feb. 8) so may take the bus up to Xpu-Ha and see you on the beach there!
    Sue & Tobey

  2. Sounds like a good day till you smacked your face and lost the paddle. Maybe a face mask for next time. Have a good trip.

  3. OH MY GOD!! I'm glad you are ok! Looks painful. Be careful. Miss you both!! Love ya, Pam

  4. John, your boo-boo looks nasty! Hope it's healed OK. Glad you've reached your destination, safe & sound....hope the rains let up! Have a Happy Mexican Thanksgiving.......Pat & Al


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