Rio Ojo Frio
|Stretch:||Near El Aguacate to Damian Carmona|
|Difficulty:||Class III to IV-|
|Put-in:||Small bridge on dirt road in the middle of sugar cane field|
|Take-out:||Bridge in the town Damian Carmona|
|Featured in Video Twenty-Four|
The Ojo Frio was the biggest disappointment of our trip to Mexico. There was limited amount of beta online or in the guidebook. Somewhere we found mention of 100 3-4 foot drops along with a couple of larger rapids. This coupled with the gradient of 110 ft/mile made this run seem like an awesome option. After an easy drive (30 minutes to take-out) from the Agua Azul Ranch we found take-out and began to be baffled. At this point we had run the Santa Maria, Tampaon, Salto and Micos sections of river and all of them were among the most beautiful places we had ever seen. At take-out for the Ojo Frio you come to the crashing reality, no place is paradise and that Mexico isn't perfect whitewater all the time. The river runs through Sugar cane fields and ends in the middle of the small town of Damian Carmona. The water is vastly dirtier that that of the aforementioned river. To this point I had been paranoid about ingesting water on the previous runs, after the Ojo Frio I was significantly less worried about those waters. The Ojo Frio's water is a mucky brownish (at least it was on our day), stank, was full of downed trees (one of which required a portage), had copious amounts of garbage floating in it, and is also reportedly full of bad snakes and even crocodiles. Although we didn't see any snakes or crocs (we did see a bumpy thing surface on the Tampaon to which Chezo declared "that was no fish." This was before we read online that they have some crocodiles down here). We did however hear rustling in the shoreline bush followed by a flop into the water, that was enough to encourage not swimming.
Now perhaps some people will think I am being unfair to the Ojo Frio. I have seen another websites photos and the water was emerald green. Furthermore those people like the feeling of being encapsulated among the trees. The viewed it as jungle growing all around. We however interpreted it as no more than an irrigation ditch. When the guide book says the nice shallow canyon, it means a 20 foot ditch with muddy banks line by agriculture fields. So with all the negative out of the way. I know other members of the group felt like I did, if it weren't for the utter lack of scenery and the gross water, the rapids would have been enough to make a nice day. There were over 100 small ledges and 2 or 3 larger rapids. I thought they were fun, but just not fun enough to overshadow the other points I have mentioned.
Some of the ledge holes do have teeth to them. Please stay away from ledges that are smiling at you as you paddle up to them, the holes at the base are bad pockets. We had an IK get rejected from a boof and land in one. She was underwater, stuck in limbo unable to swim out, down or even into the pour over to get herself out. We literally didn't see here for 20-30 seconds. As I was running up the shore with rope in hand, the same thing played out with our next IK. This IK actually allowed the first swimmer to surface long enough to catch the rope and be pulled out. It was a scary situation and I would hate to think of this happening to a group without ropes handy.
For some more great photos, check this website out: Sierra Rios
Straight Double Ledge (IV-). An obviously larger horizon line is a a 4 foot drop into an 8 foot drop. The left side looks like a sneak but runs into sticks that would hurt. The far right side is a tricky double drop that also has strainer potential. The best and easiest line is to be a couple feet right of the island and drop off the ledge straight and clear.
Portage. A tree is down somewhere in here. Easy to spot and no risk or accidently running it. We portaged on the left, then onto the tree walking to the other bank where we got in. after we had a few people in, we were able to just portage left and pull people over the last tree from downstream.
- Curve Double Drop (IV). You won't miss this horizon line. On a 90 curve the river drops some 12 feet. The top tier has a nose boof on the right and a ledge on the left, either appeared to go. This lands into a small pool before the next 4 foot boof over a sticky hole. The problem is that if someone has problems in the first ledge, there is little people below can do to the shear walls at the rapid.
There was some garbage in the river... over all kinda gross.
Take-out: From the Micos, head the Valles. Instead of turning right towards the Salto section, continue straight 2-3 miles. You will come to a small town, at the "Crucitas" sign cross the rail road tracks. Turn right immediately and continue back the direction you came for a few hundred yards until it bends left. Follow this left and go up and over the hill the few miles to Damian Carmona. When you enter Damian Carmona just keep heading downhill. You cross a nice paved road at which time your paved road turns to dirt, continue on the dirt it bends right and shortly leads to the bridge. We just kept asking for Damian Carmona to get to town, then asked for directions to the bridge and everyone pointed us along.
Put-in: From the take out (opposite side of the river than the town) head up the dirt road. From the town of Guamuchil (also spelled Huamachil) continue 0.8 miles and turn right on a fairly major dirt road going into the sugar cane fields. Follow this road the 0.6 miles to the put-in bridge.
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