|Stretch:||Tanchachin to some roadÖ donít know the name|
|Difficulty:||Class III to III+|
|Gradient:||15 fpm (max of 26 ft/mi)|
|Put-in:||Bridge just outside of Tanchachin|
|Take-out:||Beaches on left|
|Shuttle:||? miles, 2 hours|
This river was only made possible for us because of the owner of Ranch Agua Azul. As the shuttle is way too long (especially too long on dirt roads) there was no way our little scooter was going to be able to run shuttle for us. Grant was able to secure a driver for our car and for 500 pesos ($37) we didnít have to set nor run the 2 hour dirt road shuttle. Between 7 of us, we thought this was a fine price. We also ended up running down the river at the same time as the commercial kayak trip that was being run out of Agua Azul at that time, this was nice, gave us some time to get to know the people we were sharing a ranch with. It did however create a problem in that, our driver who had worked for the rafting companies apparently went to the rafting take-out while the group we were paddling along with from campís driver went to the take-out at Grantís friends ranch. When our driver didnít show up at the same place, their driver went looking for him. To make a long story short it took us a while t find either, when we did we loaded 13 boaters and gear onto/into Steveís truck and began to drive back to camp. Though it was a little uncomfortable, it was amazingly impressive that it worked at all.
We had a little on the high side of water. So although the rapids were not harder than class III there were enormous eddy lines and boils. This caused a few swims in the commercial group but all in all I think it was a fun and pretty run. When you get to the Puente De Dios and you see the river end in a wall, only to pop up 100 feet downriver again you will have to take a second to take it all in. Waterfall pounding down on the left and pools of crystal clear water spilling off the upstream and downstream sides of the bridge. It is a great place and a great way to end the day. After 2 miles or so of flat (but with current) water you get to take out.
Oh and one last thing, this is actually the Rio Santa Maria, but after the Rio Gallinas drops over the Cascada Tamul the river changes names to the Tampaon. Just so you know. That is why it is sometimes referred to as the fifth canyon of the Santa Maria. Also, the proper name for the it is Canyon Puente de Dios.
A special thanks to Diane Gaydos, Steve Schmitt and Heather Bowen for sharing their photos with me.
For some more great photos, check this website out: Sierra Rios
- Gorge (II+). After 2.5 miles of relatively flat water you get to the first class II rapids. Easy enough, but it signals the good rapids are soon to begin. Rapids are fairly continuous for the next 2.5 miles.
Zig-Zag (III-). A nice rapid with some strong eddy lines below.
Iceberg (III). Large waves lead to a rock on the left, it was easy to avoid in kayaks, in rafts I could see some flips off of it. There was a long fun run-out below.
Crazy Man 1 (III). At our flow this rapid combined with Crazy Man 2. It was some large boils and laterals which flipped both our IKs.
Shumaker (III-). Just downstream of the Crazymen rapids, a short left to right drop with boils and eddy lines to fight appears. It cause a swim in our group due to the eddy lines below.
Boiler (III+). ďGood to make coffee with,Ē (to quote Polo). Run center moving right to avoid huge undercut on the left below. The rock in the center is also undercut a bit. I think at some flows this is the portage for rafts that I have seen mentioned.
- Puente De Dios. The river goes under a travertine bridge and disappears completely. Walk over the bridge and put in on the other side. Great spot for lunch.
Take-out: I am going to have to defer to the GPS markings as I didnít drive in and I was in the back for the drive out.
Put-in: From Ciudad Valles, drive about 14 miles west on Highway70. Turn south (left) on a dirt road and follow for 12 miles. When you get to the town of Tanchchin there will be a fork, left 5 km to Cascada de Tamul and right to somewhere else. Go right, this leads shortly down to the bridge over the river. Cross it and put in on the far side. Leave room for the commercial full-sized busses that drop off commercial rafters.
View Rio Tampaon in a larger map
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