While at the Rio Claro, New River Academy takes some of its more advanced students down the upper section of the river called Veinte y dos Saltos. As the name implies, this run has a total of twenty-two waterfalls over about a three-kilometer section of the river. This makes for an extremely continuous, fun, and somewhat challenging waterfall paradise. In order to get to this run, you have to drive up river on a somewhat sketchy road until you can’t drive anymore, then you get out and walk for about twenty minutes through streams, up mountains, and down steep slopes, finally you are at the put in. This may sound like a time of relief, but the put in is one of the most challenging parts of the run; you have to slide down rocks for about eight feet until you free fall for about twelve feet and land a couple yards above a ten foot waterfall that you want to take your time to line up before you run. Once you are safely in you can run that drop and paddle for about one hundred yards before you reach the second biggest rapid of the day. This is a super-clean twenty-five foot waterfall that is insanely fun to run. A couple hundred more yards after that is the most rapid in the entire world. It consists of about a fifteen-foot slide that kicks up on the left wall and then falls about twelve feet. The kicker on the left wall allows you to get enormous boofs then land softly in the soft, aerated water. Watching people run this rapid is somewhat funny as some people just miss the boof entirely (I’ve been guilty of this before) and others try poses in the air and these always provide a good laugh. After this is a fun fifteen-foot boof and then the thirty footer. The thirty footer is the biggest drop on the run, one of the hardest, and definitely the scariest. To run this you wait in a big pool until you hear Lorenzo’s whistle from the bottom, then you run the five-entrance drop and quickly paddle into the left-hand eddy where you see Tino sitting there (only one student this year has missed the eddy, take a guess who). Once you are in the eddy, Tino will try to lighten the mood by saying, “Welcome to Veinte y dos Saltos, your flight today will be thirty feet and your line will be middle left on top of that little curler.” After that there’s only one thing to do, paddle into the abyss. As you fall off the lip you really appreciate that you are where you are (or not for some people) since you see a very hard wall a few feet to your right and some very hard rocks a few feet to your left. You tuck, plug, roll, and then fist bump and scream your head off. After this the run is almost over. There’s a super technical canyon rapid, a super technical double-drop (where somebody’s boat may or may not have gone over while he or she was taking pictures), and an easy eight-foot boof over a huge hole that you don’t want to be in. Then the canyon ends and you paddle through some class II rapids until you reach the take out. When you get there you are coming down from an adrenaline high and amazed at the perfect run you just did. The Veinte y dos Saltos is the most amazing run I have ever done and one of the most photogenic places in the entire world, and I am really happy that I have been lucky enough to experience it.
To see more of Jason’s photography, click here: Jason Terry’s Blog