When the winter rains hit Chile there are a ton of rivers to kayak that are dry in the summer months…One of these is the Huichahue
Ben May Rio Huichahue
Located in the 9th region of the Araucania, the river flows out of the Cordillera Melo just west of the Llaima Volcano. It is a relatively low elevation drainage and only runnable after extensive rainfall so most likely to have juice from June to September.
Huichahue, pronounced Wee-Chaw-Wee, is a Mapuche word meaning Pull of the river´s current
The river is a 1.5 hour drive from Pucon via good roads near the town of Cunco. To reach the takeout from Pucon follow the road to villarrica then turn north on the recently paved Ruta Inter Lagos for 12 KM to Pedregoso. After crossing the bridge continue 18 km north on gravel road and at T instersection go left on paved road for 8 KM to Los Laureles. Turn right and pass through town and on other side take first paved road to the right towards Cunco. 1.2 KM after reaching an intersection turn left at sign that says Faja 6000. Go 5.2 km to the swinging bridge Puente Huichahue
The river is continuous whitewater from start to finish with not a hint of flatwater,. There are no portages and only one spot where Ben May and myself had to get out of our boats to find a line on our June 1, 2012 first descent. At the put in we had an estimated 400 CFS and by the end of the run the river had doubled in flow to around 800 CFS mostly from the additional tributary Rio Calbuco. The river is remarkably free of wood. Basically class 3+ with perhaps one class 4 rapid.
This article was cross posted from http://riversofchile.com/ an excellent resource for more information regarding the rivers in Chile.
Owner Ben May contemplating different lines for the group from the first bridge of bridge to bridge
Relaxing around a evening camp fire in the Futa Leufu valley
Fran enjoying a afternoon run down Casa de Piedra
Dave finishing the run out of Casa de Piedra
Ben dropping into Casa de Piedra
Another amazing peak in the Futa Leufu valley
Owner Ben May practising his left blunts on the Pistola wave
Ben and Fran half way down the fist rapid of bridge to bridge
Photos from a recent kayak surfing trip to the coast between conception and constitution.