Paddling Rio Palena, Chile ... it was Awesome
Hello Friends & Family –
Coming at you from Raul Balmalceda, a little peninsula town of 300 Pacific folk. Tyler and I rolled in late afternoon Thursday after a vigorous four days on the Rio Palena. We successfully paddled to the Pacific Ocean, for what it’s worth, and are happy to have beaten another long stretch of bad weather by a mere 12 hours.
In the week since my last message we’ve both – me last weekend, Tyler Thursday evening – dealt with some bug or food poisoning or overexposure illness that left us little more than quivering heaps on the bathroom floor. Check that off as a necessary travel experience, and say nothing more about it.
What’s been truly noteworthy was our epic paddle down the Palena, where we went four days without seeing another soul, save for a lone fisherman’s boat early Thursday morning. Tyler & I, both novice paddlers, made it through 30ish minor rapids in our packrafts. The only gear casualty was my strumstick, which is still in my possession, but remains so waterlogged that it gurgles when I pluck it.
These four days were, for me, the best of our trip. Having the chance to explore something new and challenging – to do it not for the stories but for the experience – was immensely satisfying. We would recommend this river to anyone, provided they have the equipment to navigate it safely. For fishing-minded folk, take heart – we have it on good authority that there are torso-sized salmon floating about in the Palena’s icy waters, begging for a sharp hook in the cheek.
Moving forward we are resting & recovering in Raul Balmalceda until Sunday morning, when we will take a 24-hour ferry to Puerto Aysen. We’ll explore around there for a day or two and then make our way to Coyahuique, which keeps popping up in conversation as a hub of outdoor opportunity. It’s our gateway to Cerro Castillo National Park, which will send us back into the backcountry late next week.
So, we’re still making our way south, one way or the other, doing things that inspire us to keep moving, keep exploring. We’re grateful for a comfortable place to rest up here, and hopefully be ready to get back outside after the ferry. Thinking of you all, sending you our love.
Reese & Tyler
Nacho y Tigre