Down Juramento River

‘Marcel, it’s raining through the roof!’
‘Do you really think we’re going to be able to go rafting today?’

Those were our early-morning talks. We were next to Cabra Corral Dam, a violent storm had hit us during the night, but things were starting to settle down over breakfast.
Cabra Corral, Salta, Argentina

I had contacted Salta Rafting some months back, they seemed a very friendly bunch, and they were very receptive and understanding to all the changes that I had to make… that I couldn’t disappoint them.

So, as we had no reception and even our B&B hosts couldn’t make a call (echoes of the storm, obviously), we started driving. We should have been on time, but the road became more and more challenging. Why? Because it was full of rocks – which we weren’t allowed to remove (some men from an official truck were gathering them) –, so we slalomed.
Echoes of the storm
The scenery was fascinating. It all seemed so remote… and at one point, when we turned onto the dirt road, wilderness took over completely and, surprisingly, Juramento River was clear.

‘…contrary to what you said, my love!’ I giggled.

We were welcomed in a very friendly manner. The rafting base looked lovely! We filled in papers, took our gear, went through the training – all under a bright summery light.

The starting point – and moment – was near. Preto would be our guide – a very polite and charming man. A wonderful family from Bolivia would be our teammates. Paola and Marco were travelling through Argentina with Nicole, Santi, and Andresito – who was the youngest person in our boat. In Romanian, we would call him mezin.
I had a feeling that we would get along just great.
In fact, our river adventure started peacefully – with birds and flat water (which reminded me of the Danube Delta). Indeed, under the scorching sun, the first few hundred meters paddled were whitewater… while the first rapid ‘La Isla’ marked the clear border with the blackwater – which accompanied us till the end.
‘Casi casi’ our photographer laughed it off, when our team barely recovered after the first bump.
© Salta Rafting; Juramento River Rafting, Salta, Argentina

© Salta Rafting; Juramento River Rafting, Salta, Argentina
Ha ha… a new experience happily embraced, surrounded by the beauty that – framed by the high cliffs – could only be discovered from water. Aaah, the Andean North-West…    
© Salta Rafting; Juramento River Rafting, Salta, Argentina
We went on, saw 6 condors flying high above us and tried to imagine how they’d perceive us and our raft down in the river bed. ‘Casa de Condor’ ­– the last rapid (there are 10 altogether) of the descent does have a point.
Other highlights are the dinosaur footprints that you can see along the way.
Or maybe even the moments when you make changes inside the boat and show the guys that girls can paddle and be in sync, too! ;-)
© Salta Rafting; Juramento River Rafting, Salta, Argentina

© Salta Rafting; Juramento River Rafting, Salta, Argentina

© Salta Rafting; Juramento River Rafting, Salta, Argentina

A delicious lunch followed after the well-deserved showers. I even had my own vegetarian version of it!
And we got the chance to bond even more as a team. My heart starts smiling every time I realise that I am surrounded by warm and considerate people. People who share their food and stories with you. ♥
We still keep in touch and I hope to be able to meet them again.
Rio Juramento from above - Salta, Argentina; saying goodbye

In the end, it is not the grade of the river that counts (the rapids range between 2 and 3+ on Río Juramento), but what the river teaches you. The memories you take with you. The nature that wows you. The thrills that you experience.
Or the courage of a little boy who starts paddling again at the end of the route, enjoying the last drops of water on his skin.

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© Olivia-Petra Coman, 2019 | Photographer: © Marcel Bancila. Powered by Blogger.