Minster Law trainee Rebecca Skirrow’s sporting hobby has seen her travel all over the country in search of the best rivers. However, late last year, her love of kayaking and penchant for adventure took her a little further afield than she was planning…
Rebecca and three of her friends, Tim, Amie and Mark, set off last November on a two-week trip to Mexico, where the plan was to spend the entire fortnight travelling around the states of San Luis Potosi and Veracruz. As the daughter of two avid kayakers and with more than 25 years’ paddling experience under her own wetsuit, Rebecca was more than up for the challenge. “Mexico is a really varied paddler friendly country,” she explains. “Yes, there is gnarl but there is also something for everyone.”
After arriving in Mexico City at 5am, the foursome had a gruelling 430km journey to Ciudad Valles ahead of them so spent most of their first day on a bus. However, after a well-needed night in a hotel, the group were on their way to their first adventure – Cascadas Micos. “There is no other way of describing Cascadas Micos than Disneyland for kayakers,” enthuses Rebecca. “Especially with the queues of Mexican adventure tourists waiting to jump off the falls! I can’t get across in words how beautiful this river is. The water is a tropical temperature, bright azure blue and crystal clear. What follows is a series of super-fun slides and drops that range from about eight to 25 feet in size.”
Having done lots of research before the trip, the group were also really keen to do the Tampaon – a classic Ciudad Valles rafting section. “The common theme to Mexican rivers is the astounding natural beauty,” continues Rebecca. “The Tampaon winds its way through the forested countryside before being funnelled through a gorge. Then there’s the spectacular natural land bridge spanning the entire river, which disappears underneath.”
Another day another river, the group negotiated a lift to El Salto. “The El Salto River is not as spectacular as the Micos but is definitely more varied and probably more fun,” explains Rebecca. “There is a mixture of bigger volume falls at the start but the rest is ideal for less able boaters. The travertine, a type of limestone that is deposited by mineral springs, forms little dams and it is always worth looking back upstream to see the fishbowl-like windows where the travertine has collapsed.”
While in Mexico, the group was also keen to run the Rio Santa Maria, a stunning river with a number of challenging rapids. “The Santa Maria take-out is easily the most beautiful I have ever seen,” says Rebecca. “The Cascada de Tamul joins from the left in the form of a 300-foot cascade of the Rio Gallinas into the main flow, and you take out at the base. Unfortunately what follows is one of the grimmest hike outs I have ever experienced. Zambezi-style ladders, very large spiders, a river crossing, lots of jungle… and all in the dark! Our Santa Maria epic lasted 18 hours all together including the 10km hike out in the jungle!”
Rebecca’s Mexican adventure saw her paddling approximately 200km, equating to around 15 days on the water! The group spent up to five hours paddling every day. You can read Rebecca’s full account of her trip to Mexico in PaddlerUK Magazine. Click here to download a copy.