Our journey back into Chile was for one reason: Futaleufu.
We’d heard about this small mountain town whose gems include Rio Futaleufu and a national preserve. It was the water that called us though. The Futa, as it’s affectionately referred y river runners, has world renowned kayaking and rafting. Miles of it. And its rapids are beefy class IV, V and even a couple V+s. Game on.
We met an adventurous couple from New Mexico at our campsite that recommended Expediciones Chile, as they’d been rafting with them the past couple days and were really pleased. We found the outfitter in town and come to realize it’s owned and run by kayaker and US Olympian, Chris Spelius. He’d fallen in love with the Futa years ago and a lovely Chilean woman.
Their river guides were quite the the cast of characters (as they ALWAYS are) that included an Argentinian from Trevalin, a Coloradan, Irishmen and Englishmen. And conversation in English was a huge bonus. We didn’t want anything to get lost in translation when it came to discussing the most extreme river we were about to run. However, the season was really winding down and we needed to have more people. We’d stop by in the morning to check in and, if needed, they’d try to recruit people off the streets.
Given that most of the restaurants and hostels were already closed for the season, we weren’t getting our hope up. We’d been down that road before. We ate dinner at Mama’s Kitchen, the only restaurant still open in town, that was literally in Mama’s house.
The next morning, a few of the guides found us at our campsite to let us know we were on for the days run as three guys called at midnight and would be coming from Esquel. They won’t run with less than four, not including the guide. It was happening.