Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kali Ganga, another paddling trip......almost.


The boys, Myself, Andi, and Kanhan.

Last week, we had a bit of slow time at Aquaterra, so sitting around the campfire sharing a bit of rum we made a plan. Andi, Kanhan, and myself decided to go and check out the upper part of the Mandakini river.
We got our hands on a map of Uttarakhand and saw that a road ran up to the town of Kalimath. Figuring that this would be a good place to start, we hired a car and headed off.
Kalimath is a very small village, but we were able to secure a place to stay and somewhere to eat. On the drive up we had been able to get an idea of what the river was like and though it was low it would be runnable. After dinner and a couple of drinks we slept with eager anticipation of the run tomorrow.
The plan was to paddle 4.5kms on the Kali Ganga and then 15-20kms on the Mandakini river the first day. Then run the lower 20kms on the Mandakini river the second day. This was not to be. We had paddled a few smaller drops and had a portage when we saw three guys scrambling around on river left. They waved us over wanting to talk. Not really sure what was going on myself and Kanhan Singh went over. Very quickly we realized that these were DFO agents sent down by the Forest Ranger. They wanted to know where our permit was.
This river is listed on any map as a sanctuary or protected area. Apparently that has changed. They wanted us to hike half a km up to the road, we told them that we would meet them downstream where the river was next to the road. That settled, we headed off for the last 3kms of the Kali Ganga.
Lots of drops and a couple more portages ensued. A great run and would be even nicer with a foot or so more water in it.
We arrived downstream at a bridge to find a group of six waiting for us. Kanhan Singh and myself went up to chat to the fellows, which ended in Kanhan being hauled into the car and being driven off to Rudyaprayag. Myself and Andi quickly followed after loading the boats and gear. It took a while to sort out in town but that was the end of the trip and we were down 2000 rupees, which we slid to the head ranger in the parking lot. Of course it was a lot better than paying 10000. A money grab? Hmmm. Also check out the blog or to see some other good paddling places in Uttarakhand.

Our driver enjoying a cup of Chai.

The happening town of Kalimath.

Andi and Kanhan Singh hiking down to the river.

Andi styling through one of the drops.

Looking back upstream at one of the fun ones.
Andi dropping down in the sunshine.
A nice little double drop as Andi comes through the middle.
Kanhan Singh.
The boys in one of the little canyons.
Kanhan Singh on one of the last little rapids.

Chilling at the DFO office in Rudyaprayag.
The end of our paddling trip this time.

Photos by David Prothero.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Kali/Sarda River 2007

Enjoying the campfire on the Kali/Sarda River Expedition.

The Kali/Sarda River
On the morning of the 26th we meet our clients at the train station in Kathgodam. From here it would be a day and half of driving to get to the put in at Jauljibi. We had an overnight stop at Pithoragarh, during this time there where a few stops for chai, food and good views.
The Kali/Sarda river forms the border between India and Nepal. At our put in we organized our clients and gear for the trip. We would be spending the next 6 days on the river, running over 125kms downstream. On the 2nd day we pass the last town that we would see at Jhulaghat where we picked up a few supplies.
From then on the nearest road would be 4-6 hours walk away. We managed to get some pumpkins form the Chooka village to celebrate Halloween in style, complete with some glow stick poi spinning.
I had a boatload of boys from Chennai, which is located in south India. During the afternoon and evenings lots of games took place. From Frisbee, though one was given to the river gods, fastball, multiple games of charades and, of course, Cricket. Patrick declared himself bartender early on in the trip, so we had a working bartender and lots of campfires.
It was a memorable trip on the river. Loads of fun and had great weather the whole way down.
Enjoy the photos.

Playing life size chess at one of the breakfast stops.
Some nice views.
On the way to the river in the morning, the per usual chai stop.
Some local kids at one of the camps.
Mid way through the trip is the perfect shower.....
a little waterfall hidden away from the beach.

On the Nepal side is a temple of bells.
Eli charging the meat.

Truck and trailer through the waves.
Sunset at the Chooka village.
The boys working hard.

Celebrating Halloween on the banks of the Kali.

Kim Hartlin rowing in to check out the cool rock formations.
Pepper and Jody floating along.
Anvesh in one of the many rapids.
Photos by David Prothero
Whitewater shots by James McManus