Friday, August 13, 2010

Waterfall Riding on the Mae Sa

Two sections of the Mae Sa were first run in 2007 by Josh Sam and Will. Falling asleep to the sound of rain pouring onto the roof of our hotel in Chiang Mai we decided to hit it up the next day. Lu had to stay in the hotel and finish uni assignments so Josh, Tyler and I headed for Mae Sa. We arrived to find the river brown and charging. Stoked. As we floated down we passed a few guys waving at us and pointing downstream and saying 'nam tok' (waterfall), always a good sign.

First drop of the day (p. Josh Neilson)

Tyler in a mini gorge on the top section

Me on my favourite drop of the day (p. Tyler Fox)

Josh hitting a sick boof check out the bamboo huts overlooking the drop

Me after just managing to retrieve my paddle from a bamboo plant at the start of this drop (p. Tyler Fox)

Tyler on a cool slide

Josh styling it

Me on another cool slide (p. Josh Neilson)

Elephants by the river!!!

We weren't sure what we would find in the middle section so we decided to save it for the next day. We put in below the elephant camp at a slightly lower level all excited. What would be round the next corner? Would we be paddling a flat stretch? Would we be portaging through the cobra infested jungle?

Tyler on a mini slide in the new section

Lou on a crack rapid - the line was to boof past an undercut ledge, would be better with more water.

Tyler probing a rapid on the new section

The rock at the bottom makes this one not so runnable at this level.

Please don't play water in this area...

Josh leading the way

Tyler dropping in

Me on the lower Mae Sa pre getting kicked off the river (p. Lou Urwin)

I've never been asked to leave then escorted away from a river before but there is a first time for everything.

The new section turned out to be sweet. Cool drops, easy portages and I didn't see any snakes. Unfortunately when we started paddling the lower section we were stopped by a park ranger and told to go back up the river as we hadn't paid our entry fees for the park. Seeing as this wasn't possible he then escorted us out of the park and up the road, waited for us to run shuttle, then when we still wouldn't give him any money he recorded our number plate. Stink.

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