Party : Fernando y yo.
After an amazing experience in Ciudad Esmeralda and sneaking a canyon and hot spring in La Fortuna, we again met up with Scott. With little effort we were talked into visiting a new route he’d established with the Toros Canyoning Team called Jabonosa. It used the same starting point as the well known Gata Media and we were even thinking to run both routes in the same day!
We woke to a rainy morning. I put my wetsuit on in the car to keep my clothes dry and after Fernando was ready, we crossed the rickety bridge and began the march of death along a ridiculous mud road. It was horrible; in places reached our calves! I found it ammusing that at every small stream crossing, Fernando would try and wash the mud from his legs… Ha! It was futile!
Finally we reached the river. The stream was clear and the rocks covered in a sort of orange slime that gave the route it’s name : Jabonosa. Translated something like soapy. It sure was slippery!
The route was more of a creek walk with three waterfalls to negotiate. For me what was special about the trip was the contrast of the orange rock, green foliage and white water.
The first waterfall had a set of strangely placed bolts CR. We used them to approach the lip of the falls about 10m downstream, and then transitioned to a tree to rap down beside the water.
The second waterfall was higher and we dropped down through fairly heavy flow. As we rounded the corner, the overhang Scott had mentioned appeared. It definitely didn’t stay dry in the rain.
Passing a nice waterfall entering from the side CR, we continued down to the final waterfall.
Creek walking, with a slide or two then followed to the obvious swing bridge across the river. It was too late now to run Gata Media, so we took the road back to the car. We were happy someone had put some time into creating wooden stepping stones.
We talked about finding a better spot to camp, but lack of fuel was a concern… After it got dark, Fernando suddenly wanted to go searching… I didn’t cooperate and we ended up spending the night in the car. It wasn’t very comfortable.
In the morning it was still raining. By this point, everything was getting wet. Again we got as much as we could done before leaving the car, and if I did need to leave the car, I did so in my underwear to try and keep my clothes as dry as possible.
We retraced our steps from the day before, again thankful for the work someone had put into making our passage easier.
After dropping the first waterfall, we arrived at the picturesque Gemini Falls. (I think you can cross the swing bridge and continue by trail to the bottom… Or there are the access points through the angry Dutch guys property. He’s trying to buy out the chicken farm next to Gata Fiera now. A canyoning team tried to exit through his property once after something wasn’t going so well. He turned them around!).
As we continued downstream, the water seemed to become more and more blue. For the most part the river was staying very open, without any constrictions and abundant escapes – except for the Dutch guy 😉
I’m not sure what it is about the narrowness of a cañón, but it’s certainly important to me. Looking down what I think was the last pitch, I was happy to see the celestial waters dissaperaing into rock walls. It was definitely my favourite section.
The canyon quickly opened and it wasn’t long before we stumbled across the exit ladder CL. The ladder and accompanying hand cable cars are actually for workers from the hydroelectric plant but they provide a convenient exit.
I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but once we hit the road a police car quickly showed up… Maybe there were cameras afterall?
It was a short walk back to the car. We relocated to camp beside Río Seco… We’d tackle that route tomorrow.