Gerd in Galicia and Portugal
After having received a call from some friends about good water levels in Galicia and Portugal, we decided to pack and drive overnight to hopefully paddle on Monday. We left from Sort at 1am and drove over 1.300 km with a couple police controls and a little fine.
After a long drive we finally arrived in Galicia and headed to Caldes de Reis to run the slide on the río Umia. It's a really nice place and great park & hike. We ran the slide a few times and exhausted from the drive and the walking up we headed to Emilio's place in Tomiño. We spent the night there and drove to Castro Laboreiro the next morning.
After hours of driving, calls and getting lost in Northern Portugal we finally found the take out and set shuttle. We met up with some more friends and ran the day 1 section. We had good water level and sunshine mixed with strong rain and hail. After some great rapids and a couple portages we made it to the take out and went to set camp under a nice shed COBERT.
It rained so much during the night and morning the river had risen from 1.15 m to 3.70 m on the put in scale. That was a "monster", so we decided to look for an alternative to paddle that day. We finally found the Mouro, another great one and on flood as well, but we managed to paddle an easier read and run section with great white water. We finished off the day with a low water park and hike 12 m waterfall and an awesome dinner at Joao's place with all our Portuguese friends.
On the next morning we drove to the Castro Laboreiro again to paddle the last part of the day 2 section (waterfalls), hoping the water had dropped enough from the previous day. When we arrived to the takeout and started to walk up, the water level looked okay, even low, however after 40 minutes walking the waterfalls were actually quite high.
There were three waterfalls followed by a sick and crazy waterfall considered portage, a few big siphons and another big nasty slide. The third waterfall had a really tricky entrance and all the water was pushing you to the right agains the wall and even behind the curtain into the cave. Any problems or swims here could mean boats down the portage, etc.
We finally set some safety at the bottom of the third one and ran the waterfalls. We had some good lines and great fun. That was a long and exhausting day and after a nice lunch we drove to the Cavado, another great classic of Portugal. When we got there, the river was super low, however we had done the drive and the next day was going to be our final day of this trip. We slept by the take out and ran the river the next morning.
After a couple kilometres of low water boulder garden, you finally get the granite paradise with slide after slide under great sunshine. We had a great time in the water and after we had some lunch we started the drive back home… 13 more hours! We made it home at 5 am, and we were up at 9 am as we had a clinic for that weekend, but that's another story!
Overall we had an awesome five days of paddling in Galicia and Portugal enjoying some of the best runs in Spain and having great fun. Ready for the next one as the Pyrenees are going off!
Thanks you everyone who made this trip possible; taking photos, setting safety, driving, etc.
Photos: Aniol Serrasolses, Aleix Salvat and Pinxo.