Meet Salto, the loyal protector of the Pucón Kayak Hostel. Salto is appropriately named for why so many of us take the long journey to Chile. Saltos!Salto, resident and guard dog of Pucón Kayak Hostel
Chile is beautiful. Traveling to Radal Siete Tazas National Park in Curicó Province required months of preparation, a knowledgeable crew (H2O Dreams), and trustworthy gear. My 1st day in Chile was spent driving to Radal Siete Tazas National Park from Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago, picking up groceries, setting up camp, and recovering from jet lag. Being on an airline coach seat for ten hours did not lead to effective rest, so it was nice to recharge my batteries and prepare for a trip loaded with paddling.El Velo de Novia in Radal Siete Tazas National Park
Once arriving to Radal Siete Tazas National Park, we did a bit of sight-seeing at El Velo de Novia (see above). This spectacular waterfall led to our first impression of the Rio Claro, tall drops twisting through a beautiful gorge. It is frightening to think that one of Chile’s most classic waterfall runs was recently almost lost to us. A few years back, a massive earthquake shook this area, leading the Sieta Tazas section of river to dry up. Fortunately, the Rio Claro flows on stronger than ever and offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences for paddlers from all around the world.Hiking alongside the Rio Claro in Radal Siete Tazas National Park
Product Spotlight for Day 1: Astral Porter (MSRP $85)
Once at Radal Siete Tazas National Park, I was glad to have brought along a pair of comfortable and sturdy outdoor sneakers. Why? Radal Siete Tazas National Park is filled with hiking trails to spectacular sight-seeing destinations. None of the hiking trails are particularly difficult, unless you have a kayak on your shoulder, but the trails do feature abrasive rocks, sand, and tripping hazards. During a bit of downtime, I laced up my Astral Porters, grabbed a camera, and hiked alongside the Entre Saltos section of the Rio Claro. The scenery was magnificent (as you can see below) and the Astral Porter kept my feet comfortable throughout the hike.
The Astral Porter is comfortable (to me) because of its versatility and design. Is the Astral Porter a hiking shoe? It can be. I would not use these while carrying a fully-loaded backpack on a multi-day excursion, but for a simple day hike, I loved them! I can just throw them on with or without socks, bounce between boulders, splash in the water, and cover them in dirt. The Astral Porter is easy to clean, dries quickly, is made of super durable Cordura®, and does not get all stinky after a day of wearing without socks. The design is breathable enough to keep my feet from getting all sweaty, but with a balanced approach to keep my feet at a comfortable temperature. Not too hot, not too cold. The drainage holes kept the water out while the flush ports allowed an exit for pesky pebbles and sand. All things considered, I am glad to have packed a pair of Astral Porters.Hiking alongside the Rio Claro in the Astral Porter
Interested in a more thorough write-up about the Astral Porter? Check out the full review.
Photos and words by Kyle Thomas, Effort Inc.