Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Incedible Khri - Meghalaya Part 1

It's Tuesday of week two. I am sat on the beach at the put in for the Kynshi. It is as beautiful as any beach I have been to. White sand only tarnished with specks of coal, a clue as to the major driver of the local economy. The turquoise water of the Wha Blei, the Kynishi's major tributary meanders past. Above the river seems to be endless jungle. Our 14 person group drove here the night before. The roads from Shillong were pretty questionable but the sumo's (jeeps) did a great job. With stops for food, shopping and tea (Sha dut) it took us about 12 hours.

Paddler: Jake Holland, Photo: Rowan James
Looking back; the last week has been phenomenal. After a 20 hour lay over in New Delhi, spent sleeping on the floor of the ticket office, Will Chick and I arrived in Shillong around lunch time on Tuesday. Two full days traveling left me feeling a bit drained but we were not going to miss an opportunity for an adventure. So when Zorba told us a group was coming through town, having driven to a dry river, we jumped at the chance to join them.

My bed for 14 of the 20 hours in Delhi
Views of Everest from the plane.

Getting loaded up just a few hours after arriving in the middle of Shillong. Photo: Rowan James
After buying some supplies Will and I joined, Beth, Riley, Jake, Rowan, Kenyan Mike & Canadian Mike. Beth and Jake sorted all the logistics for what was set to be the second descent of the Khri Bah (pronounced Cree Bar). The team on the first descent had had a bit of a hard time in the upper canyon so Beth & Jake managed to find a lower put on for us using google maps! Logistics are super easy when someone else is sorting them.

Paddler: Mike Bell, Photo: Rowan James
Setting up camp at the put on Kenyan Mike ran into a Water Buffalo and promptly ran away, saying "I know what African Buffalo are like". After reassuring him that they are basically cows with a different name we settled down, excited with the prospect of my first Indian river the next day.

Paddler: Jake Holland
The first day on the Khri was great! Proper jungle boating. Loads of great read and run, plus a few good drops thrown in for good measure. Some great moves in their for sure. We had lunch on an Island in the middle of the river. To the left was a 100 ft slide that looked run-able, but ended in two huge holes, to the right was a 25ft waterfall with a tight line. No one fancied the risk the slide offered. Riley showed the group the way down the waterfall with a sweet line boofing off the reconnect. After taking photos, portaging a big hole, setting safety and running the next rapid we were all pretty tired and ended up camping at an awesome camp spot within sight of our lunch site!

Paddler: Riley Best, Photo: Rowan James
The camp spot was truly awesome. After a bit of a portage to get there we were greeted with a natural Jacuzzi. After two sips of rum I felt drunk and the simple dinner of rice and lentils tasted great!

The first rapid of day 2. Paddler: Jake Holland
On the second day I was beginning to feel good in my boat. The day started with a great rapid right out of the camp site and more fun rapids followed. The river gradually mellowed off but still had a few fun class 3 rapids almost all the way to the end. We took out in a super cool village in Assam (north of Meghalaya). Magically the Sumo's turned up a few minuets after us. The road back to Shillong was not great and we had to get out and walk a few times but we stopped for some top notch curry on the way back!

Rowan James on the last big rapid of the Khri.
Back in Shillong we made plans to see the Wailers before heading to the Kopili. What a way to start the trip!

Massive thanks to Zorba and the Laloo family for all their help! Thanks to Rowan for the photos.