By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
The white-water outfitter Eric Hertz spent a lifetime searching for the perfect river. In 1990, he finally found it, in Patagonia. Intrepid kayakers who had ventured into southern Chile the previous year said that the Futaleufú River could not be rafted. But Hertz and his partner, the Chilean white-water expert Roberto Currie, made an expeditionary first descent in 1991 and figured out how to safely navigate what today is one of the most intensive stretches of commercially rafted white-water rapids in the world. They began buying the shoreline, including the river's most desirable campsites and hiking spots, and have turned the Fu into an outstanding adventure destination for rafters and kayakers.
By Barclay Satterfield
We all put a drop of water on the back of our necks, for luck. Beth, one of the river guides, shouted “Remen a delante!” (Spanish for “paddle forward”), and we launched our raft into the rapids of the wild and phosphorescent green waters of Chile's Futaleufu (also called the Fu).
I had traveled from Smyrna, Delaware, last spring to spend seven days with five classmates hiking, rock climbing, riding horses, and, of course, white-water rafting, all before the spectacular backdrop of the Andean rainforest. Accompanying us once we arrived were Suj ey and Katia, two girls from the nearby town of Futaleufu, Chile. It was one of the most incredible trips of my life. And certainly the most disturbing.
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