NRS: Lacey’s Choice: Canyons or Cartels


DSCN2608 (3)On a trip during Mexico’s monsoon season a flash flood threatens to sweep NRS Ambassador, Lacey Anderson, and her companion down the river. Faced with the option to run a flooded IV+ canyon or hunker down within reach of a Mexican pot farm, Lacey outweighs the potential risk of each option.

I rolled over to an empty sleeping bag. Neil was gone. The early morning light broke through the tent’s zipper as he ducked back in for a few more moments of shut-eye. “Have you checked the boats? Did the water come up?” I mumbled. “Yep, about a foot, I pulled the boats up,” he said. It was not unusual for the Rio Mulatos in northern Mexico to quickly respond to rain, but I wasn’t overly concerned because it had only drizzled throughout the night. We snuggled back into our sleeping bags and attempted to doze off.

Self-consciously I must have been more worried than I realized. My pestering brain wouldn’t allow for a relaxing, pre-dawn, pre-movement doze. “Lacey, don’t be an idiot and go back to sleep,” chimed my common sense. “Check the river, it may still be rising.” I nudged Neil and insisted he unzip his side of the tent so I could check the river. Our boats were nowhere to be seen. I unzipped my side of the tent and the words “Holy! Shit!” streamed uncontrollably out. The river had risen nearly three more feet and flowed only four feet from the side of the tent. If it rose another four inches, we would be underwater.

The river had risen on my side as well, filling a large backwater area we hadn’t noticed the night before. Last night we had set-up camp on a beach; now we perched on a rapidly disappearing island. I stood on this little patch of sand, sized up our situation, and came to the realization that we were in serious danger. I started yelling, “EMERGENCY!” as if someone other than Neil or I stood there. It was only us on this river expedition, no one was going to save our butts. We were on our own.

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