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Río Mejocote-middle, Honduras (area: west; click here for the Honduras table of rivers)

river photo

Class: IV+; Ave. Gradient: 10 m/km; Portages: none; Length: 12km; Time: 3:30

Season: June to November; rafts? no; Highlights: quality rapids, easy shuttle; Crux move: canyon w/ tricky scouting

Water Quality: ok; Water Temperature: warm

PI: bridge above Gracias (elev: 730m); TO: bridge below Gracias

Description: (click here for general notes about my descriptions)

The Mejocote offers some of the finest paddling in the Santa Rosa-Gracias area among plenty of competition. It needs fairly recent rains to be good, but is a pretty good performer during the rainy season. The middle run has a remote feel to it despite circling the large town of Gracias. In medium to high water, the flow increases substantially from start to finish.

The run starts with a nice 30+ minutes of III- warmup, then enters a long canyon with many gorge sections, up to 2 hours. The IV to IV+ rapids formed by large boulders are continous. I scouted 4 times in there. One thing I found more than on other rivers was that several times I would have liked a vantage point from the other side of the river, but that my natural stopping point put me on the other side and too far downstream to make that feasible; I suggest keeping that in mind and perhaps splitting up your scouting parties. The last hour consists of easier III to IV- rapids with nice cliff scenery.

The rock is generally sedimentary, mostly sandstone.

Flash Flood Danger: normal.

Descent History: The first descent I know about was George Pratsinak's run in 2004.

Flow Notes: There are no functioning gauges in this drainage. You may get a hint of flows using the SFO gauge in the parallel Ulua drainage. But first-hand observation on the area bridges will be necessary to take your pick of the area's whitewater offerings. My impressions are from an August '08 run with 450/1300 cfs at PI/TO. It could be run up to much higher levels potentially.

Shuttle Notes: The PI is about 6km south of Gracias on the road to La Esperanza. Vans going in that direction leave, when they get full, from the south end of Gracias. The TO is ~6km north of Gracias on the way to Santa Rosa. There are frequent buses back to Gracias if you don't have a car.

Accommodations: Gracias has a number of hotels.

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Celaque National Park; wonderful hot springs just south of Gracias (signed, off the main road).

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