Last month I spent an amazing five weeks in Mexico, my favorite Latin American country. Most of my time was spent in a small village called Jalcomulco situated in the state of Veracruz on the Antigua river Not only is the town located in an enchanting place, right on the river, but the community is very friendly and welcoming. It’s like a second home to me where I get to catch up with good friends, eat delicious authentic Mexican food, enjoy the sun, the slower pace of life and paddle some great whitewater.
The first few weeks of the trip I was joined by Chris Emerick, the renowned videographer who filmed and edited Girls at Play, to film and edit my new video, Whitewater Kayaking Basics for Women. Some very talented female paddling friends including Tiffany Manchester, Cindy Jamieson, Ruth Gordon and Karen Mann made the trip down to film and escape the winter blahs. Jenning Steger of SLP, a gifted photographer, joined the trip, and Joleen Thomas, the manager of Boatwerks, ventured down as well. We based ourselves out of Casa Esprit, a base in Jalcomulco for Esprit Rafting’s WILD program. Jim and Erin Coffey, the owners of Esprit, are generous friends who helped us out a lot by letting us use the house and use their vehicles for shuttle. Jim, a well known leader in the whitewater industy, even volunteered to run shuttle and cook for us on several occasions! I was very happy to have Erin Coffey join the film crew because she is a brilliant paddler who has a lot to offer female kayakers. Of course, there were our two favorite paddling guys/support crew, Andrew Holcombe and Pete Darrah. I had a great time with everyone and couldn’t have asked for a better film and support crew.
We had a great time running the beautiful rivers around Jalcomulco, hiking to the natural swimming hole up the canyon, hanging with friends and visiting the local juice ladies every morning for fresh juice, fruit and yogurt! It doesn’t sound like work, but Chris and I were on a deadline for the video so we did have to spend a lot of time in the editing ‘cave’ while everyone else got to hang out on the roof in the hammocks under the palapa.
One of my favorite things about Whitewater Kayaking Basics for Women is that we were able to incorporate the pulse of Mexico into the video. Not only through the rivers that we filmed on, but also through the music of my friend Aldo Garcia. Aldo is an old friend and his band, los Brujos, are also good friends. I actually used to raft guide with a few of them when I lived in Jalcomulco some years back. Aldo plays the Jembe, the Didgeridoo, the guitar and other cool instruments. His music is upbeat and fun. Look for shots of the band playing in the intro!
My other favorite thing about the new video besides the music, the beautiful scenery and the kayak instruction, is the bonus feature 25 minute yoga segment that I put together. We had a good time filming the yoga on Aldo and Nuala’s deck in our new Lululemon Athletica yoga clothes. The yoga segment will be under Special Features so be sure to check it out if you’re feeling sore and want to relax!
After the filming and editing was done, I took a week off to travel around and visit friends in and near Mexico City. We went to a really cool town called Taxco which is famous for it’s silver shops. If you love silver jewelry you should take a trip to Taxco at least once in your life. You can pick up some beautiful pieces at really reasonable prices.
Saving the best for last, my women’s paddling trip marked my last week in Mexico. I’m so glad that Cheryl, Anne, Christina, Stephanie and Annie followed their passion for paddling down to Mexico! They were all awesome ladies and paddlers who made the trip a lot of fun for me. Thanks ladies! Here is what a few of them had to say about the trip:
“The rivers were beautiful, fun and challenging. Thanks for encouraging and helping us improve our kayaking skills!” -Stephanie, Louisville, KY
“I came away with a sense of achievement, pride, new friends and a smile that still is ear to ear 3 weeks later. Anna, Andrew, and Esprit Rafting have put together the perfect all women’s trip…I definitely will be returning next year!!”
– Cheryl, Burlington, VT