Talking about rivers and adventures is talking about…rafting! The fast-paced descent of the white waters of the rivers. Not in any way, of course, because we need, in the first place. a raft, which is a pneumatic raft, oars, personal equipment (helmet, life jacket, neoprene suit, slippers) and gains of strong emotions crossing the landscape. The boat is carried by a group of between four and eight people, sitting on the edge and held by the feet. This is how they dodge rocks, waves, unevenness… in a frantic fight in the middle of nature that is very fun. There are also smaller boats, for lonely souls or couples: the canoe-raft.
If we prefer a more direct contact with the water, we have the hydrospeed. It is practiced with a polyurethane board in which we have to lie down, holding on to it with our hands, as if we were on a bodyboard. In addition to a helmet, vest and wetsuit, fins are worn instead of oars. Bad seat asses opt for sup paddle, looking for balance standing on the board. For quieter adventures, although they are also used in fast descents, the best are kayaks and canoes.
On the other hand, there are activities for the brave linked to the rivers without having to embark, such as canyoning, the descent of the river canyons, between waterfalls and rocks, with stretches to swim. In this case, the river does not have to be especially mighty, the walls count more (there are good places in the Cerves, Xallas or Verdugo, for example). In the case of bungee jumping, the free fall from a bridge hanging from an elastic by the feet, the important thing is the height of the bridge and the landscape (as in Freiras, Ponte de Sinde or Os Peares, for example).
But, in addition to the desire for action, what we need to fully enjoy the experience is a river with guaranteed water and a variety of accidents to avoid: rapids, waterfalls, rocks… And, for that, we must look for the most suitable for rivers.
In Galicia, the most adventurous rivers are the Ulla, the Miño and the Sil. The Deza, the Lérez and the Tambre are also rivers, but they depend on the rains to reach a consistent flow, so they are not always practicable.
The Ulla rises in Olveda, in Antas de Ulla, and flows into the Arousa estuary. The best section for the adventure is towards the end, at the height of Padrón, in the area of Sinte and Herbón, covering about 7 km. This descent, which can be done throughout the year because the river carries plenty of water, is very suitable for beginners, with lots of waves, rapids, but not excessive risks, in an area where we can see some lampreys or salmon.
The Deza is a small tributary of the Ulla. It starts in the Testeiro mountains, in Antas, and flows into Ulla. The best section lasts about 8 km, in the municipalities of Vila de Cruces and Silleda. Its conditions, with a lot of small rocks and narrow zones, make it suitable for experienced people, of advanced level. It can be said that this is the strongest river, but it is better to avoid the summer, in order to have enough water.
The Lérez river is also small. It starts on the San Bieito mountain, in the municipality of Forcarei, and flows into the Pontevedra estuary. In the municipality of Cotobade there is a good section to enjoy rafting, of medium difficulty. Of course, if it has rained before, better. The ideal season is between December and March.
In Sobrado, the Tambre river is born, which flows into the Muros e Noia estuary. The most famous section for adventure falls near Santiago, in the Val do Dubra area. It is a very crowded descent of low difficulty. And, as we need water, it is better to go in winter.
The most famous tributary of the Miño is the Sil, which has an even larger flow. It rises in the Orniz rock, in the province of León, and joins the Miño at Os Peares, in the Ribeira Sacra, shaping the Sil Canyons. At its entry into Galicia, in O Barco de Valdeorras area, there is a section of about 10 km perfect for rafting with a medium-low difficulty level.
And finally, the patriarch of all the Galician rivers: the Miño. It starts in O Pedregal de Irimia, en Meira and crosses diagonally until it reaches the sea between A Guarda and Caminha, since we share part of the route with Portugal. The ideal area to put the helmet is Arbo, where the A Frieira reservoir ensures a good flow. By the way, that is another zone of lampreys, perhaps they are also adventurers… Towards the north there is a section, near Lugo, that is quieter. And, if we want strong emotions in the air, without getting wet if everything goes well, we can even go bungee jumping from the International Bridge. Courage, brave ones!