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The death-defying descent to the hot river of Matatlán

Matatlán is a small town located 20 kilometers east of downtown Guadalajara, perched on the brink of a deep canyon with nearly vertical walls.

pg8aThroughout Matatlán’s entire history—which goes back to pre-Hispanic times—its residents have known of the wonderful hot pools and hot river on the canyon floor.

Proof that people have often scaled these walls lies in numerous crosses erected at various points on the canyon wall. Old and rotting ropes still mark La Ruta De Las Cruces, which was in use right up to very recent times when canyoneers appeared on the scene carrying modern gear for rappelling with nylon ropes.

In 2007, Guadalajara-based canyoneer Luis “Luigi” Medina heard that La Barranca de Las Cruces was muy padre (very cool) and some 600 meters deep where it begins, with a river running down its entire length. However, he told me, “no one ever mentioned there were hot springs down at the bottom.”

Medina was the leader of the Jalisco canyoneering community in those days and was always on the lookout for waterfalls, so he and three friends decided to go check the place out.

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