The Lower Kynshi River
The Lower Kynshi River has been labeled by some as the best river in the World. Since its discovery, and through its first descents, the early exploration of this major river system revealed to its founders the true magic within the walls of the Kynshi.
The Kynshi is typically completed as a 3-day trip, which seems drawn-out considering the length of the section is only 30km (18-miles). This speaks to what is found in the depths of the canyon carved by the Kynshi River.
The Kynshi can be classified by a few different sections by landscape and tributaries. At its highest point, the Upper Kynshi flows at a small gradient with a lower volume. Transitioning into the Middle Kynshi as it accepts more water from its tributaries and becomes the Lower Kynshi at its confluence with the Wah Blei River. A major tributary to the river system and another classic Meghalayan River. The Lower Kynshi narrows after its confluence and the rapids, waterfalls, and portages commence shortly after. The action is non-stop as the Kynshi winds south through the mountains as one constant gorge until the Rilang River flows in from river right. This tributary marks the end of the steep whitewater on the Kynshi and shortly after it comes to an almost literal end, as the river flows out of India and into Bangladesh. The border marks the takeout, and one can see why as we drive up, up, up and away from the river and into the depths of India, looking back over the vast, flat expanse of the lowlands of Bangladesh, seeing the Kynshi turn into a mirage of canals and sand bars as its flow is re-directed for irrigation.
The reason the Kynshi can be nominated for the best river in the World? The whitewater is the simple answer; its high volume delivers big water wave trains and colossus hydraulics in some rapids, to tight and technical moves in others, 20ft and 50ft waterfalls sprinkled in to keep you on your toes. Throw in the pristine sand beaches, the perfect temperatures, isolation from society and being out there in the mountains with your best friends, this river defines kayaking! I walked almost as many rapids as I kayaked on this trip as I often chose to respect the river in the extremely exposed landscape, but it has me already planning my next trip into the Kynshi! As always, pictures say a thousand words, enjoy the photo essay below and massive praise to Joe Rae-Dickens and crew for exploring this area over the past decade!
"Bren Orton all smiles as the crew embarks on their adventure into the Lower Kynshi.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Soaking in the scenery on the adventure in before the Lower Kynshi drops into the Gorge.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Bren Orton dipping his toes into the prolific whiteware on the Kynshi in the first steep horizon line of the trip.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Doing his best to keep his boat straight, Bren Orton gets a feel for the white-water coming ahead on the Kynshi.” - Photo by Johnny Chase
“ Kalob Grady taking a lengthy scout, visualizing the hard see landing zone in this tight drop.” - Photo by Carson Lindsay
“Bren Orton takes to the sky on the waterfall, Shilling in a Box. The entire flow of the Kynshi plummets 50ft in a roaring spectacle of the river's power." - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Some scouts taking longer than others, Evan Moore and Kalob Grady trying to find the line that Bren Orton saw…” - Photo by Carson Lindsay
“The dramatic natural landscape and the larger than life whitewater combine on the Kynshi to consistently take your breath away. Adrian Mattern dropping into Griff’s Gash.” - Photo by Carson Lindsay
“Bren Orton cruising through one of the “Chill” rapids…” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“The important places with the important people. Admiring the natural beauty of the Kynshi.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Adrian Mattern cashes in on some much-needed water as we cruise into camp on night 1." - Photo by Johnny Chase
“Kalob Grady putting the Antix to the test through this colossal rapid to kickstart day 2.” - Photo by Johhny Chase
“Adrian Mattern making moves on one of the lower volume boofs to be found on the big water Kynshi.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Bren Orton navigating the boulders and seam lines in search of safe passage.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Cruising down the main street with Adrian Mattern." - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Bren Orton looking over at a rapid we chose to walk, this time… One of the many rapids we will have to go back for!” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“The sun pops over the horizon on day 3, illuminating the valley and bringing the day to life.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“The team packs up camp on day 3, ready for another day on the Lower Kynshi.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Send on the paddle out of the Lower Kynshi, covering the flats before taking out at the border between India and Bangladesh.” - Photo by Carson Lindsay
“Bren Orton all smiles as every stroke takes him closer to a cold beer and real food.” - Photo by Kalob Grady