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  • Photo: Grayson Schaffer

    Rush Sturges attacks the first granite gorge of the Sahatandra River. To successfully navigate this tricky section, he has to simultaneously land and avoid the wall at the base of the drop.

    Rush Sturges attacks the first granite gorge of the Sahatandra River. To successfully navigate this tricky section, he has to simultaneously land and avoid the wall at the base of the drop.

  • Photo: Grayson Schaffer

    Brad Ludden and Tyler Bradt scope out the Betsiboka River. The river drops over a 60-foot waterfall just below where they're standing.

    Brad Ludden and Tyler Bradt scope out the Betsiboka River. The river drops over a 60-foot waterfall just below where they're standing.

  • Photo: Grayson Schaffer

    Tyler Bradt runs the last rapid on the Ikopa River. Just downstream, the river flattens out,where a team of men wade across the river at a ferry station, pulling a barge laden with as many as four cars.

    Tyler Bradt runs the last rapid on the Ikopa River. Just downstream, the river flattens out,where a team of men wade across the river at a ferry station, pulling a barge laden with as many as four cars.

  • Photo: Grayson Schaffer

    Brad Ludden runs the Heaven and Hell rapid on the Ikopa River. Ashaman offered Ludden and Tyler Bradt his blessing before their runs at this spot in the river.

    Brad Ludden runs the Heaven and Hell rapid on the Ikopa River. Ashaman offered Ludden and Tyler Bradt his blessing before their runs at this spot in the river.

  • Photo: Grayson Schaffer

    A local boy scores a ride on the back of Tyler Bradt's boat just below the last rapid on the Ikopa River.

    A local boy scores a ride on the back of Tyler Bradt's boat just below the last rapid on the Ikopa River.

  • Photo: Grayson Schaffer

    Local accommodations along the Sahatandra River.

    Local accommodations along the Sahatandra River.

  • Photo: Grayson Schaffer

    The resort island of Iranja is actually two islands connected by a sand bridge. The resort is on the small island (pictured) while the larger island is home to a destitute fishing village and an old lighthouse designed by Gustav Eiffel. As the tide drops,

    The resort island of Iranja is actually two islands connected by a sand bridge. The resort is on the small island (pictured) while the larger island is home to a destitute fishing village and an old lighthouse designed by Gustav Eiffel. As the tide drops, the sand bridge will become completely uncovered making it possible to walk between islands.

  • Photo: Grayson Schaffer

    After completing the gorges of the Sahatandra, the team hitched a ride back to Perinet on this narrow-gauge freight train. Ludden is unconscious in the foreground with a fever and violent symptoms while Rush Sturges (top), is about to have his own bout wi

    After completing the gorges of the Sahatandra, the team hitched a ride back to Perinet on this narrow-gauge freight train. Ludden is unconscious in the foreground with a fever and violent symptoms while Rush Sturges (top), is about to have his own bout with a similar bug. The night train marked a turning point in the trip, after which we spent three days in a haze trying in vein to find other runnable rivers. It was only on the fourth day when we got to the Ikopa that everyone had recovered.

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