After 8 long months of suffering through our jobs back in the US, Don, Larry, and I are happily back in Ecuador--the land of amazing topography, world class whitewater, friendly people, and all around good living (I'm especially thinking of the fact that Lily cooks us outstanding meals everyday and all we have to do is go kayaking)!
Hillary, one of our new guides, checks out the scenery on the Lower Quijos. This run is a jungle-covered day trip version of the Grand Canyon. At the bottome of a deep, rainforest-covered gorge lies numerous big water Class III and IV rapids. As if that weren't enough, Hillary saw a monkey on this trip! Too bad David and I were day dreaming and missed it.
We learn something new on every one of our trips. This week we learned how to play "Edward Pilsner Hands." Here, Roger, Bryan, and David are giving us a demonstration--thanks boys! Our Ecuadorian staff was curious as to what those gringos were doing so we taught them as well, although none of them have opted to join a game yet (they're the smart ones).
And, when we weren't duct taping Pilsner's to our hands, we were out running some of the classic runs of Ecuador. Chris Menges running "Deer Creek South" on the Cheesehouse section of the Quijos River.
Don B. dropping "P Cubed" on the Cheesehouse Section
All this greenery was a nice change for the 5 paddlers who had traveled from their snow-ladden homes to join us for the week.
Bryan from Astral gets his boof on.
Chris Menges from CKS finishing "Aphrodesia" on the Jondachi.
Don Beveridge--SWA head guide--leading the way on the Upper Jondachi.
On our way to the Piatua River, we ran into what would have meant a LONG hike to the river for most crews, but just turned into a 10 minute delay for this improvisational group. A landslide had deposited some very large boulders into the road to the put in. Luckily Chris T and Roger put their heads together, found some tools, and levered their way into a clear road--good work boys!
All that levering was well worth it--especially for Roger who discovered how well he could perform an underwater pole dance in the crystal clear waters of the Piatua.
Chris T. shows us that he is not only skilled at boulder removel, but also at the very difficult art of getting the very LARGE Nomad to endo.
Darcy G. running one of the numerous drops on the Piatua. I think the boys named this drop "Gum Shaker." You'll have to come to Ecuador to find out for yourself what that means--don't worry, it has NOTHING to do with the gums that hold your teeth in.
At the take-out, Roger convinced a local to give him a ride across the river in the Tarabita (cable car). It turned out to be a long swim back to the van for Roger...
Kate from Canoe and Kayak running "Kinda Worthy" on the Upper Misahualla.
Don at "Slots of Fun."
The Jefe Grande is a sweet boat, but damn it's heavy!
Don leading a scout of "Kinda Worthy" with our 1st trip of the year. It turns, out that it is, indeed, kind of worthy of a scout:)
Bart enjoying the view of the Lower Jondachi after a hot hike in.
With our first trip of the year we ran the Lower Jondachi which runs into the Hollin River. We had great flows on the Jondachi, then found fairly high water on the Hollin. It is a big river bed that can handle lots of water, and it made for an awesome "paddle out" on some great class IV big water rapids. Bart even nailed a loop in the Jefe at one play spot we found. I was very impressed!
I wish I had a pet like this when I was growing up. The monkey is eating a little piece of bread, and it proceeded to use the baby's head as a plate. I guess that's the beauty of being less than a year old, those sorts of things don't bother you.
Darcy checking out the Upper Jondachi during our first week in country. For the most part the run is the same, but there were a couple of big changes. The most impressive is the massive siphon right smack in the middle of a rapid we call Typhoid Falls. This one is a best done as a portage now!
Darcy boofing one of the numerous boofs here in Ecuador.
I never knew that hot pink occured naturally, but I found this plant while we were portaging "Tres Huevos." I thought this color was just a really bad trend in ski clothing in the 1980s, but it turns out it's "natural." I think I'll bust those pants back out of the closet when we get back in March.
Don in one of the many tight canyons that make up the Papallacta. This rapid used to have a 12 foot falls in it. The falls have fallen down, and now it just looks like many of the other technical rapids on this run.
Don boofing his way off the Papallacta and into the Quijos.
To read more about our last trip (from an unbiased source) check out Bryan's post at http://www.astralbuoyancy.com/02/news/
And, instead of letting all these other people have fun without you, come join them! We have lots of room in January and February.