There are lots of waterfalls on this run!
Jim, Luke, Darcy and Jess are scouting a previously unnamed rapid. It is now affectionately called "Aspen Extreme." Our raft successfully made it through 99% of the rapid, then we flipped on the wall at the bottom. The "flatwater" swim afterwards proved to be much more challenging than any of us imagined.
This is the view just downstream of Aspen Extreme. It looked fairly flat from the scouting rock, but pretty damn big from water level (literally).
Here is Team Aspen Extreme resting up after the big swim. And, I feel I have full rights to make fun of us since it was I who was captianing the raft. I swear, that wall came out of nowhere.
The Coca run has tons of great whitewater that starts immediately after you put in. The character is BIG water, with rapids such as "The Hole that Ate the Conquistadors," "Aspen Extreme," and "Flip the Shredder." The main goal of the day was to avoid holes big enough to swallow a couple Ecuadorian buses in one gulp. Happily, everyone avoided such holes. A wall got the raft, and a monsterous seam got the shredder.
After most the whitewater is over, the Coca flows through what the locals call the Canyon of the Monkeys. On this trip it proved to be true to its name.
I always think it's a bit dorky when people claim stuff like this, but what the hell, I'm gonna say it: We think that Ross and Shannan got a shredder first descent of the Coca. They only flipped once in a rapid we now call "Flip the Shredder" and they laughed with glee as they sailed through the rapid that got the raft. They were a wee bit tired of the shredder though by the end of the flatwater.
All that flatwater is good for something: Luke comtempletating...well, somthing...after his swim in Aspen Extreme.
Ah, shredders are good for much more than just whitewater.
After a wonderful, but somewhat tiring trip down the Coca, we did another run and a little sighseeing before heading back to home sweet home at Small World's cabins--Cabanas Tres Rios
Rio Malo waterfall
Luke looking apocolyptic in front of the Rio Malo's spray.
The next day we were off to the Lower Quijos to face Gringos Revueltos.I wouldn't exactly say that things went smoothly, but everyone made it through the holes without getting scrambled. We have some video of the runs which I will try to post once I figure out how:)
Don seal launching back in from his video/saviour post. No saving was necessary, so he was just the video guy.
For our last day we switched gears from the big water we had been running all week, and hit the Lower Cosanga. It was a great and super technical day, without incident except for when Don wrapped, flipped and swam all in the exact same spot in the river. Don't ask how he did it, he's just that good. At any rate, everyone was good and tuckered out by the end of the week. As Jess said, "you know it's been a good vacation when you get home and need a vacation from your vacation."
Once again, we had amazing views on the drive back to the lodge.
Although you are a few thousand feet above river level, you can actually see Gringos Revueltos from the road. Mostly though, after a week of epic whitewater, we just felt we deserved to drink a Pilsner and walk on the pipeline at the same time.
For anyone thinking of coming on a trip with us in Ecuador, please keep in mind that we don't make all our guests walk hours through knee deep mud, go swimming, then drink a bunch of beer--but we certainly can if you ask us! Seriously though, we really enjoy driving to both the put in and the take out, and we assume most of you kayakers out there do too, so that is what we do on our trips unless you specifically request extra suffering. Check out http://www.smallworldadventures.com/
for more info about road-accessable runs, supurb food and lodging, and world-class kayaking.
It's better not to ask, but yes, that is Don and he is holding a blow gun.