We normally prefer it when we have trips since we really like eating Lili´s food, and getting shuttled around in the Sprinter, not to mention how much we enjoy showing other kayakers Ecuador´s amazing whitewater. But, every now and again we have a free week and we always try to fit in everything on our long list of ¨to do´s.¨ It´s all too much to pack into one blog, so I´m just starting off with Day 1. Our Ecuadorian staff love the rivers in the Quijos Valley almost as much as we do and so we try to take them rafting as often as possible--and that´s just what we did on Sunday--day 1 of our week off. Saturday Afternoon:
As soon as Memo and Hector finished washing the van, Memo drove the group back to Quito where he spent the night, picked up a couple of whitewater-loving family members and was back out at the cabins by 11am on Sunday morning to hit the river. (Don´t worry, we are NOT engaging in child labor, Hector just likes to help out his old dad every once and a while).
We rounded up the crew, had a quick brunch and put in right at our lodge for a nice afternoon run of El Chaco Canyon. Some people dream of having world class whitewater runs right in their backyard, and we feel lucky that we literally do!
The first big rapid of the day--Pica Piedra.
Another big wave. This, I believe, is the rapid right before the true entrance into the canyon. The crew was paddling great together and we punched some big stuff!
You shouldn´t do that Darcy, you might bite it off someday! Nice photography work Larry.
This is at the bottom of El Torro, the biggest rapid of the day. The holes at the bottom of this rapid are enormous this year, and we ran right through the middle of a monster! It was definitely my biggest hit in a raft in a long time--everyone stayed in and loved it.
Besides showing them the whitewater, it´s fun to show them the beautiful scenery as well. We love showing Memo (our driver) new sections of river. We feel like it´s nice for him to know where we are going, what we are getting into, access points, etc...And, the best part is that he really loves rafting, and the smile on his face after every rapid is priceless.
Most of the crew had to get back to Quito and so had to take out at the Oyacachi confluence. Memo didn´t want the week off (I think he wanted to buy more toys for Hector) so we offered him work for the week at our lodge. Since he was so close to ¨home¨for the week, and did not have to go back to Quito, he wondered about continuing on down through the Bom Bon section. He didn´t have to work very hard to convince Edwin (who lives in El Chaco). It was Edwin´s first time rafting, but he loved it and he was in for sure. Curvas Peligrosas gave my heart a bit of a flutter, but there was lots of cheering once we realized we had nailed the line.
In the end there is nothing better than pretty scenery after a big rapid, friends in the raft, and the satisfaction of an excellent day for everyone involved.
The rest of the week...