Empandas + Cold Pilsiners + Sweet Whitewater = Vacacione Muy Buena!
I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing in the middle of February than boofing sweet boofs, punching huge breaking waves, drinking post-boating Pilsiners and feeding great, fresh-cooked Empanadas to my friends.
And, lucky me, that's what I got to do!
As was par for the course this season in Ecuador, we had some medium water, some big water, and some even bigger water! This was perfect as we had a crew of hard chargers who wanted to see the best of Ecuador's creeks (and some rivers).
We had Philip and Catherine from Switerland, John from New Mexico, Josh from Colorado, and Andy from Portland. All had come to Ecuador to experience the super continuous boulder garden creeks that Ecuador is becoming increasingly famous for.
John found a nice gift for his fiance here!
It's hard to say what the highlight from this week was, there were so many good things. Was it high water on the Oyacachi? Seeing Tamarin (aka "New World Monkeys") on the way to the Piatua or Parrots at the take out? The Upper Jondachi? Local markets and fresh food on the way home from kayaking the Cosanga? Oh, so many things to love about Ecuador!
A nice medium level made this one "fluffier" than normal!
Whatever the favorite was, it was an excellent week. We started the week off with a nice run through Gringo Revueltos. We always like to welcome people to Ecuador in a fun a unique fashion and what better way than on day one introducing them to the infamous "Scrambled Gringos" rapid? That'll quickly knock the rust off of anyone's paddling!
Day 2 had us off to the Cosanga River. Not wanting anyone to leave complaining that they didn't paddle enough river miles, we did the whole kitten kaboodle, the whole enchilada, the whole damn run!
Day 3, yes, no rest for the weary, and we're off to the Upper Jondachi. Now, John and Andy were with Small World the week before as well and both had the goal of paddling 14 straight days. Not a feat to be taken lightly considering these aren't 1-2 hour days. These are full days of full on paddling and the boys are hanging tough but starting to give us dirty looks when we talk about the Jondachi and its 30 minute hike in, 80+ rapids, etc...
Night 3: Lightening, thunder, rain, more lightening and more rain.
Day 4: We wake up, to rain, rain and more rain. Plan A is Piatua but it's so rainy...but then we remember how fun the high water Piatua descent was last week (Andy and John remember too) and so we say "what the hell, we've got a strong crew, let's go for it!" We drive out to the Piatua and find it to be a nice medium level. Not nearly as high as last week, but not low by any stretch of the imagination.
Medium water Piatua is a super combination of creeky moves like boofs and boulder dodging and big water moves like dodging, punching and sometimes surfing holes!
We move quickly through the continuous 14 kilometer run, and take out at Cabanas Piatua where we are treated to a nice bridge jump, some cold beers, parrots and some sweet disco-tech music. Viva Ecuador!
Day 5: Upper Misahualli from Lodo. We see Petroglyphs, and boofs and kids swimming in the river. This is a super technical stretch of water that is super fun and aesthetically pleasing. Kind of a mellow day compared to the rest; but a good rest day since tomorrow is big water on the Oyacachi!
Day 6: Yes, once again, no rest for the increasingly weary. We are off to the Oyacachi for 6 action-packed miles of hole dodging, wave riding, hole-boofing excitment!
One of people's favorite features on the Oyacachi these days is "da boof" which is a MEGA boof towards the beginning of the run. It's super intimidating when you first look at it. The boof is 8 feet tall and has quite a tricky lead in requiring paddlers to dodge 3 small holes, punch 1 big breaking wave and then still keep it together enough get their boat in the right place, AND get the right stroke in at the right time.
Luckily for us, it's an easy walk back up. So if you loved it so much your 1st time through, or didn't get it quite right on that first go you can have yourself a second chance. Oh, and it's SO worth it! All and all everyone did great, and we were all left with big smiles on our faces at the end of the day.
Day 7: back to the Quijos for a bigger water Class IV cruise. We head to El Chaco Canyon to face El Torro, Olympic Trials and to do a little play boating.
Andy and John made their 14 days in a row of kayaking--nice work boys! And Philip, Catherine and Josh pulled off 7 days of awesome whitewater.