Aspen Whitewater Rafting, a small whitewater company based in Aspen, CO, recently had a ¨company retreat¨to Ecuador with Small World Adventures. (You can check them out at http://www.aspenwhitewater.com/). Since they were a group of our friends, Don and I did not feel too badly about making them suffer a little bit. We had a few obscure trips we wanted to try out on some people, and the AWR crew proved to be the perfect guinea pigs…I think they will all tell you that their extra suffering was worth it in the end.
Ross and Luke decided they wanted to try out our shredder for a fairly high water run down El Chaco Canyon, so Jess and Kate we left alone to their own devices in the 14 foot raft. Needless to say, they didn’t have much mo in the big water, but they ended up swimning less than anyone else on the trip:) Way to go girls.
So if you are wondering yet what all this hiking is for…it’s for the Coca River–one of the prettier runs in all of Ecuador. Unfortunately, as you can see, the Coca has some serious access problems. Don and Kate are contemplating how far they still have to go…you can actually see the river from up on the road where you start hiking. It’s hard to imagine it will really take you 2 hours to get there–in fact, we didn’t believe some local guys when they told us that, but they were right!
It’s a big water Class IV-IV+ run depending on water levels, and might be a classic if it weren’t for a couple of things: #1 a 2 hour hike into the put in and #2 30 miles of pretty darn flat water after the rapids.
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.
Luke looking apocolyptic in front of the Rio Malo’s spray.
Once again, we had amazing views on the drive back to the lodge.