Michael and Liam just below the put in rapid on the Upper Jondachi. Such nice, clear, water with lots of boudlers, ah…
Our crew of advanced creekers got to learn some Ecua-style creeking last week! Translation—lots of our runs were really high! Both the Oyacachi and the Cosanga had about double (or triple) the “normal” flow making for more of a big water feel than a creeking feel; but both were amazing runs!
We actually did get some creeking in on the Piatua and Upper Jondachi, although we also had a bit of an adventure on the Upper J.
Michael and Liam hamming it up for the camera on Upper Jondachi a couple of hours later. Not so nice now, no boulders, no clear water…boo
We started at Kilometer 28 with a perfect medium flow. We were making good time through the rapids with everyone styling Aphrodesia (well almost everyone…) and the other tricky rapids in the upper part. The sideways boof was back to being the sideways boof and NOT the narrow slot of terror, and all was great!
View of the Jondachi at our hike out bridge
Then the water started to get a wee bit murky. The first wave of water-increase was subtle and only Don and I noticed. We were hoping that would be it—just a small increase—and we knew our group could handle the extra bit of water. But then the 2nd wave was a BIG one. Within 30 minutes the water turned turbid, brown and HUGE. With one portage, a bit of sneaking, and one “paddle your ass off to that eddy,” we made our way down to the bridge just below the broken down waterfall. We waited for a bit and watched the water continue to rise. What were 6 foot tall boulders were now scary holes.
View of the Jondachi day 2 at our hike in bridge
The Upper Jondachi has always been sneaky that way. It did rain on us during the day, but it was a very light rain an lasted less than 20 minutes. But what we couldn’t see was the torrential downpour that was happening upstream of us causing the Urcusiqui creek to flash flood and send all it’s water down upon us.
Thomas just couldn’t deal so he decided to take a nap before the big hike out
As it was the week of jinxes, I blame Shannon and Michael who claim to have never been on a jungle kayaking trip where they didn’t have to hike out of at least 1 river. So, there we were, about to continue their streak!
We decided that for everyone’s safety and well-being that getting the hell outta there was the best choice.
Shannan enjoying the sketchy bridge round 2
We hid the boats, painstakingly covering the pile of 10 shiny plastic things with jungle foliage. Thomas gets the gold star for bringing the best plants for kayak-hiding; although many of them had thorns which ripped my flesh—damn you Thomas!
Michael styling the line at Tres Huevos on day 2 of Jondachi
Then, the hiking commenced. We were prepared for the worst, but the trail was pretty nice and only took about 30 minutes. It was a nice jungle excursion during which Liam saw some cool stick bugs and the rest of the crew saw a lot of mud.
Al going creeking Ecuador-style. The Oyacachi was good practice for hole avoidance
We arrived at the Y, found Memo, had a good laugh at Thomas and Michael trying (and getting denied) to break a 5 dollar bill to buy some beers, loaded up and went back to the lodge for a great dinner and a good night’s sleep. Luckily, Greg had remembered to pack the take out cooler so even though Michael and Thomas weren’t so successful, there was beer drinking to celebrate our jungle adventure.
Thomas running a sweet high water line at “eye of the Whale” on the Lower Cosanga
We woke up the next day, hiked back in and finished the job! That is the cool thing about the rivers in Ecuador is that, as long as it quits raining, the rivers drop as quickly as they rise and we found a perfect medium level for our round 2 on the Upper Jondachi.
Really cool shot of Michael and one of the waterfalls on the Lower Cosanga. Laura, thanks for this and the other photos I swiped from your Facebook account!
It was a great adventure that I’m sure will stick in the memories of all the paddlers. If the high water and hike out doesn’t stick, I’m sure the sketchy bridge crossing will!
Finally, some actual creeking!
Aside from our mega-adventura, the gang had more awesome paddling. It was pretty much the dream-team nailing the dream itinerary. Day 1: Upper and Middle Cosanga at a medium level. Day 2: Medium-High Oyacachi = creeking in Ecuador means dodging big ass holes! Day 3: High water Lower Cosanga = creeking in Ecuador still means dodging big ass holes! Day 4: Low water Piatua = finally, some actual creeking! Boofs abound as do boulders, holes are scarce and the water is CLEAR. Day 5: Upper Jondachi day 1 = glorious low volume start, by end of day, back to dodging bus-eating holes. Day 6: Upper Jondachi Day 2 = back to glorious, boofing more boofs than we can count. Day 7: High water returns, we hit Quijos and punch big holes, ride big waves.
Greg chilling with the drivers enjoying a snack in Aerosemana Tola
The end result: 7 days of some seriously kick-ass kayaking!
Shannan nailing her boof on the Oyacachi
Laura boofing the first move on Chibolo
Brian looking scenic on the Upper Cosanga