This was our first time running this trip which spans both the eastern and western slopes of Ecuador’s Andes. We started out with two days on some of the western slope classics and then a day on a hidden gem of that region, the upper Rio Mulate. The Mulate really surprised me with the quality of quality class IV drops it has. It starts out kind of stupidly bony but within fifteen minutes it has doubled in size and doubles again soon after. That is where it starts to chanelize and the steep technical drops start happening. My favorite was one where Don dropped out of sight on far river right and I see his paddle zooming left and then it drops out of sight too. He appears at the bottom with a big grin and making a boof and move left sign. So Peter and I look at each other and I’m thinking ¨at least Don is smiling at us.¨ So we fling off a drop into water moving fast left and down and soon we are skipping over this slab into an eddy at the bottom. All along I was wondering what we were doing way right when it looked like boofing down one of the middle slots would have been fine. Looking back up made me very happy to be following Don who with Darcy made the first decent of this run last year. The whole day was like that, every rapid had a great fun line with 2 or 3 other options that were less than inviting. I kept expecting it to taper off but within the last couple miles it canyons up and gets a little more intense and committing. It’s definitely one of the best on the west slope.
Then it was back to our favorites in the Quijos valley, the Cosanga, Oyacahi and the Quijos of course. We hit some outstanding water levels and had a great mixed week, a different run every day and five different rivers. I expect we will do a couple of these trips each year and it is a great trip for strong class IV paddlers who have run all of Ecuador’s eastern slope classics.