Kayaking Ecuador…what better way to enjoy winter than to pull out that shorty top and come paddling in South America?

Team Alabama, Colorado, Kansas and Washington come to Ecuador for a little winter reprieve…

Darcy on day 1 in the middle of the Baeza to Borja run on the Rio Quijos

We had a great crew of paddlers this week for our Torrents trip, and we pulled off 7 days of paddling on some of the most classic runs in Ecuador.

Lex leading the charge through Pica Piedra on the Rio Quijos.

Day 2, we put in right in front of our lodge and paddled down through El Chaco Canyon. The water level was a stout medium, and the rapid El Toro served up a little bit of a kick in the pants, but all and all it was a great day.

Anders G-$ busting through a wave.

Mark, representing the C-1 world, in front of our Sprinter on the way to Tena.

Day 3 we headed over to Tena to check out some of the low volume creek runs that area has to offer (Mark was pretty happy when we mentioned the word “creeking.”

We ate lunch at the put in of our run and had a little visiter to keep us company.

Then, our visiter got a little friendly with Sam…

Sam Cox in one of the many boulder gardens on the Upper Mis.

Once Sam got the monkey off his back, he was able to thoroughly enjoy the Upper Misahualli.

Mark and his new buddy

The kids on the Upper Mis are pretty used to seeing kayakers, but I think they were all impressed with this one-bladed kayaker!

Anders in “barking dog.”

And, yes, there really was a dog barking–would we lie?

Anders and Bryon taking a little dip in the river.

At the put in, it was an oddly cold day in Tena, and Sara was doubting all my claims about the inferno that is the Napo Valley. Luckily, things warmed up and eventually, people had to jump in to cool off! This certainly is a nice change of pace from -5 temps back home.

Sunset over the town of Tena…from the left: Tarquino, Anders, Sara, Don, Darcy, Brad, Mark. Geeze, I feel short!

Day 4: Piatua. Please note how high that bridge support looks now…

And now? We barely made it!

Sam Sox, showing off his socks.

Actually they are leg warmers and they are damn sexy. I had told everyone to bring long socks or long pants to fend off the little ankle biters that sometimes frequent the rivers of Tena. Well, Sam didn’t have any long pants, and couldn’t fit his ski socks in his kayaking booties, so he just got a little creative. Good fashion statement! I think he sold them to Anders at the end of the trip.

Almost at the put in.

Brad boofing his way down “gum shaker”

Bryon about to grind the rail slide in “Sabado Gigante.”

C-1 boy ripping it up on the Piatua.

Lex about to boof one of the many, many boof that the Piatua has to offer

Sam Sox in “Dame su Gasolina”

I just need to take a brief moment to say that Brad, Sam, and Lex–some of my earliest kayaking mentors–FINALLY came down to Ecuador to visit me, and they really impressed the hell out of me. These guys, due to various circumstances, haven’t been kayaking much in the last 5-10 years, and they came down to Ecuador “off the couch” so to speak, and absolutely rocked it! We paddled 7 tough days of what Anders affectionately reffered to as “kayaking boot camp” and everyone did great. (Sara, Anders, Mark and Bryon kicked some ass too). So my hat is off to you all. After all these years, you’ve still got it:)

Sara hiking to the put in

Day 5: Lower Cosanga.

Sam getting his boof on

Sara styling “Random Acts” on the Lower Cosanga

Mark approaching “the Groove”
Bryon boofing his way to the good line on Random Acts

Lex, nailing the line in “Triple Drop.”

We saw a cute little otter while scouting this rapid, but then I went and scared him away while trying to take his picture for this damn blog!

Sara, grooving on the groove rapid.
Dr. Brad, finding his way down the Cosanga

Mark, Anders, Bryon and Sara celebrating a good day on the Cosanga

Luckily for us, our lodge is the take-out for the Lower Cosanga, so, upon finishing the run, we had instant access to beer, sodas, snacks and hot showers!

Don Juan getting serious out there

Don and Brad enjoying the fresh air and scenery from the back of our taxi.

Don approaching the crux of Serpentine

Oops, too many photos of Don in a row. Anyhow, this is day 6: Oyacahi.

Sara in “black rock orange rock” (yes, very creative name).

Day 7 we did the BomBon section of the Quijos River. Big water play run was a perfect way to finish off the week. I hope you all come again soon. Don, Larry and I really enjoy paddling with you all–thanks!
Parting Shot:

One Response to Kayaking Ecuador…what better way to enjoy winter than to pull out that shorty top and come paddling in South America?

  1. sararansford February 17, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    Yeah, I would go with Small World again any time. Besides the amazing, challenging rivers, the incredible scenery, and the yummy food, Darcy, Don and Larry were wonderful hosts. Everyone at the lodge were so helpful and friendly, and the hotel and food in Tena were fabulous… The guides, Larry, Don and Darcy, really knew their rivers, each rapid, and conscientious about everyones abilities. I have never boated such consistently good, solid rivers ever. Ecuador rocks!

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