Pusu NO River, Ecuador

Rio Pusuno falls at above optimum flows.  The falls itself was good to go it was just the before and after that were problematic.  The lead in was definitely spicy and then once you had to exit this lovely plunge pool you would have literally paddled into the gates of hell!

We had a group of hard chargers from Durango, CO and Bend, OR last week.  These boyz weren’t F-ing around.  They partied hard and kayaked even harder!  Every night we were convinced that at least 1 or 2 wouldn’t be able to boat in the morning; but they always turned up to breakfast bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (oh, well, at least they always showed up) ready to paddle.

Danny, not afraid to show a little style in the jungle

Some of the guys had been to Ecuador before and for others it was their first time to South America.  All of them took full advantage of exploring a new place with a new culture and new rivers.  It was really fun to have a group so completely stoked to be in a new place.

Dan navigating the numerous holes on the Cheesehouse section of the Quijos

Having seen some videos online, the crew was super stoked to check out the Pusuno River near Tena.  We were a bit skeptical because the Pusuno is one the most difficult rivers to catch at a proper flow.  It’s super finicky, and, while it’s usually too low to run, it gets way too high quite easily as well.  The river has actually been nicknamed the Rio Pusu NO because of how often groups get skunked up there.  But we were also really excited because it’s very rare to get a group who wants to go to this river.

Tarquino, jungle guide to the maximo, declares the Pusuno too high

So we thought we’d better give it a whirl!  We figured if it was too low, we could always boat the lead in drops, run the falls and then, using a little rope work, get back up and hike back to the car. 

The boys contemplating the odds of surviving the rapids leading up to the falls

Some overnight rain in Tena left everyone with high hopes of a good level on the Pusuno.  As we drove there, the side creeks coming from a similar drainage looked promising…then some of them looked a little too promising!  We arrived to the Pusuno to find it at an unfriendly high level.

Cruise, ripping it up on the Quijos

So, after a few minutes of looking at the 1st drop, then looking around for eddies, and eventually deciding that it just wasn’t good to go, we went for a nice jungle hike with Tarquino, checked out the run, the falls, the jungle, saw a few monkeys and called it a day.

Monkey eye balling the weird gringos with cameras, sunglasses and gatorade.  Tony’s sunglasses temporarily fell victim to a curious monkey.  But after banging them on the tree a few times, the monkey dropped the glasses back to Tony.

We headed back to the Quijos Valley for a run down the Cheesehouse section, some playboating, beer and tequila drinking around the lodge and then a morning at the hot springs before heading back to Quito.

Tony styling Tres Huevos and expediently paddling away from the cave/hole afterwards

Tony was then off to meet his wife and drag himself up Cotopaxi–19,347 feet tall.   But don’t worry, he trained all week with 20 ounce Pilsiner curls!  And, our lodge is over 5,000 feet so that’s some acclimatization, eh?
The Crew

Cruise, Joel, and Danny were off to Montanita to do some surfing and to try to re-live the movie Point Break.  I hear the local surfers are quite territorial out there!  But, if anyone could handle them, it’s these 3.

Luke, taking advantage of a bluebird day in the Quijos Valley to do a little playboating

Dave, Luke and Dan headed back to their homes, hopefully a little better prepared to face the winter after one last romp in the tropical paradise of Ecuador.

Joel and Dave making their way down the Upper Jondachi

Beautiful jungle along the banks of the Pusuno
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