West Virginia-ish Crew Does Ecuador

Tarquino leading the charge into Menage-a-Rodeo on the Lower Cosanga.  Happily, no one stopped to surf today
Last week we had two full crews of Torrents paddlers (Class IV).  One of the groups we dubbed the “West Virginia-ish Crew.”  It was a group of 7 friends mostly from Morgantown, WV but with 2 rouge paddlers from the D.C. area–Margot and David.  (blog coming soon of the other Torrents trip AKA “Senor-big-water-lovers”)
Margot boofing Disco-Tech on the Piatua
Sticking with the theme of the season, crazy variations in water levels kept us on our toes all week long!  We got to experience quite a bit of big water, with a couple of days of low volume creeking thrown in.   Not as much as John would have liked…but at least we had low water on the Piatua!
 Eric, immersing himself in Ecuador’s whitewater

We had great runs down the Upper and Lower Cosanga, El Chaco Canyon on the Quijos, the Piatua, Oyacachi and Lower Quijos.  The only river on our hit list that we missed out on was the Upper Misahualli.  Tuesday it was too low, but then on Thursday when we were trying to give it a go, it was too high.   Ah, such is life in the rainforest.  But, the cool thing about Ecuador is that we had great alternatives.  John, you will just have to come back next year to get the Upper “Miss Hawaii.” 

 David coming in for a sweet boof on “Lavadora” on the Lower Cosanga

Our most adventuresome day came on Friday with a rapidly raising Oyacachi River.  It had rained a bit throughout the night and so we were slightly suspicious that water levels may be on the rise.  We drove down to the Oyacachi bridge to check the level and found it to be a nice, low level.

 John in his element on the super technical Piatua

So, up the road we went.   Then it started raining rather hard and many of the little side creeks coming into the Oyacachi weren’t so little anymore…We arrived to the put in to find a rather HIGH level rushing its way down towards the bridge.

 Kathrin lining up and reaching out for a perfect boof

Wisely, most of the crew opted not to put in up high.   One hard charger who had been wanting to go bigger all week decided this was his chance.  So Eric and I put in and the rest of the group drove down to “Ejector Seat” to join us for the last couple miles of the Oyacachi. 

Ben is stoked

Eric and I had a nice run down the upper and then met up with the crew at the lower put in.  The river was still raising, and it was looking like it was going to be a big water run down the Oyacachi, NOT a nice creeking run like it usually is.  But the crew rallied and did awesome!  By the time we got to the “Last Rapid” now called “Margot’s Maelstrom” it was fricking HUGE.  Usually rapids get named after people who screw up in them, but this one is different because Margot completely styled the line!

Brian shedding water and coming through the hole at Menage-a-Rodeo
We got out to scout Margot’s Maelstrom and found a chaotic mess of exploding waves, holes and wave holes.   There was definitely a line but it was thin.  Most of the crew quickly decided to walk but Margot was fired up and wanted to give it a go.  So, Margot, Eric and I set off.  We all had good lines, and high fives abounded at the bottom!  Then we set off down to the Quijos Confluence.  We all steered clear of “The Thing #1” and “The Thing #2” which are 2 rather monstrous holes in the confluence rapid. 
Cable car crossing of the Rio Quijos just below the Oyacachi confluence
But then David decided the Thing #1 looked like a sweet surf wave and jumped right in.  The first few rides were awesome, but then David and the Burn decided to stay a little too long and together they threw a few too many cartwheels. But, the good news is that the end result was a fun ride in a cable car!  This lady wasn’t too pissed when she discovered gringos joy-riding in her “tarabita.”
Thanks to the West-Viriginia-Ish Crew for an awesome week of paddling and thanks to John and Brian for the Remix’s.  You guys rule!

One Response to West Virginia-ish Crew Does Ecuador

  1. Eric Henrickson February 10, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    Thank you Darcy. Those were some memorable adventures. Turns out there is a cable car video.

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