Winter Whitewater IV- Canadians meet Idahoians meet Coloradans

 Darcy made a new friend at our favorite restaurant in Tena

Don and I got back on the road last Thursday and, with the prospect of having new boating photos and stories to blog about, I realized just how terribly behind I am in the Ecuador blogging department.  So, here I am getting my act together and getting these blogs up about our last few trips of the season.

 Darren showing his stuff on the Rio Piatua.  He told us the rivers in Ecuador were a lot warmer than the ones he is used to up in Canada, eh?

The 3rd week in February we had a great crew from Calgary, Colorado and Idaho.  As was typical of this season, we had great water levels and big smiles abounded!

Don demonstrating proper cartwheel technique on the Quijos River
We got to do a little playboating, a little creeking and some big water runs as well!
 Lisa making her way to the put in with some awesome rainforest scenery in the background

 In addition to the crew seeing the awesome rivers of Ecuador, they got a little extra cultural excitement as well since it was Carnival. 

 On their way from Quito to our lodge the crew got stuck behind this Carnival procession.  They take their parades pretty seriously in Ecuador and no cars were allowed to pass.  Oh well, at least there were interesting costumes and they still made it to the lodge with plenty of time to boat!

Carnival is a very interesting holiday in Ecuador.  Carnival, which is celebrated widely throughout the world, is an intensely festive holiday that happens just before Lent.  Also known as “Fat Tuesday” Carnival is a day of decadence where people can over indulge in food, drink, fun, etc…before beginning the more austere holiday of Lent.  But in Ecuador, Carnival lasts for about 1 full week leading up to Fat Tuesday.  Why celebrate for only 1 day, when you can party all week long?

 Tamara chilling out in the middle of El Chaco Canyon on the Quijos River

 Ecuador, in addition to celebrating in the more typical styles with parades and lavish costumes, has also added it’s own local flavor to Carnival.  These days, throwing water is priority number 1 for kids celebrating the holiday.  They mainly engage in water wars within their own small circles, but the occasional unsuspecting gringo is certainly a prized target.

 Tamara getting up close and personal with Carnival in Ecuador

People also through eggs, silly string, flour and flowers on each other as a way of celebration.  These practices, although they seem EXTREMELY odd to the outsider, do have pretty deep historical roots.

 Darren and Tarquino getting ready for a little Carnival celebrating themselves

Back in the “good old days” before Catholicism took over Ecuador, the Huaranges Indigenous people used to hold a similar celebration on the full moon.  They would throw perfumed water, flowers and actual flour to celebrate (I’m not sure how their tradition got started).  Once the Catholic dudes moved in, their version of Carnival was merged with the Indigenous version, then a few hundred years of modernity and change tweaked things even further, and now you get the street wars fought with buckets, water balloons, cans of silly string, overly excited children and overly fearful adults.

 Part of the crew–Keith, Lisa, Darren, Tamara, Tarquino–with big smiles below El Torro rapid
Luckily, kayakers are used to getting wet so a little water flung doesn’t phase us much.  Especially in Tena when the temperature is a pretty steady 80-85 degrees F it’s pretty much all fun and games (until the eggs come out).  But I can’t say that I haven’t fantasized more than once about bringing down a giant Nerf Super Soaker with a 5 gallon backpack tank of water and whupping some ass on those little water-flinging bastards!  But I haven’t gone that far yet…
Toucan I spotted on our way to the Piatua put in.  The access road to this river is amazing, we often see incredible birds and little marmosets, so if you go to this river, stay awake on the drive to the put in!
And, when we weren’t dodging water fighting people in the streets of Ecuador, we were busy getting soaked by the wonderful rivers that flow out of the Andes Mountains where many of these crazy traditions were born. 
The group scouting with Tarquino on the Upper Misahualli

Well, that is about enough rambling for now.  Why don’t you just kick back and enjoy the rest of the photos from our 2nd to last trip of the season.  It was a good one!  Enjoy
Lee loving life as he boat scouts his way down the Cosanga River

Damian–BOOF!–on the Upper Misahualli

It’s kind of a tight fit on the way to the Piatua.  But I think we have a good 4-5 inches of clearance there…

Keith looking very stylish in all blue!

Lisa, enjoying her shorty top, something she can’t do all that often in Colorado
Back in sunny Tena after a sweet day on the river.  Watch out for water flingers now!  It’s a bad day to try to ride in the back of the trucks.
John and his Idaho buddy Keith getting ready for a big day on the river

Now, just a reminder to everyone, Small World Adventures’ summer gear giveaway contest is officially back on!  Sign up to win on our website, everyone gets 1 chance from our sign up form. Then, if you want more chances to win, you can have em!   This year, if you donate money to the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute, you’ll get 1 extra entry for every $5 you donate to them.
You can also get more chances from Facebook.  Go to Small World’s Facebook page, “like” us, comment on 1 of our photos and then email me at once you’ve done all this and I will give you 5 extra chances to win great gear!
On May 1st we are giving away 4 awesome prizes to 4 lucky winners:
3.) A copy of Forge Motion Pictures’ Wildwater 
4.) A 1-year subscription to Kayak Session Magazine 
So, don’t miss your chance to win, go to our website and sign up NOW!

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