Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ecuador Revisited

Just returned home from another great trip to Ecuador. This years trip was not all for fun, Kara and I spent about 11 day's traveling around then I began working the first week of January. Although I must admit it's not too much of a drag showing up for a day of work, kayak guiding in Ecuador.

The trip was highlighted by a few new runs, great river levels, and lot's of fun surfing. Our first two trips were class IV river trips, followed by two river and beaches trips ( . This was a great return to boating after a painfully boring recovery from shoulder surgery.
Kara and I went north to Otovalo, upon arriving to Ecuador. Otovalo is know for it's huge market, clothing, food, animals you can get it all there. The mountains are around Otovalo are spectacular(pictured above). The mountains and the market were not enough to keep us there too long though, we quickly left Otovalo to get to the Oriente to do some kayaking.

We arrived in Tena, a couple of day's before New Years. The water was high and it was hot so we spent a few days getting warmed up on some fun big water play runs. this was also a good chance for me to get to know my new kayak, the Pyrahna Ammo.
The boat is a flat hulled, short creek boat. It handled all types of water really well was not as playful as I had hoped, but proved to handle great on everything from big big water, to tight creeks. Most days I had 20-25lbs. of gear in the back, and it still performed well.
After a week or so of Tena Kara and I headed up to Borja, where we stayed at the Cabanas Tres Rios (small worlds lodge).
The lodge is right beside the Quijos river surrounded by the Andes. There are few places in the world that are as relaxing. Whether your relaxing after a hard day of paddling, hanging out on the river side deck, or browsing around the garden around the lodge. It's a great place.

After a week or so of relaxing and trips to the Hot Springs in Papallacta, It was time to start working. Our first week we had a III+ trip four guys from Colorado, and three from Texas. We had great flows and weather plus some great beat downs commercial kayak trips don't get much better than that. The next week was a week off. The other guides and myself went on a exloritory mission to run a river that is very seldomly paddled. We were fairly close to the Columbian border, in an area of Ecuador that does'nt have much to offer your normal tourist but it does have a few nice rivers. Our put-in was north of the equator and the take out was to the south, we put in on a rocky fast moving technical river and paddled into a gentle class III play paradise ( Darcy at the put-in bridge). After the scouting we tried to knock out some of the creek runs we would not be guiding on.

The next three weeks of trips were great one week of high water and creek boating. Then two rivers and beaches trips where we kayaked four days on the river then three days of surfing in the ocean. The first rivers and beaches started at the lodge, the after four days of paddling Memo our driver, Larry, and myself drove the van and all the kayaks to the beach. The drive took eleven hours, we lost 2.5 miles of elevation, and descended for two hours switchback after switchback.
Meanwhile Don and the guest flew to Manta where we picked them up and headed to the beach. We surfed a great point break and some beach break. The first three or four days were huge fun waves the last three days got a little smaller but gave twice the beatdown. Ocean surfing is some of the most fun you can have in a kayak, it is also so of the worst trashings you can get.

The next group flew into Manta and started their week surfing then once again Larry, memo and I drove back to the mountains. when we got back the weather was hot and dry, great for valcano veiwing but terrible for the rivers. On our drive from Quito thto the lodge we saw Cotopaxi, Cayambe, and Antisana all three valcanos at the same time. It was a nice welcome to the highlands.

So after four more short days of boating, and water dropping it was time to head out. Now back in the Southeast again waiting for the rain.
Subscribe in a reader