Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shredder - Kayak trips

Travelling in sytle in the Napo Valley, Ecuador. This just goes to show you that sometimes rafters and kayakers can get along--or at least share a shuttle!

Don and I just finished up our first shredder-kayak class IV trip. There were four kayakers and two on the shredder as well as Don and I and it worked out quite well. Normally one of us guides the shredder but since Gibson and Lee were quite experienced they ran the shredder and the rest of us were in kayaks. Except for a surfing attempt on the Jondachi they stayed upright and in the boat. Peter stayed on for a second week and finished up running twelve different sections in the two weeks he was here, it was great to have him back.

This week Marty and I tagged along on the shredder with Don and Craig who was here for two days of kayaking before going to the Galapagos. I'm not ready to give up kayaking but shredding is a really fun option for a day out of the kayak.

You may be wondering where all the other photos have gone. Well they are somewhere on the bottom of the Rio Mulate. Somehow I found myself drifting out of an eddy juggling my camera. I did manage to keep it in the air for awhile before it bounced just out of reach and into the river. Don't worry though, I just got a replacement delivered by St. Nick and photos will be back soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

December Two Worlds Kayaking trip

This was our first time running this trip which spans both the eastern and western slopes of Ecuador’s Andes. We started out with two days on some of the western slope classics and then a day on a hidden gem of that region, the upper Rio Mulate. The Mulate really surprised me with the quality of quality class IV drops it has. It starts out kind of stupidly bony but within fifteen minutes it has doubled in size and doubles again soon after. That is where it starts to chanelize and the steep technical drops start happening. My favorite was one where Don dropped out of sight on far river right and I see his paddle zooming left and then it drops out of sight too. He appears at the bottom with a big grin and making a boof and move left sign. So Peter and I look at each other and I’m thinking ¨at least Don is smiling at us.¨ So we fling off a drop into water moving fast left and down and soon we are skipping over this slab into an eddy at the bottom. All along I was wondering what we were doing way right when it looked like boofing down one of the middle slots would have been fine. Looking back up made me very happy to be following Don who with Darcy made the first decent of this run last year. The whole day was like that, every rapid had a great fun line with 2 or 3 other options that were less than inviting. I kept expecting it to taper off but within the last couple miles it canyons up and gets a little more intense and committing. It’s definitely one of the best on the west slope.

Then it was back to our favorites in the Quijos valley, the Cosanga, Oyacahi and the Quijos of course. We hit some outstanding water levels and had a great mixed week, a different run every day and five different rivers. I expect we will do a couple of these trips each year and it is a great trip for strong class IV paddlers who have run all of Ecuador’s eastern slope classics.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Line Is Drawn Around a Kansas Prairie Dog Town - New York Times

This just goes to show, you can never judge a rancher...

A Line Is Drawn Around a Kansas Prairie Dog Town - New York Times