Saturday, January 26, 2008


We normally prefer it when we have trips since we really like eating Lili´s food, and getting shuttled around in the Sprinter, not to mention how much we enjoy showing other kayakers Ecuador´s amazing whitewater. But, every now and again we have a free week and we always try to fit in everything on our long list of ¨to do´s.¨ It´s all too much to pack into one blog, so I´m just starting off with Day 1. Our Ecuadorian staff love the rivers in the Quijos Valley almost as much as we do and so we try to take them rafting as often as possible--and that´s just what we did on Sunday--day 1 of our week off.

Saturday Afternoon:

As soon as Memo and Hector finished washing the van, Memo drove the group back to Quito where he spent the night, picked up a couple of whitewater-loving family members and was back out at the cabins by 11am on Sunday morning to hit the river. (Don´t worry, we are NOT engaging in child labor, Hector just likes to help out his old dad every once and a while).

We rounded up the crew, had a quick brunch and put in right at our lodge for a nice afternoon run of El Chaco Canyon. Some people dream of having world class whitewater runs right in their backyard, and we feel lucky that we literally do!

The first big rapid of the day--Pica Piedra. Another big wave. This, I believe, is the rapid right before the true entrance into the canyon. The crew was paddling great together and we punched some big stuff!

You shouldn´t do that Darcy, you might bite it off someday! Nice photography work Larry.

This is at the bottom of El Torro, the biggest rapid of the day. The holes at the bottom of this rapid are enormous this year, and we ran right through the middle of a monster! It was definitely my biggest hit in a raft in a long time--everyone stayed in and loved it.

Besides showing them the whitewater, it´s fun to show them the beautiful scenery as well. We love showing Memo (our driver) new sections of river. We feel like it´s nice for him to know where we are going, what we are getting into, access points, etc...And, the best part is that he really loves rafting, and the smile on his face after every rapid is priceless.

Most of the crew had to get back to Quito and so had to take out at the Oyacachi confluence. Memo didn´t want the week off (I think he wanted to buy more toys for Hector) so we offered him work for the week at our lodge. Since he was so close to ¨home¨for the week, and did not have to go back to Quito, he wondered about continuing on down through the Bom Bon section. He didn´t have to work very hard to convince Edwin (who lives in El Chaco). It was Edwin´s first time rafting, but he loved it and he was in for sure. Curvas Peligrosas gave my heart a bit of a flutter, but there was lots of cheering once we realized we had nailed the line.In the end there is nothing better than pretty scenery after a big rapid, friends in the raft, and the satisfaction of an excellent day for everyone involved.

The rest of the week...

Monday, January 21, 2008


This post is a melange of photos from our last 2 trips. One was a Class IV trip, and the other was a Class II/III Tropical Tune Up. Both trip were awesome and included a nice mixture of boating everyday and getting a little culture in the evenings. The photos are in no particular or logical order, so just sit back and enjoy the chaos:) Nothing like a little meat on a stick to make a man really happy.

People are often under the misconception that Ecuador only has Class IV and up rivers. It has a reputation for its steep and continuous creeks, but people often overlook the abundance of wonderful Class II and Class III runs. During our Tropical Tune Up trip, we paddled
7 days, 5 different rivers, 7 different runs! Besides all that, we visited San Rafael Falls, played with Monkeys in Puerto Misahualli, soaked in the hot springs on our way back to Quito, and took a tour of Old Town Quito after dinner. Talk about a ¨do it all¨kind of vacation! Ah, we love our new Sprinter...Small World knows how to kayak in style.Ah, we also really love our lodge. This porch is the perfect place to watch the sunset and all the amazing hummingbirds that accompany it. And the best part is that we are about to go inside and enjoy one of Lili´s many outstanding meals.

Another sunset from the lodge

Jarret hiking up a side canyon of the Jatunyacu River near Tena. Coming from near Edmonton, those Tena temps must have been a nice change. Darcy and Steiner unloading kayaks for a run down the Salado River.

Laura found some helpers while getting ready to put in on the Jatunyacu.
Mike basking in the sun. Mike didn´t know how to roll before he came to Ecuador, but was ripping up the Jatunyacu by day 5 in country. Nice work!

Jarret, enjoying a little fresh water spring.
Tony trying to stay in Don´s wave on the Lower Quijos. Despite looking menacingly munchy, this wave was, in fact, annoying flushy!

Laani catching the wave on a beautifully executed carved turn.

Bryan ripping it up.

Steve enjoying a small side waterfull deep in the canyon of the Lower Quijos

The crew enjoying one of many of the Quijos´s tight basalt canyons. This one is on El Chaco Canyon. Ed, of Cody Wyoming showing us how it´s done at the lunch wave on El Chaco Canyon.

And, kayaking is only 1 of Ed´s many talents...

Tony getting after it as always. This guy has only been paddling 3 years, and he impressed us all with his willingness (and ability) to surf the biggest of waves and holes. Keep after it Tony!

Don Beveridge--Superstar! (sorry Bill, he took your boat, and your title). Ed in the maw at the bottom of El Torro rapid on the Quijos. This rapid has slight changes in it this year, the most notable being the much larger size of the holes/waves at the bottom of the rapid.

The veiw from Puerto Mishualli. This is at the confluence of the Lower Mishualli and the Jatunyacu. From here, it´s over 1,200 miles to the Amazon, and the gradient measures in at right around 1 foot per mile. Time to take out!
There are normally fun and friendly (often overly friendly) monkeys to watch at Puerto Mishualli.

Mike must have something good in his pocket.
This woman is engaged in a very serious game of keep away with her ice cream cone and the monkey.

Steiner opted to just sit in the peanut gallery and watch the monkey madness go down.

And there was a birthday party. Lili loves throwing birthday parties for Larry in November, we´ll, now it was her turn to have everyone watching her blindly swing a bat around at mini mouse...Poor mini!
But Lili skillfully took her down without doing any serious damage, and mini got a big huge in the end.

And, it turns out, Old Town is a beautiful place at night.


Ok, Ok, I know these two were the parting shot last week, but this one was just too good to pass up. Besides, we miss our Bellingham Buddies, and this is the perfect thing to remember them by.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


KAYAKING IN ECUADOR--now this is a hell of a thing to do for the New Year!

I think on a certain level, every kayaker aspires to paddling MORE next year. Whether that means 10 days instead of 5 or 300 days instead of 250, it's an admirable New Year's resolution. This year, we had a very smart group of people who joined our New Year's trip, and therefore got a headstart on the paddle more next year goal. They all got to paddle on the last day of 2007 AND the 1st day of 2008. I can't think of a better way to start of a New Year than with a little bit of tropical paddling in Ecuador. What the? Remeber this little guy, he came to play an important role in our New Year's celebration...

We had lots of fun both on and off the water. Here is a little preview of the week's events. To start us off, we have Nick at the crux of "Random Acts" on the Cosanga River. Jordan at the bottom of "Triple Drop" on the Lower Cosanga.
Jon sailing through the hole at the bottom of "Random Acts."

Happy paddlers making their way through the last rapid before Small World's lodge ( The Cosanga is the perfect run, because after a couple hours of creeking you hit the confluence with the Quijos for a short bigger water paddle straight to Small World's front lawn. From the confluence, it's about 1 hour's paddle to our lodge, where it's just a short walk to hot showers and great food prepared by our chef Lili. Dinner this night was EXTRA special--for the New Year and all. Here is the crew enjoying lentil soup--one of Lili's many excellent receipes. Sharon and Jordan provided the life of the New Year's dinner! Way to be festive you two.

Bill Beveridge admiring Lili's decorative food presentation. That is an orange with little toothpicks of fine cheese sticking out of it. The important thing is that everyone is's hard to beat a good day of paddling followed by outstanding food and great company. Nick and Katie got into the spirit too. This is just before 9am (Small World's designated New Year hour). These two are preparing to head outside and enjoy one of Ecuador's very unique traditions--the burning of the New Year's muneca. They've got their special sunglasses to cut down on the blaze of the fire.

Ah, the little muneca looks so happy in his Z...Little does he know what awaits him. (don't worry, we let our guests paddle much better boats than our munecas).

Oh Larry, don't do it!

Every good Muneca has eventually got to go down in flames...I do miss the little guy though. You can tell he is a snowboarder--look at that grab! It just wouldn't be a proper fire if no one jumped over it.

Some of the brave (and less tired) people ventured up the hill to Borja and actually stayed up til midnight to bring in the New Year. Looks like it was a happening party up there.

And the best part about it, was that we all got to go paddling the next day! Michelle and the Jefe Chico cruising down the Piatua.

Jennifer getting a nice boof on "Discotec" rapid on the Piatua.

Holy Old Skool! Nice work Jon, I didn't know you could do that in a Jefe Grande. Nick and Chris are watching and learning.

While Chris wasn't representing old-skool-style, he did pull off some sweet cartwheels. Who says you can't throw down rodeo-style while you are creeking? Jon and Don amongst the Piatua's giant granite boulders.

Jon having lots of fun at "Slots of Fun." Sorry, I know that's a really dorky caption.
Some local kids having lots of fun too. I'm sure they're making fun of the kayakers wearing so much protective gear to go down a river that they inner tube in their underwear on a regular basis!

Bill Beveridge on one of the many boofs of the Upper Mis.

Larry and crew washing off in the crystal clear waters of the Lower Jondachi after a muddy hike in.

Katie enjoying some of her hard-earned whitewater. After about a 30 minute hike in, Larry and the Ladies (Katie, Sharon, and Hillary) were rewarded with great whitewater.
And great scenery too. Sharon and Katie frolicking in one of the many waterfalls of the Lower Jondachi.

Katie surfing it up!
Larry scouting...talking about the "sweet line."

Guides Larry and Hillary strategizing over lunch. I think they are really just debating what kind of pizza to order after boating...
Besides having awesome whitewater, friendly people, and amazing scenery, Ecuador has cool critters too! These little guys are my personal favorites. They are "tamarind marmosets" but most people just call them Chi Chi.

Hillary took this photo--I'm not sure why he is sticking his tongue out at her? Maybe he was tired of having his meal interupted by curious photographers.

And there are monkeys too.

And for all you Princess Bride fans, ROUS (rodents of unusual size). AKA Capybara, which is the world's largest rodent.
The butterflies are often attracted to kayakers with their brightly colored equipment.

Ok, enough wildlife, back to kayaking...Sharon running "Bobsled" on the Upper Mis.
Ok, enough whitewater, here is some landscaping. Nick got this panoramic shot of the lodge. Those are the kayaker cabins in the foreground and the community area/dinning room in the far right corner.

Uh, back to the whitewater...who organized this blog? Nick boofing "the boof" on the Oyacachi. We gotta come up with a better name for that one. Nick, I love your "ejector seat" rapid name, so if you've got any suggestions for this one, let me know.

Andrew weaving his way through one of the many boulder garden drops here in Ecuador. Michelle never told us the story behind this bandana, she just demanded us to take a picture with her and the bandana...We're all still wondering, so if you read this Michelle, post a comment and fill us in. Either way, it's a nice shot on the banks of the Oyacachi river.

Nick, Jon, and Darcy having a competition to see who can carry the most mud into the Upper Jondachi.
Katie and Michelle enjoying Small World's riverside yoga studio. But that doesn't quite look like yoga girls! And we see those Pilsiners hiding by your chairs.

Sharon and Jordon getting in the Ecuadorian New Year spirit. Vendors all over the place start selling various masks for people to put on their munecas to burn on New Year's Eve. Jordon had quite a collection of masks by the time he got to our lodge. Sharon, you make a particularly good Fidel:)
Thanks to Nick and Katie for being kind enough to share their photos for this blog!
Thanks to everyone on the trip for making our transition into 2008 a great one! It was fun paddling with everyone here in Ecuador, and hopefully we'll catch up with you on your local runs next summer.

Here's a toast to Small World's new guides--you both did an outstanding job! Even though you drink fruffy drinks, we still love having you around. Have fun on your travels, and can't wait to boat with you in WA.