Whitewater Kayaking in Ecuador

This November into December I spent a month traveling around Ecuador with 2 of my long time girlfriends Nicole Mansfield and Kristi Murrin. Nicole and I managed to get on the same flight in Miami to Ecuador. As I arrived to the terminal to see Nicole passed out on the floor, I looked over her to see both of our beloved kayaks – Pyranha Burn and the 9r – being loaded onto the plan to Quito, Ecuador. Success! Our boats are on the plane! It’s happening!

After arriving in Quito, we jumped in a taxi, loaded our boats and had a short 2 hour drive over the pass through Papallacta to Gina’s hostel in Baeza. The best spot in Baeza for kayakers – Gina, Don Vincent and Rodrigo took care of us like family. It’s a great place to meet other paddlers to go kayaking with and get beta. On the drive I was shocked and impressed with the sizes of the land slides and side creeks completely blown out with debris all over the road and parts of it completely gone. I understood then, there was some serious rain hitting these parts.

Gina's in Baeza, Ecuador kayaker's hostel

Gina’s in Baeza, Ecuador – kayaker’s hostel

We settled in to Gina’s and the next day started kayaking on the Rio Cosanga into the Rio Quijos. There are many sections on these rivers (like most of the rivers in Ecuador) so day by day we started checking each of them out.

Nicole and I - day 1 PUMPED we're paddling in Ecuador

Nicole and I – day 1 PUMPED we’re paddling in Ecuador

Ben Goossen & Ari Bruns on the Upper Rio Misahualli in the Napo Valley near Tena

Ben Goossen & Ari Bruns on the Upper Rio Misahualli in the Napo Valley near Tena

We paddled in Baeza for awhile and then headed to Tena – paddling a new section everyday. Along the way, we met alot of amazing friends and had many adventures. I am super greatful for all the connections I made on this trip. It was an experience I’ll never forget. Big thanks to Endless Adventures International & Boof Sessions- these guys all rock!

After following the rain/water back and forth from Baeza to Tena, Nicole and I went on an overnight trip on the Rio Hollin with the BC boyz and Abby Dent – a local badass kayaking chica who became a good friend of ours. This ‘overnighter’ took a turn that none of us were expecting, which turned it into a multi-day trip.

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Rio Holin, Napo Valley, Ecuador

The crew at the put in on the Rio Hollin, Napo Valley, Ecuador

We put on in the afternoon with the water already high and shortly after the put in, it started pouring.¬†After the first night, we woke up so PUMPED that we survived a night out in the jungle! Jaguars and Spiders and indigenous peoples Oh My! (At the take out, I was also told there were Caimens in the river) But little did we know we would also be spending the next couple nights out there too. Apparently, it is really common for flash floods and the river rising so high you have to climb up the jungle walls and wait it out. But that’s not what happened on this trip. Unfortunately, our buddy Ari shattered his knee cap that morning right before we were about to launch for a big day of paddling. This was a bit of a curveball that turned this adventure into an epic. After a few more nights spent in the jungle we were able to get Ari out of there safely. It was no easy task but we had a strong crew and that made it happen.

 

On this trip there was another incident that happened which resulted in losing a friend on the river. Taylor Hunt was an amazing paddler with a contagious smile and a golden heart. He made a huge impact on us all. Taylor will be in my heart forever, carrying a piece of his spirit on by smiling everywhere I go.

Here are some photos from my trip. All of them are blurry with water spots, taken by my point and shoot I keep in my PFD. They might not be the best quality but I love them and am grateful to have them.

 

Upper Cosanga in the Quijos Valley with the homies

Upper Cosanga in the Quijos Valley with the homies

Me - Meg Smith - El Chaco Canyon - Rio Quijos

Me – Meg Smith – El Chaco Canyon – Rio Quijos

Ari Bruns - Upper Rio Cosanga

Ari Bruns – Upper Rio Cosanga

Furry dash covers! AMAZING!

Taxi’s with Furry dash covers! AMAZING!

Nicole doing what she does best

Nicole doing what she does best

Chris Ryman & Ben Goossen Cave Rapid Rio Hollin, Ecuador

Chris Ryman & Ben Goossen- Cave Rapid, Rio Hollin

Yes!!! Love these ladies!

Yes!!! Love these ladies!

There is a calm after El Toro and it is beautiful! Rio Quijos - Volcanic Rock in El Chaco Canyon

There is a calm after El Toro and it is beautiful! Rio Quijos – Volcanic Rock in El Chaco Canyon

Curbside with the tres chicas! Nicole Mansfield and Kristi Murrin

Curbside with the tres chicas! Love these ladies!

Church tits!

Church tits!

Meg Smith getting Boof-tastic!  Photo by Chris Ryman Endless Adventures International

Getting Boof-tastic! Photo by Chris Ryman Endless Adventures International

Surf Sessions - good flows on the Rio Quijos

Surf Sessions – good flows on the Rio Quijos

Rainbows at church! Nicole Mansfield Pyranha Burn

Rainbows at church!

Geoff Steward - Rio Hollin

Geoff Steward – Rio Hollin

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Upper Rio Misahualli

Upper Rio Misahualli

Paddling with my big sista again! Kristi Murrin

Paddling with my big sista again! Kristi Murrin

Ben Goossen, Ari Bruns and Tanner Ockenden - Upper Rio Misahualli

Ben Goossen, Ari Bruns and Tanner Ockenden – Upper Rio Misahualli

Amazonian Jungle Drawings

Amazonian Jungle Drawings at the take out

... and Monkeys

… and Monkeys

And the big bub! Was scared to get to close to this guy

And the big bub! Was scared to get to close to this guy

Putting on the Rio Hollin overnighter - Nicole Mansfield, Napo Valley Ecuador

Putting on the Rio Hollin overnighter – Nicole Mansfield

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Chris Ryman & Ben Goossen - Rio Hollin, Ecuador

Chris Ryman & Ben Goossen – Rio Hollin, Ecuador

Nicole Mansfield - Ecuador

the who!

Bienvenidos a la jungla! Sleeping in the jungle with Nicole Mansfield by my side!

Bienvenidos a la jungla! Sleeping in the jungle with Nicole by my side!

Ari Bruns - Rio Hollin

Ari Bruns – Rio Hollin

Tanner Ockenden and Ari Bruns

Tanner Ockenden and Ari Bruns

Amazonian stouts

Amazonian stouts

Koby Tinker - Portage Rapid - Rio Hollin

Koby Tinker – Portage Rapid entrance – Rio Hollin

Koby Tinker - Portage Rapid - Rio Hollin

Koby Tinker – Portage Rapid beat down- Rio Hollin

Abby Dent cooking dinner - Rio Hollin night 1

Abby Dent cooking dinner – Rio Hollin night 1

Day 2 camp - Rio Hollin

Day 2 camp – Rio Hollin

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High flows on the Rio Hollin and it's pissing rain

High flows on the Rio Hollin and it’s pissing rain

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Jo Holland with the ladies  - Rio Piatua

Jo Holland with the ladies – Rio Piatua

Ari Bruns everyone!

Ari Bruns everyone!

Chris Ryman leading the way!

Chris Ryman leading the way!

Taylor Hunt Memorial Paddle - Rio Quijos

Taylor Hunt Memorial Paddle – Rio Quijos

Lower Cosanga lovin!

Lower Cosanga lovin!

Banos - swing on the edge of the world

Banos – swing on the edge of the world

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