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.
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.
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.
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.