Welcome to Ecuador
After boarding our flight from Houston to Quito we sat watching as the baggage handlers loaded kayak after kayak into the belly of the plane. When the last carriage was opened to reveal three more fully loaded creek boats their frustration was obvious. After the captain announced that the reason for our delay was “weight and balance issues with luggage,” the WCA family on board exchanged smiles and wondered if travelling with kayaks was about to get a just a little bit harder. Fortunately, all but two of our checked kayaks were there for us in Quito.
Our first day in Ecuador was spent exploring Old Quito. Built over the top of an Inca city, Quito has an abundance of history and provided a great introduction to South American culture for many of the students. We explored the plazas and cathedrals, ate ice cream and empanadas, drank canelazo and colada morada, and recharged our batteries from the long travel.
In the evening we picked up the last of the students and the stray kayaks. We were finally all together and ready to hit the road for some kayaking. We loaded up the new, amazing trailer (Gloria) and piled into our amazing van (La Muela) to head to Tena. Once out of Quito the ascent into the Andes began and culminated in a 4000 meter pass before dropping down into the Amazonia. This side of the Andes all of the water eventually drains into the Amazon River.
Descending from the Andes into the jungle, we followed the Papajacta and Quijos rivers that we will be returning to in the next couple of weeks. After watching the whitewater pass by the window, everyone was ready to go kayaking so we dropped our gear at the hostel and suited up for the Upper Misahualli River. Ecuador whitewater greeted us with several miles of boulder gardens and technical creeking. Our new head Coach, Abe Herrera, showed us why his company is called “Boof Sessions.”
Ecuador has welcomed us with open arms. The weather is tropical, the food is good, and the kayaking is top notch. Already, this looks to be another unforgettable World Class quarter.