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  ECUADOR WHITEWATER TRIPS

 

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Ed and I made it back fine - to cold Atlanta weather. Woke up this AM to  about 1/2 inch of snow, but was gone by noon.  Wanted you to know it was a fantastic trip - enjoyed it all. Thanks to all you down there for doing such a good job. Great pics online, so thanks for doing that.

-Steve Griswold, 2011

 

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Thanks for a great trip.  I had a wonderful time with you guys, again.  I especially loved the jungle lodge and the deluxe van with a standing spot for me. Thanks,
-Jennifer, CO 2010    

testi2.gifThanks again for the great week. We really set the bar high on my first time out of the US. I can't imagine a better week of paddling or a better introduction to Ecuador and it's people. You and the team are truly awesome at what you do.   
-Chas Lemley, NC 2010
 

testi2.gifReally great meeting everyone- I had a great time and keep wishing I was still there!!!!

-Scott Wolter, NC 2010 

testi2.gifWe wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone on your staff. Going into a trip not knowing a sole, having no idea where you are really going or what you might even do when you get there, is a little unsettling to say the least.  But, everyone of you made this trip comfortable, memorable, exciting and a heart pumping experience. Not only did we take a great deal of experience home with us, we took home a lot of laughs,  “Have you seen my donkey? He leaves a very distinct track.” I am in my office laughing out loud just typing that!!  Brian, and his trademark, rapid naming,  “rumble in the jungle” and subtle warnings, “There might be a hole” with his head tipped to one side.  And, the way everyone handled themselves and worked together to make this the best trip for everyone,  was unreal -  a true team at its best.

 While on our Mt. Bike ride, Chas and I laughed and said you guys did such a good job of saying our trip was an adventure and Ken quoting his definition of "adventure travel". You know,  adventure travel is something we wanted to be talking about at home all comfy on our couch - but not actually doing! Example, half-way thru the bike ride while we pushed our bikes up a hill and cussed the cobble stone road,  it was perfect! A really good note to leave on -  which is kind of sick but true. Once again we wanted to say “It was real” and “truly something we will never forget!!!”

 P.S. Don’t tell anyone but I woke up last night to Lucas on my bed jumping up and down!! Thank God it was only a dream, damn monkey. Lol.

 -Thanks the Spike Family, CO 2010

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I just wanted to say thanks again for setting up the Galapagos Cruise and biking for this trip...we saw 4 volcanoes that day and not a cloud in the sky.  It really was an amazing trip and I couldn't have done all that without you. I have been looking at my 1200 pictures and can't believe how much I saw.  It was the trip of a lifetime. I still can't believe the things I did and  how much I really liked those rivers. They would have scared me to tears a year ago. Having Angel drive me to Otovolo was icing on the cake. He is certainly a hoot and made that a great day.  I just wanted to let you know that I still feel safer on the river with you and  Juliet more so than anyone else I have ever paddled with and would  really like that PI class with you on the falls in April …Already looking for cheap plane tickets for Costa Rica next year  during Thanksgiving break, the trick is to look early.

-Mary Mills, GA 2010

 

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Hope you had a great week on your last trip of the season.  It's warming up a bit here in NC so it is making my return home a little more bearable, but I still find myself missing Ecuador! Thanks to all of you for such a great trip - it really was the adventure of a lifetime.  And thanks for all the pictures and video.  By the time I made it to our Super Bowl party I had loaded a bunch of them up on my iPod and passed it around so all my friends could see.
Well, enjoy the rest of your time in Ecuador and safe travels home!
-John McD, 2009
 

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I am back safely in the cold country, thinking back over the wonderful time we had with you and the other guests in Ecuador. I am so glad that you have encouraged me to come join you for a trip. I did get to see several of the peaks surrounding Quito on the flight out and seemed like maybe the weather is taking a turn for the sunnyness. Hope so for you and this week. It would be so interesting to paddle the Class IV stuff on the Quijos at the lower flows....maybe next year.
Have a great week, Bonny says hi. Hasta.....,
 -Jim Stohlquist 2009
 

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I am thrilled to hear about the trip and can't thank you enough for making the trip happen for Sara and Amanda. I have no doubt that Sara and Amanda jumped into each experience that was presented to them with enthusiasm, courage and curiosity as they explored Ecuador on their own and with you on the rivers. They are strong capable instructors in the program and SWEBOP is lucky to have them. I am extremely proud that they made the trip happen for themselves.
 
Thanks as always for your concern and your passion for SWEBOP, Sweet Briar College, and its ongoing success.
-Laura Staman, Sweet Briar College 2009
 

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I hope this note finds you both on the road to recovery & enjoying your final trip of the season. I just wanted to let you know that Brent and I had a great time and throrughly enjoyed the Rivers of Ecuador. Thanks for putting on a great trip!
-Brent and Dawn Davis 2008

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I'm sure I'll be on another trip again, I'm not going to wait 10 years again to make another trip south!
-Bill Mandler 2008

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Hola Amigos Mios,
I just wanted to take a moment and say thanks. Thanks not only for getting me down there but for showing me a little piece of what it's like to be you.  It really means a lot to be part of such a cool group and to be able to learn from the best.  I took away a lot from this trip, on the river and off and am glad to say it opened my eyes a lot. Most of all I wanted to thank you both for giving me something to work towards and to look forward to.  These semesters are long and hard, but I know I have something fun to work on in the near future and that makes all of the difference.  I know I have a long way to go and thanks to some of Juliet's pictures I have noticed somethings that I do when I paddle. I can start to work on them and I'm starting to get a sense as to what kind of boater I am and how to handle that and take it to the next step.  Along those lines, Juliet, really and truly, I can't say it enough, thank you for taking all of those pictures and videos.  You are amazing.  Thank you.  I've looked at them just about everyday and have learned from them  by comparing the different people and how it looks as they approached something and theoutcome.  So if I haven't said it enough before, thanks!! Ken, flatly put, thanks for being you and for believing in me and for making me want to do better.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have a boss that stands behind his employers 150% and can also be your friend, father figure, and mentor.  Being able to paddle with the two of you for two weeks, to have your help and encouragement (Juliet, thank you for being the first person to take the time to stand there and help me with my left-handed roll), and to be inspired is more than I'll ever learn in a classroom or take away from any story.  So yes, Ecuador was the perfect vacation, but also for me I wanted to learn and soak up every little detail and I'm hoping that that was just the beginning.
Muchas Gracias, Ashka Pagracho, hasta luego,
-Sarita, the daughter you've always wanted :-D

 

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Thanks for the great trip and I will be back for another—this time expect a full week out of me!! I’m going home to rest up, get strong, maybe do some tanning…and get ready for another ERA adventure. Take care and I hope to see you all again soon.
-Chris Robertson 2006

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For my first trip out of the States, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. Your service is top notch, and I will recommend you to others. Hope you see you guys state-side.
-Mark 2006

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Once again you guys are awesome at your southern trips. It’s the only way I’ll go! Thanks for making us feel so welcome down here. Your guidance on the river is outstanding. Thanks again and see ya in the States,
-Margaret Weise 2006

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Thank you for a great trip.
-Wes Dodson 2006

 

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Hope all is well. I again wanted to thank you both, as well as Doug, for an absolutely fabulous week. I know that I do not have to tell you, but the quality of the paddling that you provide access to, and support for, is just awesome. Truly one of the best trips of my life. Thanks. Jim, Ken, and I did hike to the refugios on Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. Wow, sure makes you appreciate the oxygen at sea level. The biking was quite interesting as well. The first several hundred meters on Cotopaxi was in the clouds and cold and a little damp. Our day on Chimborazo however was perfectly clear and beautiful. Saturday night we stayed at El Troje, south of Riobamba. It was at least an hour south of Ambato, a little farther than we had anticipated. They also stuffed the three of us into one very small room, marginally acceptable but at that point all that we needed were beds to sleep in. The food choices at least were more varied than trucha, pollo, o carne. We got back to Quito early enough to thoroughly enjoy the hot tub and heated pool at the Marriott. Oh yea, it did rain on us- Monday morning on our trip to the airport. Not bad!
Thanks again, looking forward to paddling with you in the future.
-Brad McGowan 2005

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We have been home for a week and we are still enjoying the glow of a wonderful trip. You guys really have a knack for putting on a great trip. Everything was perfect; all the little details of the trip worked smoothly, the rivers you chose were perfect and we both thoroughly enjoyed the biking portion of the trip. It is a pleasure to travel though the countryside with you as you spread friendship and goodwill to folks you meet along the way. It is nice to have Juliet’s photos for our slide show that our sun starved colleagues have requested. We have not forgotten about the promised fish and instructions for smoking. We came home to a cooling trend and the temperatures got down to -40°. Yeah, that is cold, colder than -20. Fortunately it has warmed up to -10°, which is a reasonable temperature for getting out. While we were out there was a big thaw that hardened the snow so we are enjoying our 3 days off (Martin Luther King Day) by traveling by snow machine to see new places.
-Devi and Hunter 2005

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RE: Ecuador - we had a great time! The weather was very cooperative, the accommodations were great, the rivers were at wonderful levels, the food was superb, and Angel was a super driver/helper. Doesn't get any better than that! Of course, the pre-trip coordination/administration you did was absolutely perfect! Couldn't have done it without you........But we had a few casualties - Bart knocked his shoulder out two days in a row, so he was grounded for the remainder of the week, and Winston had muscle spasms in his back, so he was off the river for two days as well. While I hadn't paddled on whitewater since Costa Rica in December, 2003, I felt I was able to keep up with the rest (remainder?) of the crew. I had some weather problems traveling down to Ecuador and back - missed my connecting flight in Miami on way to Quito, but finally arrived at 2:00 AM! On return flight, got caught up in the blizzard in Boston - had to lay over an extra day - finally got home late Monday afternoon. But we all had a great time in Ecuador - now all I have to do is get the guys to agree to do it again next year!
BTW, Winston's wife Nancy arrived on schedule in Quito Friday evening - they planned to tour Quito on Saturday and then head out to the Galapagos on Sunday. Also, the Hearns met us at the Embassy Hotel Friday afternoon and joined us for dinner that evening. Haven't seen them in many years! Also met briefly one other guy who was part of this week's group. So, all seems to be on track for this week's paddling - guess it will be a very small group. As I'm looking out my window, I see that it's snowing again - a few inches predicted - no big deal up here. Good day to stay indoors and write.
My very best to you..........
-John S. 2005

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Thanks so much for the great trip! And for the awesome birthday. You guys are awesome and the reason I always refer people to ERA. I hope the rest of the season is fantastic!
-Jennifer Watson 2005

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This is a long overdue Thank you note, but I wanted to let you all know how much I appreciate all the work that you did for our trip to Ecuador. I had an amazing time, and I am grateful for the way that you welcomed me into “the family” with such open arms. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of Ecuadorian culture and rivers with me. Hopefully that was the first of many future paddling adventures with you.
-Lorri Eberle 2005

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Hello, this is Darryl Krone. I wanted to take a couple of minutes to thank you for the trip of a lifetime. My trip to Ecuador, over the week of Christmas, was unbelievable. First off, I would like to commend Trish for her professionalism and most of all for making this trip unforgettable. She was so wonderful with every detail, her attentiveness made this trip most relaxing and enjoyable for me. She made sure I was up to date with every detail in case of any mix ups or in case plans changed. Secondly, the local guides, Franklin and Angel drove us around prepared lunches, loaded the boats and ran shuttle they were also great. Angel was very willing to help us with every last detail and was just a fun person to be around. He also went out of his way to fix any problems that would occur even if they weren’t his problems. Last but not least, Ken and Juliet were on top of their games at all times. They would deal with any problems and take it in stride. They always had more than one plan in case something would arise. Being around them was always pure fun. They know how to push your limits but not exceed them. To end my letter I would like to say thanks. It was unforgettable. If anyone is looking for a trip of a lifetime I will send them to you.
Thanks Again,
-Darryl Krone 2004

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Thanks for the nice postcard! I just want to say again: Thank You
Guides for another great trip! Ken, you will note that the business
didn't crater without your presence! In fact it went extremely well. I will admit that I did miss your company but I can certainly understand
the reason you had to leave. And I am sorry about your Dad. Having gone through that myself I know what a sad time it can be. It is a fine
testament to your guidance that you and Juliet have such good business and good judgment skills that Endless Rivers never missed a beat! As I
see the other outfits run into ditches I am glad that you guys are so
steady and dependable. Keep up the great work! As long as I can cut it I'll be along for the great ride with you guys! Lots of trips later,
all I can say is they get better and better. Sign me up for the next
trip!
By the way, a local kayaker, Rick Beale, says he wants to go on the
Costa Rica trip with us. He wanted to go to Ecuador and I suggested
Costa Rica first. I told him to jump aboard so you may be hearing from
him.
-TC 2004

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Thank you so much for your careful planning and safety consciousness on the rivers, as always. The river running was great, especially as we got into a little better shape and got more comfortable with the boats.
We enjoyed seeing Juliet and Craig and the group on our return from the Galapagos Islands. That trip was a fabulous experience of tame animals and birds, snorkeling, and fantastic volcanic features. We may try to go back next year. Ursy ended up with about 15 gigabytes of digital photos, and is waiting for her new computer to fully evaluate the images.
I looked into the reported eruption of Volcan Sumaco near Tena thru the geologists in the Smithsonian volcano watch group. They checked with volcanologists in Ecuador, who said there was no eruption there. So what Jack Rodriguez related may have been a report about another volcano, perhaps Sangay, which was showing activity in mid January.
I also looked for info on the earthquake that you felt in the Baeza area. I had written down the date as Jan 3 or 4, but in the USGS- NEIC list on the USGS website, I found only a Jan 8 quake in that area. That quake was magnitude 4.6, depth 10 km, and centered 14 km south-southwest of Baeza and 4 km west of Cosanga. That certainly is large enough and close enough to be felt!! That database does not have anything about whether the quake was on a known fault; the Ecuadorians might have more info.
We hope that you still will be able to do a presentation in the DC area, and of course you are welcome to give it at our house.
Best wishes,
-Carter and Ursy 2004

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Just wanted to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for spending as much time with me as you did, working on my skills and helping me build a strong foundation for many, many years of future kayaking adventures.
You both are incredibly generous in sharing your vast knowledge of kayaking, culture, socio-economic-political perspectives and worldly wisdom. You make an excellent team, plus you are a blast to hang out with!
I admire what you’ve built, your lifestyle and your outlook. You are a very special couple and I ma honored to have hooked up with you. You guys can tag team me any day! See ya in North Carolina (or Costa Rica) one of these days, or who knows-maybe back on the Rio Quijos!
Best – Maile B. 2004

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Just wanted to say again what a great time we had being with you in Ecuador. I don’t know if you even remember telling us when we were with you in Costa Rica in 1997 (I think?) how great Ecuador was. You were just starting to check things out in Ecuador that year and you told us to go to Ecuador with you the next year. Well, it took us about 5 years, but we finally did it.
Ecuador felt like the “next level” from Costa Rica…a little more water and a lot more adventure.” I guess Craig and Ryan weren’t used to a whitewater group as laid back as us. You guys are so easy to work with and a blast to be with. It was a great vacation!
I know that you guys would never run anybody else down, but I couldn’t help but notice some of the other groups we crossed paths with. IMHO, we were better equipped, had more and better guides and stayed in nicer places. I have always recommended Endless Rivers as my choice to go south with in the winter. This past Ecuador trip was simply another reinforcement of that opinion. AS the group “organizer” I found it easy to communicate with you and your staff. We had the tape, the brochures, the letters and all the details necessary to plan and prepare for the trip. When things went completely nuts with the airlines and the baggage, Ken really stepped up to the pate and hit a homerun as far as I was concerned.
As a person who is also in a service business, you’re not selling the trip, you’re selling your service. I expected to be treated well. You guys created, what in the service business is called a “Wow!” moment. That’s when you provide a service that is so over-the-top, the customer can only go, “Wow! I’ll never do anything like this with anybody else but there people.” When Ken and I had to go to the airport and had to deal with the Ecuadorian airline agents on several different occasions (i.e.: lost baggage, cancelled flights), it felt like scenes straight out of Proof of Life. I was the hostage in Ecuador and Ken was my Russell Crow. I would say that Ken went the “extra mile,” but since it involved several hundred miles at 3 in the morning, that would be understating. I consider you both paddling friends,too, but none of my paddling buds would lend me their gear and go hassle with the airlines until midnight and drive me gear over the mountains in the wee hours of the night.
I would imagine that a l lot of your clients are hard-core paddlers and that’s all that they want to do. Anyone going on an Endless Rivers trip should open themselves to all that you have to offer. The best part of paddling in another country is immersing in the culture, going native, seeing the sights, eating the local cuisine, checking our the locals, etc.. Nobody does it better than Endless Rivers.
I wrote this to be used as a testimonial and I hope you will use it. I promised you a set of pictures and I have them. There are 400+! If you really want the entire set of prints, I’ll send them. Hopefully, you will find the enclosed cd-rom power point presentation more convenient to view and to store. I made this as a program for our canoe club. Hopefully, you or somebody you know will have Microsoft Power Point. Looking forward to seeing you on the river this spring.
SYOTR!
-Sonny Salomon, 2002

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"Just a note to tell you what a great trip we had in Ecuador! You guys did an excellent job and have really found a winner with the location".
-Tim Taylor

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"I also want to say that I dearly love both Ken and Juliet. They are exceptional folks and I would gladly go to the ends of the earth with them, knowing that we would make it somehow!
-Tom Cowden

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Joy and I had a great time in Ecuador. What can I say, great water, great company, great scenery...The whole trip really exposed us to the beauty of Ecuador, its people, culture and landscape. I hope that sometime soon we will be able to repeat this trip.
-Robert and Joy Kearse

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Good guides and great friends make these trips, and Ecuador was no exception. The diversity of the country is fascinating, geographically and culturally; the people have beautiful faces, a portrait sculpture's dream. It felt nice to be in small towns where people wave to each other and on rivers where the barefooted fisherman hefted his catch from inside his dugout so that we could share his excitement.
-Mike Markels




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