The lower run on Ecuador’s Cosanga River is often described as a continuous version of the Chattooga’s Five Falls…without the two-mile paddle at the end.  Instead of the two-mile flat water paddle across the lake, you paddle into the Quijos River for a few more miles of big water fun before the takeout.  The Cosanga is a run that can take as much  time on the river as you want depending on the amount of scouting needed.

Today we flew in formation.  You can do this when you are paddling with familiar buddies on the river. Flying in formation is way different than the duckling formation (meaning a group that is paying strict attention to the line the “mother duckâ€? has taken through the rapid).  Usually done on a tighter run, formation paddling is when a small group all agrees on the same line as they head downstream; it appears they are reading each other’s thoughts through the rapid.   Particularly enjoyed by southeastern boaters—this is a great way to paddle a river if you trust your group and are on a familiar run.

While the day started out rainy and cold, about the time we hit the Quijos River at the end of the run, the sunshine and blue sky came out again. What a day!  With the afternoon still free, we split up for some mountain biking and fly fishing expeditions.

While we were busy running the Cosanga, our compatriots Brian and Matt are off on a bit of an exploratory of the headwaters of the Oyacachi River.  Packing sleeping bags, tarps and food for a couple days, they headed off yesterday for the town of Oyacachi.  While not a first-descent, this is a trip few paddlers do when they travel to Ecuador. 

Visiting the town of Oyacachi actually takes permission.  Oyacachi is a quaint village tucked away up in the Andes just to one side of Antisana Volcano.  The town is totally off the grid with their own waterworks system and it seems a bit detached from the rest of the world.  This does not mean they do not welcome visitors—the time we visited villagers went out of their way to greet us on the street.  They just do not want unwelcome visitors.

With permission from the municipalidad, supplies for a few days, and creek boats loaded, Brian and Matt headed off yesterday to descend the headwaters of the Oyacachi.  The fact that the headwaters are described as “very steepâ€? is given perspective if you have paddled the main section of the Oyacachi (which we do at every opportunity).  The main Oyacachi run is no slouch run itself—steep, continuous, necessitating boofing and weaving moves for most of the probably ten miles. The best boof of the day is at the final rapid on the river where you do a (mas o menos) nine foot boof into a busy rapid that wraps up the run.  So what Brian and Matt need is no rain (no necessary on a steep run such as this), some good meals over the campfire and a little patience as they paddle their way back to the Quijos Valley.

We hope that our two compatriots are having as much fun on their exploration as we are paddling this week!