Day light savings time just fell back, leaves are falling off the trees and I had to start a fire in the stove to heat the house this morning. I’M HEADED SOUTH!!
Yup, time to follow the birds south, winter is just around the corner. I haven’t had to deal with winter for twenty years and don’t plan to this year either. Winter for a group of our guides including Juliet and me means packing and heading to Costa Rica until mid December and then Ecuador until the end of February. I finally get a chance to change from the office chair to a kayak seat and paddle some of the most exciting and beautiful rivers in the world. I won’t have to worry about vehicles, rafts, or any of the normal corporate business stuff that occupies my time here in North Carolina… until next March when we return from Ecuador.
I was thinking about all of this the other day and realized that we have spent an amount of time equal to seven years out of the last twenty paddling outside of the United States. In this time period Juliet and I have had the opportunity to lead some of the first commercial kayak trips on the Futaleafu and Bio Bio in Chile, the Middle and Lower Reventazon and Upper Pacuare in Costa Rica and the Quijos, Oyacachi and Mishaulli in Ecuador– just to name a few.
It is sad to that some of the classic runs that we have shared with folks have disappeared under lakes behind dams that seem to be cropping up each year in these countries. Classic runs like the Bio Bio, the Middle Reventazon and Penas Blancas are only memories that can only be run by watching the video footage from years past. Thankfully, there are still great runs to be enjoyed and more being discovered each year.
One of the features that makes our job so challenging is that even the rivers we have known for years change each year. Because they change yearly from the rainy season flooding, it is like finding all new rivers year after year to paddle. It is not uncommon to find rapids where pools were the year before and vise versa. That is what gives us the excitement to encourage our guests to come back again and again to test there skills and enjoy an exotic WARM vacation during the cold months of November through February. Of course these river changing also means that we have to send a few guides down a head of the trips each year to make sure there aren’t any bad surprises to be found. Our guides usually can’t wait to do the check out trip, and this year was no different, they were at the airport early to leave for Costa Rica. The prospect of getting out and running some of the best white water after a year of drought put a smile on both Brian and Craig’s face.
So today we once again turn over our key to a house sitter, pack our warm weather paddling gear and head for the jungle. We will be thinking of all you surviving winter back here in the States. Wish you were here with us, the weather and water is GREAT!
If you find yourself with some time on your hands, check our web site and give Brandy or Steve a call at the shop. It still isn’t too late to PADDLE SOUTH!!!