Winter solstice means the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere–and the longest in the southern hemisphere, giving us even more time to enjoy paddling here in Ecuador!  The effects of sunshine, the good company, the Upper Pano and the Upper Mishaulli were our excuse for not being able to stay up long enough to watch the eclipse!

The opportunity to paddle with the likes of our friend Dan Dixon does not happen often. So it was a pleasure to find him on an off day and ready for an adventure.  With some rain in Tena, the Pano had come up enough that Dan was fired up to head to the Upper Pano. And anything that fires Dan up is going to be fun. While the river was just at minimum flow, following Dan as he danced his Pirouette through tight steep rapids–stopping only long enough to say “this might just define techinical, does it not?!?” was a pleasure.

An amazng day on the Upper Pano with Dan Dixon

An amazng day on the Upper Pano with Dan Dixon

And Dan was not exaggerating when he turned to say “just wait until you see what is coming up next–and I don’t mean the rapids.”  What he meant were the gorgeous clay walls that were pastel colors of violet and orange. Beautiful!

A little seen view: the Upper Pano

A little seen view: the Upper Pano

As if a day on the little-run Upper Pano was not a treat, catching up with Abraham–who will be guiding with us this year, for a private day on the Upper Mishaulli was a treat. We always describe the Upper Mishaulli as “the river you would like to have in your backyard if you could have only one.”  There are amazing boofs, technical rapids, steep rapids, warm water and such fun.

Abraham stopping for a surf and a view on the Upper Mishaulli

Abraham stopping for a surf and a view on the Upper Mishaulli

Tough day of work in December

Tough day of work in December

What can we say–two days from Christmas and we are paddling without even a paddle jacket.  Doesn’t that make you want to join us!?!?!!?

Maybe the only downside of the Upper Mishaulli is that at the take out, there has been a bunch of construction done and the site of the infamous “boofasaurus” is gone in the name of “improvement” and “progress.”

Original site of the approach to Boofasaurus- the ultimate boof that is no more

Original site of the approach to Boofasaurus- the ultimate boof that is no more

Finishing up the day, we headed back to the Quijos Valley, encountering Volcan Sumaco majestically presiding over the Guacamayos.

Sumaco Volcano Making a Majestic Appearance

Sumaco Volcano Making a Majestic Appearance