Rio Quijos – Baeza, Ecuador


December 27, 2016

Bombon Section

Having just done the Rio Oyacachi on the 24th, I was familiar with the put-in for the Bombon section of the Rio Quijos (it is the same!). Transport by taxi from Baeza is easy and relatively inexpensive. The two Vans (elder and more junior) and I split a taxi.

Looking upstream on the Rio Quijos from below the Rio Oyacachi confluence. That is the bridge over the Oyacachi on the right.

Looking upstream on the Rio Quijos from below theRio Oyacachi confluence

The gage was actually below the stilling basin at a level below “4” making this a pretty low flow for this section. At the low flow, most of the rapids on this short section are Class III or below.

At low flows, this is a pretty typical Class II+/III rapid that we encountered.

At low flows, this is a pretty typical Class II+/III rapid that we encountered.

Except for one, which was a big class III and might be class IV at higher water. It has a big pillow and can be run cleanly by starting center and driving hard left. Rumor has it there is a nice surf wave up above…

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The elder Van riding the pillow

After the largest rapid, the river enters a cool and very pretty basalt gorge without any rapids.

Cool little basalt gorge on the Bombon section

Cool little basalt gorge on the Bombon section

There are still a few smaller rapids left, including this one where the river splits. The better channel has some chunky ledges, but the other…

Glad we took the correct (right) channel

Glad we took the correct (right) channel

The gage at the take out read “12.5” which is a lower flow as well.

Flow gage at the Bombon bridge and take-out

Flow gage at the Bombon bridge and take-out

The view from the bridge is pretty nice!

View from Bombon bridge above the take-out

View from Bombon bridge above the take-out

I carried the entire cataraft up the hill myself and deflated it for transport on our taxi. We had a little time so I layed down in the sun. Down here is much warmer than in Baeza.

Relaxing at the Bombon take-out

Relaxing at the Bombon take-out

December 28, 2016

El Chaco Section

Back for more of the Rio Quijos with the Vans and the Russian women (Anya and Lena). This is supposed to be the most beautiful stretch of the Rio Quijos, and a step up from the Bombon section. It is longer (6 miles) and has more rapids. We put in on the Sardinas Grande about 200 feet above the confluence with the Rio Quijos.

Taxi to the put-in with the Russians. The cat is underneath.

Taxi to the put-in with the Russians. The cat is underneath.

In hindsight, I wish I had followed the Russians and carried to above the Sardinas Grande. This is what the confluence looks like. Yes, I ran it, sort of, with some flintstoning…

Confluence of the Sardinas Grande with the Rio Quijos

Confluence of the Sardinas Grande with the Rio Quijos

The rapids start almost immediately and are harder than the Bombon section. There was noticeably more water in this section after rain the night before.

One of the first rapids

One of the first rapids

We stopped to scout at El Toro, the largest rapid on this run and definitely Class IV even at lower water levels. It does have a nice entry between some horn rocks right of center at this flow that puts you on a tongue that bypasses a sizeable hole. Drive hard at the bottom to avoid the toro rock.

The top of El Toro has a few ledges before the entrance slot

The top of El Toro has a few ledges before the entrance slot

Click Here for a short video of Van’s run through the upper part of El Toro.

The elder Van elected to portage and Lena swam in the “sneak” at El Toro. I picked her up on her swim to shore below, just before the next drop. A couple of rapids later, there are some chuncky holes on the left that feed into a wall. Van (elder) swam here and so did Lena after trying to roll up just at the wall. She ended up sitting on top of a rock below where Van and I got her a rope and pendulumed her into the eddy. I gave her a ride down to where her boat was. Just before entering this beautiful basalt gorge.

Beautiful basalt gorge on the El Chaco section of the Rio Quijos

Beautiful basalt gorge on the El Chaco section of the Rio Quijos

Inside the gorge were a number of small side waterfalls (very pretty) and some cool basalt formations
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After another swim down below, primarily due to fatigue and a muscle problem, the elder Van decided he couldn’t continue safely and was willing to walk out, but to where? It was better to put the kayak and Van on the back of the cat for the final 3/4 mile to the take-out. A little tail heavy, so I avoided the holes and big waves!

Giving Van a ride to the take-out. We still had about 3 more good rapids.

Giving Van a ride to the take-out. We still had about 3 more good rapids.

At the confluence with the Rio Oyacachi, there was considerably more water coming down the Oyacachi than when I ran it earlier. Anya and Van (the junior) ran on down to Bombon to get our taxi to pick us up early.

December 29, 2016

Baeza to Borja Section

Looking for something to do and with the Vans not paddling and Lena sidelined by a hand injury from a swim the day before, Anya and I elected to do the short Baeza to Borja section. The water was low, but what the heck, I made it down the Oyacachi which is steeper and tighter, right…

Putting in at Bridge #2 below Baeza

Putting in at Bridge #2 below Baeza

This run is definitely creeky at this low flow. More boat abuse ensued in the rock-choked passages of the early rapids.

Yeah, this was one of the more open rapids in this section

Yeah, this was one of the more open rapids in this section

 

Below were more boulder-choked passages and one rapid that we scouted to make sure the slot was wide enough for the cat. It was, barely…

We stopped to scout this one that was particularly narrow

We stopped to scout this one that was particulalrly narrow

More rock-studded rapids awaited until the confluence with the Rio Cosanga where we picked up a little more water. This one was particularly nice.

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The Rio Cosanga looks to be a beautiful river, perhaps I will run it next week if water levels are good. It is pretty low now.

Confluence of the Rio Cosanga and Rio Quijos

Confluence of the Rio Cosanga and Rio Quijos

The flow gage a bit further down was reading under 5 (at the bottom of the gage) making this a pretty low level to be boating this section.

Flow gage on the Rio Quijos below the Rio Cosanga

Flow gage on the Rio Quijos below the Rio Cosanga

Below the Rio Cosanga, the gradient lessened, the rapids got easier and there was more water. After about 2.5 hours we reached Bridge #4, the take-out is here somewhere. This rapid above the bridge was a nice Class III and the one below the bridge was a Class III+ at this level.

Rapid above Bridge #4 on the Rio Quijos

Rapid above Bridge #4 on the Rio Quijos

We took out at a beach below the bridge and rapid. There were lots of government workers there that liked to take pictures of us. I returned the favor.

The crew watching us land

The crew watching us land

I had to run up the road about a 1/4 mile to the mine access where our taxi went. He was right on time. We quickly loaded up the kayak and cataraft and headed back to Gina’s where I have been staying in Baeza.

All loaded and ready to go

All loaded and ready to go

All in all, a great three days boating in Baeza. It was not as cold here as I envisioned it being. Warm during the day. Boating in shorts. Just an additional layer needed in the evening and morning, but not too cold.

I’m still offering a discount on our “International Travel” cataraft package so that you can purchase at a discount and travel to Ecuador or wherever your boating desires lie in 2017! Print out your discount coupon here.

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