Good Times in Ecuador . . .

Ecuador

Coco '16 and Cole '17, 4/15/2015
Although it's only been a week, it feels like we've already done so much, and yet there is so much left to come. Today was our rafting day, which many of us have been excitedly waiting for. We woke up at a descent hour and had our usual but delicious breakfast consisting of yogurt, granola, fruit, eggs, and home-made juice. After getting our gear packed into the van, we met up with our Irish-Ecuadorian guide Abbey, with whom we drove to the start of our rafting excursion. There we were briefed and introduced to our raft guides Victor and Julio. They both spoke some English, but we were excited to use our Spanish skills. In our boat was Victor, Reyna, Jess, Ms. Durkan, Mason, Cole, and Coco and we were named "Los monos del rio" which translates to monkeys of the river. In the other boat was Julio, Einstein, Katrina, Strider, Nicole, Eloise, and Sienna. They called themselves The Salchipapas which is a dish consisting of fries and sausage. About fifteen minutes in we began to realize why this was considered a class 3 route, when team salchipapa's boat flipped over in a large rapid. After everyone caught their breath and reloaded we laughed it off and kept going. Throughout the day many people enjoyed the cool river, whether by the rapids or by each other, it was extremely fun. We stopped on the river bank for a lunch of burritos, pineapple, and cake, had a fun mud fight, took a dip in the water, and reapplied sunscreen. As the rapids got less intense we began to find different ways of having fun, like surfing pockets of water, riding the front of the boat like a bull, and even standing up through a small rapid. As the expedition ended we were left with a sense of accomplishment as well as some slightly painful sunburns in small spots we missed, despite how much sunscreen we applied. We spent the next few hours climbing 10,000 feet to our next destination, with another rainbow painting the sky as we drove through breathtaking scenery. We got settled in at a beautiful group of cabins near some hot springs. Finally, we ended off the day by relaxing in the pools and conversing with each other about the fun that will be have tomorrow and how to continue to accomplish our goals on this incredible trip.

This trip seems to have a theme of unprecedented adventure rivaled only by the indisputable beauty of the country it is in. The surreality of each day only being outdone by the next. We have slept in clouds, observed hundreds of orchids covering the cliffs where waterfalls call home, and experienced the majesty of the amazon rainforest. We have endured and enjoyed everything around us (including each other). With all that has been accomplished, all that has to be asked is: what mysterious adventure will tomorrow bring our way?