Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 45 - Baños to Alausí, Ecuador

RobT:  Last night, while walking the downtown streets of the small town of Baños,  we decided to book a white-water rafting trip down the Pastaza River.  30 USD per person for one and one half hours, plus a complete lunch.  Ten of us piled into a minibus and headed for the river deep into the canyon. We passed through several tunnels before we got there after a 35 minute ride.  Had our safety instructions in which our guide told us the 40-dollar paddle was more important than we were and to hang on to it no matter what.  Kidding of course.  The river was swollen and fast, so we were looking at class 3-plus and class-4 rapids with standing waves, deep holes, covered rocks, eddies, the whole nine yards.  There was even a section which we avoided due to the danger.  The entire ride was non stop action!!  There was maybe a minute or two between sets of rapids.  At one point one of our fellow rafters was tossed out of the boat.  Rob and I hauled her back in.  Almost flipped the raft too.  What a ride!!!  Our guide was amazing and knew his stuff like an expert.  GeoTours was the company and Andrés was our guide, if you are ever in Baños.

Sorry, another day without pictures but we do have video of the rafting adventure, although it doesn't come close to what we experienced.  I will try to upload it, but the file is rather large.

RobC:  Rob strapped the waterproof  Hero video camera to his life vest with a shoe lace - quite ingenious - and it worked very well.  Be on the lookout for this video after we get to a good Internet connection.

RobT:  We got back to Baños from rafting around 2:30, packed our bikes and were on the road again.  During the ride out of Baños we were able to see the Tungurahua volcano spewing large clouds of smoke.  This is the largest volcano in Ecuador and it was fairly active today.  Shortly after, as luck would have it, it poured rain.  The rain stopped a short while later and we decided to call it quits for the day short of our destination of Cuenca (which was also yesterday's destination), as it was going to be dark if we pressed on and the weather was not looking good.

We stayed in an old hotel in Alausí, a town famous for its train station and steel bridges from the time the steam train was active between the two largest cities in Ecuador: Quito and Guayaquil.

We have another great video, this time of the white (edit: brown) water rafting.  Sorry, the upload is way too slow so you won't see that until later.

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