Rio Quijos (Baeza to Borja)
|Stretch:||Bridge #2 to Bridge #4|
|Difficulty:||Class III to IV|
|Flows:||No gauge. Visual only…|
|Gradient:||108 fpm for 3.5 miles, then 70 fpm|
|Put-in:||Bridge #2 just below Baeza on E45|
|Take-out:||Bridge #4 on the side road in Baeza|
|Shuttle:||7.0 miles on good road then a good dirt spur for a mile|
|Featured in Video World Kayak Blog Guide|
Ecuador 2013 Day 4:
Our fourth day started where our third day finished, at Bridge 2 on E45 outside of Baeza. The idea this day was to paddle three sections of river down through Chaco Canyon. The book said this should take ~6.5 hours… which perhaps if you were at your limit that would be the case. Diane and I however told our cab drive 3.5 hours which we thought would give us plenty of time even with getting out to video. It turns out we should have gone slower as even then we arrived a half hour early. Oh well. The pace of the river is nonstop so floating is not really an option, and due to a colder day we were paddling to stay warm as well… now we know… at the sections above and below and really fill out the day!
The run starts off with a bang. The hardest rapids are all between put-in and bridge 3. Once the Cosanga comes in on the right the river takes a step down to class III at most. Although none of the rapids in the upper section stick out particularly in my mind, I do remember it was in total a lot of fun and worth doing.
Also, lots of people just eat breakfast at Gina’s in Baeza. But there is a great place two blocks up and one to the right from Gina’s with a wonderful garden and veranda overlooking the valley. Worth checking out for sure, plus really good breakfast.
Also, as this area is popular, I am sure all of the rapids on these rivers have real names… but I don’t know them.
- The rapids tend to be long continuous rapids and that occasionally get harder near the bottom. The miles fly by in this section and the rapids are evenly spread throughout the top half.
Ends with a Hole (III to IV). A long boogie rapid leads to a large river wide hole. We were in the right channel and stayed on the right side of the hole.
Boogie (III to IV). Several non-descript boogie rapids give you plenty to focus on.
Tooth (IV). A rapid with a pretty ugly tooth rock on the right poses the largest technical challenge. A hole in the center blocks sneaking around it. So you must drive right to left in front of it. It is an ugly rock.
- The Rio Cosanga enters on the right marking the end of the hardest rapids. Just downstream is a fun boof though.
Boof (III+). A really fun boof is at the bottom of the first rapid below the confluence. The main channel goes too… but on the right side there is a nice rock to grind up on.
Take-out: Halfway between Borja and El Chaco you will cross the Sardinas Grande which is a small creek. Just past the creek there is a dirt road that leads down quickly to the water. From the river it would be hard to recognize as there is gravel mining there and the access is hidden behind an inlet. So you might scout the take-out before putting on.
Put-in: In the town of San Francisco de Borja take a right in the main area of the town to head down to the river. The square opens up to a dirt road that heads ~1 mile to a bridge over the river. Put-in on the far side.
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