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Ecuador blog 7/3- Canyoneering

To begin the day, Ruby woke up the camp at 7 a.m. After the late start, the group came together to celebrate Lila’s 16th birthday. Following a breakfast consisting of fresh, local fruit, we packed our bags and hopped into the van to take us to the Amazon jungle.

We began by learning many facts about the plants in the jungle, and how the natives use them in their culture. Starting with how they use plants for medicinal or superstitious purposes or for food. Some students even tried live ants, which were supposed to taste like lemons, and Nate seemed to have devoured the entire colony. We continued our descent into the Gran Canyon, and Charlie was loving every moment of it. We were led by a local and his energetic dog, Doki.

After miles of navigating through the slippery muddy paths, we arrived at a majestic waterfall, secluded in the vines and trees of the forest. Olivia was the first to get in and swim, and she was frequently finding cool spots to jump from. Nate looked to do the same, as he made his way up to climb, and fortunately for him, Jonah was in the perfect position to catch him following a brief “misstep” from one of the rocks.

Sam took great pictures of the group, as she was keen to capture the amazing moments. Similarly, John took the GoPro with him underneath the waterfall, and filmed his point of view. More photography was on display, as Camilo showed off his incredible photography skills.

As the day progressed, Alexandra enjoyed the company of the local dogs—Doki and Muñeca—who were adventurous enough to come along with her. Towards the end, Maya encountered her biggest fear, a wild snake! After escaping the snake’s wrath, the group ate lunch at the local village, which featured great views and excellent food (amazing empanadas and watermelon). We even saw parrots on the trees, to which Camilo enjoyed taking photos of.

Finally, we made our way to the cave system. To enter, one must climb down a dark and damp ladder, which takes you into a fast-moving river in a condensed cave. The climb down went swell for all except Carson, who experienced a bay flying into her face after being startled by Alexandra’s exclamation of happiness at the sight of the creature startled it. Most of the group was challenged by the cramped caves, but Jacob had an amazing time down there.

To conclude, we hopped in the van, and made our way back to camp where we had free time for the rest of the day. Some played Jackpot in the pool while others struggled to crack coconuts. Soon enough, it was dinner time, where we ate rice and meat before we (once again!!) celebrated Lila’s birthday. We sang a song and ate cake, gave her a card, and finally went to our evening meeting. We recapped the day, recounting and laughing about our stories. To wrap up the evening, Spencer played Riptide on his guitar while the rest of the group sang along. It was fire!

-John, Alexandra, & Charlie

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