Photo: Justin Schieble takes in a waterfall deep in the Sumacu Forest Reserve in Ecuador.
Anyone who’s rafted with Justin Schieble’s Adventures in Whitewater Rafting company is sure to leave with a lasting impression (and for good reason). With 9 years working as a guide, Schieble has amassed a wealth of rafting experience, by not only mastering the local rivers, but recently the rivers in South America, as well.
Over the winter, Schieble spent a month in Ecuador rafting up high at twenty-thousand feet in elevation, deep in the Andes mountains. The area provides an abundance of water for any rafting enthusiast: “Every mile, there’s another river,” Schieble describes. Still, the often untamed waters of the Amazon River basin provide far different challenges than those back home in Kremmling. “Water moves differently over limestone river beds than granite river beds,” Schieble explains. Not to mention the unpredictable nature of the rivers in Ecuador, due to what’s locally known as the “wall of water.” In Ecuador, daily rainfall occurring in the mountains can easily produce flash floods at any given moment, creating constant threats to rafters.
Rafting under such challenging conditions and variations in terrain enables Schieble to train his staff effectively. “Were not rafting guides, we’re river guides,” Schieble believes. Schieble teaches his guides far more than memorizing a set of rocks along a specific route. “The true art is reading the water, understanding how it will affect the boat,” Schieble explains. Moreover, his experience in Ecuador has given him an even deeper appreciation for home.
“There’s no Life Flight on the rivers in Ecuador, and the water can be swarming with piranha. I’d like to meet the trout that can bite my arm off,” Schieble laughs. Schieble is happy to be back in the place he calls home, offering any Grand County resident a 15% discount. To book your next adventure, call (970) 724-1122 or visit adventuresinwhitewater.com.