Ecuadorian Fitness Adventure

Photos from the trip can be viewed on Flickr or on the AHD Facebook page.

David and AHD were on the local news station to celebrate the end of the trip, the new construction in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, and the new collaboration with Santo Domingo’s municipality.


The Perilous Path from Mountain to Sea:  Retracing the Tracks of Pedro Vicente Maldonado

July 21st – 28th

David Gaus and AHD will celebrate the life of Ecuador’s Pedro Vicente Maldonado by hiking, rafting, cycling, and boating from Ecuador’s capital to the Pacific on an adventure trip and help our Ecuadorian friends raise the final dollars to complete the new hospital!

We invite you to take on a fundraising and fitness challenge by joining us on an adventurous trip across Ecuador’s northwest province.  The trip will raise funds and awareness for the new hospital in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, to provide high quality care to the poor.

This July, we will be retracing the steps of the historic figure, Pedro Vicente Maldonado.


See details of the itinerary here.

Would you like to donate to our hospital in Ecuador on behalf one of the adventure teams? Click here.


  • Stunning views of the Ecuadorian Volcanoes and rainforest!
  • Ornithology visit to world famous Mindo!
  • Learn the history from expert guest speakers!
  • Meet local families along the way, living as they did 300 years ago!
  • Meet mayors from towns along the path!
  • Grand Reception in Esmeraldas with their mayor!
  • Visit Hospital Pedro Vicente Maldonado and Hesburgh Hospital!
  • Appear on Ecuador’s national TV program with host Freddy Ehlers!


July 21-28, 2013


$5,000 in funds raised by each individual adventurer or team of adventurers.

Funds raised go toward the building of Hesburgh Hospital in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, to serve the poorest of the poor and to train Ecuadorian Family Physicians.


We ask that you cover the cost of your plane ticket to Quito and accommodations your day of arrival and departure. Room and board will be provided during the days of adventure.


Contact Laura Dries for more information.
(619) 788-6833

Epic History of Pedro Vicente Maldonado (PVM)

Following the conquest, heavy commerce developed in the Andean corridor that runs north and south from Lima, Peru, through all of Ecuador, and up to Cartagena, Colombia, with Europe as a final destination. However, the rainy season rendered these routes impassable for much of the year.

The Pacific held the answer, but how do you drop precipitously 10,000 ft and cross the costal swamps to the Port of Guayaquil to transport goods from Ecuador’s northern highlands?

The Spanish Crown first attempted a route from Quito through Santo Domingo to the Bay of Caracas on Ecuador’s coast, but its coastal swamps doomed it to failure. In 1735, PVM was given permission to open a trail from Quito to Esmeraldas.

Pedro Vicente Maldonado (1704-1748) was an Ecuadorian scientist who helped establish the location of the equatorial line in his country. A physicist, mathematician, astronomer, topographer, and geographer, Maldonado was the man for the job.

Quito-Mindo represented the near vertical first stretch. The second stretch bypassed the expected route including Nanegal and Gualea, instead passing through Inca Chaca. The third stretch ran through San Juan de Niguas, followed by the final fluvial route to the city of Esmeraldas via the Silanche, Quininde, and Esmeraldas rivers.

The trail was maintained until 1783 when it fell into disuse, only to be retraced 150 years later. The town of Pedro Vicente Maldonado, home to our hospital, takes its name from Ecuador’s legendary topographer and jack of all trades.

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Posted by laura in AHD's Initiatives | 3 Comments  

3 Responses to “Ecuadorian Fitness Adventure”

  1. John Nichols says:

    Through my friend Victoria Arcara I am interested in doing the July fundraising trip. I am considering taking my oldest son as well he will be 15. I wasn’t sure if that is doable and if there is an age limit to participate. Also what vaccinations do you recommend for the trip. I would also need to know what to do about the fund raising.
    Thanks. John Nichols

  2. Jean Herr says:

    Hi there,

    I am interested in joining the trip.

  3. Alana Alford says:

    We’d love to participate, but probably can’t this year. The newsletter article on Ellie was wonderful! We owe so much to the hospital! With more advance notice, we’d really like to take place in this event to raise funds for more hospitals…more ways to treat people.
    Alana and Jason Alford, Ellie and Gabe

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Andean Health & Development
UW Department of Family Medicine
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Madison, WI 53715
Email:  Phone: (619) 788-6833