Guide Training Program On the Rio Grande

Guide Training Program On the Rio Grande Racecourse, New Mexico

Today, on the last day of the instructional phase of our Guide Training Program (GTP), the candidates are practicing on the Racecourse stretch of the Rio Grande, near Taos, NM. On their second run, I took the following movies at three rapids: Big Rocks, Sleeping Beauty and Souse Hole. The level is 1910 cfs, and it’s been raining most of the day, with the temps in the high 40s. Brrrrr!

Vince captaining through all 3 rapids. He has taken the GTP to get the training, without intending to become a guide. The other three candidates (Greg, Michael and Todd) intend to become guides, and will continue into the practice period. We look forward to seeing them join our guide corps.

The GTP group and Britt, after their first run


Big Rocks Rapid

Sleeping Beauty Rapid

Souse Hole Rapid.


Guide Training Program On the Rio Grande, New Mexico

Guide Training Program On the Rio Grande, New Mexico

This is our 35th year of operating our Guide Training Program. Seen here are our trainees for this year, with Instructor Britt Runyon Huggins, Operations Mgr.  for New Wave. The trainees start with 4 days of on-the-water instruction, which ends today, April 25. This will be followed by a practice period that  should ready these candidates for guiding by the end of May. This footage was taken on the Orilla Verde stretch (Class 2), of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, where, on their first day of training, the trainees were learning and practicing fundamental maneuvers. They are now practicing on the Racecourse stretch (Class 3), our most popular run, and will do three trips today. We consider 20 trips on the Racecourse to be the minimum necessary to adequately prepare a guide trainee, and many trainees will do considerably more.

From 2008, trainees practice surfing the raft on the Racecourse stretch

What might the Racecourse look like this season? We expect it to get quite high, and, when and if it does, it becomes Class 4 in difficulty.

Mile-long Rapid on the Racecourse section, at high water (Class 4)

After completing the program, the trainees will receive the required First Aid and CPR training, and are then ready to go. Their first assignments will be to do trips on the Class 3 Racecourse trip, which we operate twice a day. This year’s trainees (Greg, Todd and Michael) are particularly likable individuals, and we look forward to adding them to our guide corps. And we know that our guests will enjoy them, as well. Hope to see you soon!


2017 Season Opener

2017 Season Opener.

With the river running at 700 cfs, we had 11 guests do the PM Racecourse with us on April 11.

The Pittman party (Britt Runyon photo)

A Pittman (Britt Runyon photo)

As regards the coming run-off on the Rio Grande, the snowpack is now at 135% of average, with the peak flows projected to be between 4000 and 8000 cfs! This run-off situation is being compared to that of 1985, which was huge. The peak will probably occur in the first week of June, so you high water addicts should start booking those dates. They will go fast, once the word is out.

The Rio Chama will also have high water, with 135% of average snowpack.

Meanwhile, the Racecourse becomes Class 4 at the higher flows, and may be considered as hard or harder than the Taos Box at max flows. This will require that we raise the minimum age of children on that run, as the water rises. Please inquire!

Mile-long Rapid on the Racecourse section, at high water (Class 4)



2017 Run-off Will Be Well Above Average

2017 Run-off Will Be Well Above Average!

Run-off is predicted to be between 110% and 149% at various spots in the Rio Grande drainage of southern Colorado. See the light-blue and dark-blue circles in south-central Colorado. The peak is usually in early June – that’s when you want to run the Taos Box! Our 2017 season begins on April 15. Join our Taos Box trip scheduled for that day.

Snowpack percentages

Snowpack percentages

Powerline Falls in the Taos Box in high water

Powerline Falls in the Taos Box in high water

Rio Grande Wildlife

Here are links to posts about Rio Grande wildlife, by Steve Miller, VP at New Wave. Bighorn sheep, otter, sharp-shinned hawk, Canada geese, bald eagle! All seen and photographed in and around the Orilla Verde section of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, in early December, 2016. Watch at least the first 4 and a half minutes of the bighorn sheep movie, to see young sheep raising a ruckus. You’ll love it!

Bighorn Sheep Put On a Show, Rio Grande Gorge, NM

Rio Grande Wildlife, December 5, 2016

2016 Season Ends

Thanks to ALL of our wonderful guests who make this vocation of ours so fulfilling. Our 2016 season in now over. And guess what some of us are doing next? Yes, we’re going rafting – and this time for 21 days in the Grand Canyon! We launch on Sept. 17. This will be my 17th trip, with Kathy Miller and Britt Runyon close behind.

Cover of my iBook, on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

Cover of my iBook, on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

Here’s the link. It only costs $5.99:

Come rafting with us in 2017 and ask about our adventures in the Grand Canyon!

The Chama Mama trip – 3 days in the NM wilds

On the weekend of Aug. 19-21, we had a full house of 16 women participate in the Chama Mama 3-day Chama Wildermess trip, a New Wave tradition. The four staff were: Kathy Miller, Pres. of New Wave, CJ Robison (who has been with New Wave for over 10 yrs.), Elisha MacArthur (guide from the Arkansas River) and Lorie Bonds Lopez, formerly an Outward Bound course leader. The group had good water and not much rain! Here’s what the group organizer has to say:

“Hi Steve,
This was another major-ly successful and supremely wonderful “Chama Mama” ladies trip! My group was so happy and are still talking about it. It was so great to see Kathy again and CJ, Elisha and Lorrie were so much fun and so capable….even the “timid” in my group felt completely safe and cared for.
We will do this again, for sure.
Thanks again,
Chama Mama trip

Chama Mama trip

The staff: Left to right: Elisha, Kathy, CJ and Lorie

The staff: Left to right: Elisha, Kathy, CJ and Lorie

The Chama Mamas

The Chama Mamas