Another recurring feature of the Guide Rendezvous (which is held in conjunction with the Mothers’ Day Whitewater Festival) is the Geology Float, with Paul Bauer. Paul is a Professor of Geology at New Mexico Tech and author of the authoritative Rio Grande Guide. It is the aim of the New Mexico River Outfitters Association, the sponsor of the Guide Rendezvous, to educate our guides in all aspects of the river story, so that they can pass along to guests accurate and interesting information about the river. These photos are by Kathy Miller.
Today, the world-famous Pilar Yacht Club hosted a benefit breakfast for the Rio Grande Whitewater Festival. Pilar is the gateway to the lower stretch of the Rio Grande that is contained in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, also known as the Orilla Verde Recreation Area. Just look for the Pilar Yacht Club, which sits at the junction of State Hwy 68 and State Rd. 570, which leads you through the Monument. After yesterday’s rain, hail and snow, today is warm and beautiful.
Dutch Oven Cook-off, May 8, 2015. A dutch oven is a large cast-iron pot that is heated with coals placed both below and on the cover, and has been a staple of river cooking forever. The Dutch Oven Cook-off segment of the annual Rio Grande Rendezvous provided some very good eating! The winning dinner was a completely authentic paella. The rice was flavored with saffron (without which no dish can be called paella) and was topped with mussels. Bravo to the cook, a kayaker participant by the name of Chad, from Santa Fe. Congrats to John Seiner, of Kokopelli Rafting Adventures, for organizing the Rio Grande Rendezvous, and thanks to our BLM partners for the use of the group shelter at the Rio Bravo campsite, in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Stay tuned for additional posts from this year’s Rendezvous.
New signs are being put in place in the newly declared Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Here’s a sign in the village of Pilar, directing drivers to the wonderful series of campsites that are found along the river in the Orilla Verde section of the Monument.
Earlier this month, the New Mexico River Outfitters Association (NMROA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held our annual River Guide Rendezvous, in conjunction with the annual Mothers Day Races. Cooking in a dutch oven is a staple of overnight river trips, so we have a dutch oven cookoff at this event. All entries were delicious, and all tied for first place! This event took place at the Rio Bravo CG, in the Orilla Verde section of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. As always, it was both fun and educational.
Spring is springing along the Rio Grande. The wintering bald eagles must have heard the predictions for an early Spring, because they up and left in the first half of March. The other winter residents – the golden-eye ducks – left shortly thereafter. The mallards and Canada geese appear to have become non-migratory year-round residents. Mergansers are now showing up, and I spotted a pied-billed grebe that I have not seen here before. I heard a peep behind me, and turned to see the bird swimming between myself and the shore. A day later, while standing on the shoreline, an otter popped up 30 feet away and went back under immediately, but we (myself and friend John Lopez) saw the otter swim across the river not far downstream. Yesterday I saw the first golden eagle, having seen a prairie falcon circling around the cliffs earlier. There is a fairly tame pair of western bluebirds now hanging out at the Rio Bravo CG in Orilla Verde, along with a downy woodpecker and other songbirds. I believe the bluebirds will soon continue to the north. Two days ago I saw the arrival of the first broad-tailed hummingbird, which caused me to run into the house and ready the feeders. Today a black-chinned hummingbird showed up at the feeders. Other songbirds now around are dark-eyed juncos, white-crowned sparrows, Say’s phoebes, yellow-rumped warblers, canyon towhees, and I expect some grosbeaks and western tanagers soon:
The water temp in the Rio Grande is now around 55 degrees, and mayflies and caddis flies are showing up – but not yet in sufficient numbers to constitute a “hatch” that brings trout to the surface, to feed in wild abandon. So, while I await such an event, I’ve had to resort to fishing nymphs. I’ve caught a few brown trout on a large, heavily-weighted olive Double-hackle peacock. Here’s a couple of those fish:
Otherwise, we start rafting on the 18th!!
The monsoon season in New Mexico is causing the Rio Grande river to rise! It’s now above 300 cfs (cubic feet per second), and looks to keep rising, as it continues to rain in Colorado and New Mexico. We’ve seen the Rio Grande quadruple in volume in past years. Come on out!