Cholla Cactus Blooms in Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Early June is when it happens. The cholla cactus blooms, transforming a menacing large cactus into a marvel! This cactus was photographed on 6/9/18, alongside the Rio Grande, in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. New Wave Rafting Co travels this stretch of river in both its New Wave No Wave half-day float trip and its Monument full-day float trip. Do you want to do a sunset float trip? Just ask!

What else? Our half-day Racecourse and full-day Rio Grande Gorge trips, with optional funyaks at no extra cost! If you want to try a funyak – which are very easy to master – be sure to mention it to us when booking your trip. The river water is now warm and great for swimming. With summer temperatures here, the river is the best possible place to be!

The first photo shows the Monument Float trip section of the Rio Grande. Below the Monument Float, at Pilar, is the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic section, with the Racecourse Rapids. We’ve got it all!

The second photo is of a mayfly that landed on my hand while I was out fishing. Trout love mayflies, along with caddis flies, which are especially numerous this summer. They eat the immature (underwater), as well as the adult (on the water surface) stages of these insects. The mayfly shown here is a “Rusty spinner”, named because the mating adults spin around in a cloud above the water.

Cholla cactus and funyaks on the river, in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

This is a mayfly – trout food!

Racecourse High Water

Racecourse High Water,  May, 18 2017. Our friends from Baylor University, in Waco, Texas, returned for a Racecourse trip, and enjoyed high water … and cool temps! They, of course, survived. The river is running at 3300 cfs today, making the Racecourse a Class 4 run.

We expect the river to continue rising, what with the fact that it is still snowing in the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado! When will it peak?, everyone is asking. Well, normally, I would say the first week of June, but since the climate started getting quirky, it’s anybody’s guess.

I got to leave the office and take some pix of the group. Hope you like them!

The group, with guide Orlando Torres

A good hit in the “Glory Hole”

About to get clobbered in Sleeping Beauty Rapid

Guide Orlando Torres

High Water and Rising, May 11, 2017

High Water and Rising, May 11, 2017. The Rio Grande was running at 3400 cfs yesterday, May 11, 2017. Today it is at 3600 cfs, and continuing to rise. This is an exciting level, and makes the normally Class III Racecourse a Class IV run. Here is a shot of a New Wave raft at Souse Hole Rapid (on the Racecourse) being captained by veteran guide and NWRCo Operations Manager Britt Runyon Huggins. In the raft are two guests (from the English island of Guernsey), along with two of our Guide Training Program participants. Those participants are being joined on the river right now by our returning guides, who are doing required re-training for high water (over 3000 cfs).

High water on the Racecourse.

Souse Hole Rapid, on the Racecourse run, Rio Grande near Taos, NM

How high will the river get this season? We’re all wondering, but are encouraged by the continued snowy weather in the mountains of Colorado. It’s sure to exceed 4000 cfs, but how much higher than that is anyone’s guess. Stay tuned!

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)



Fisher&Paykel Run the Racecourse

Fisher&Paykel run the Racecourse with New Wave Rafting Co. On Saturday May 2, we were very pleased to host the Santa Fe Mountain Adventures group, Fisher&Paykel Healthcare, on an afternoon run of the Rio Grande Racecourse. 94 participants were distributed amongst 17 rafts, and we were assisted in the effort by Far Flung Adventures and Kokopelli Rafing Adventures, who provided 3 rafts and guides each. Although it at first threatened rain, the sun was out by the end of the trip. Santa Fe Mountain Adventures staff handed out towels to the crews as they arrived, which was followed by a snack of energy drinks, water, Clif Bars, cookies and chips and salsa. A good time was had by all!

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The motor coaches approach the Quartzite put-in for the Rio Grande racecourse

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Loading up the rafts






































The take-out at the County Line Recreation site


At the County Line take-out


Gallegos Family Runs the Rio

Gallegos Family Runs the Rio, 4/4/15. Pia, Alma and Che Gallegos came up from Albuquerque to run the Racecourse with us today. It was a little chillier than usual, and the river was running about 1000 cfs. Britt Runyon guided the raft.

As I drove away from the County Line, after completing the shuttle, some color caught my eye. I did a U-turn at the next pull-out and returned to the spot to see a blooming sweet vetch close up to a favorite boulder of mine. This boulder has a reddish facet that preserves the surface detail of flowing lava. The swirls seen on the rock are the flow patterns in the lava, just before it came to rest and cooled. You can see the same kinds of patterns in the lava that has poured out of vents in Volcanoes NP, on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Gallegos family. From the left: Pia, Alma and Che

Gallegos family. From the left: Pia, Alma and Che

One of the first of the Spring wildflowers, Sweet vetch blooms beside a basalt boulder. The reddish facet of the boulder shows the original swirls as the flowing lava came to rest.

One of the first of the Spring wildflowers, Sweet vetch blooms beside a basalt boulder. The reddish facet of the boulder shows the original swirls as the flowing lava came to rest.