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!

Fall Along the Rio Grande, 2017

Fall colors, bighorn sheep, brown trout and beautiful days! All photos were taken in September, October and November of this year.

It is the riverside cottonwoods that provide most of the color at this time of year. The Spanish word “bosque” means riverside grove of trees.

The Bosque stretch

The Bosque stretch

The Bosque stretch

The Bosque is a “float” stretch, which passes by our riverside headquarters. In 2018, we will be offering a 3-mile long dinner float that will end at our cottonwood-shaded barbecue and dining area, beside a tranquil stretch of the Rio Grande.

At our landing – the destination of our Bosque float. Kathy Miller, NWR Pres., is seen in a funyak.

Lone Juniper CG, in the Orilla Verde stretch of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Rio Bravo CG, in the Orilla Verde stretch

For the first time in memory, a large group of bighorn sheep spent a number of weeks along the river, road and campgrounds in the Orilla Verde stretch. As can be seen, they did not at all mind the close approach of people and slowly moving cars.

Bighorn sheep ram, Orilla Verde

Bighorn sheep ewe, Orilla Verde

Bighorn sheep lamb, Orilla Verde

The lower and clearer waters of this time of year makes for good trout fishing. My favorite fish is the self-sustaining brown trout, which, although originally brought over from Europe, is not now stocked.

Brown Trout, Orilla Verde

Brown trout, caught on an outlandish-looking grasshopper imitation, Orilla Verde

NWR raft and fishing guide Todd Emerson, Orilla Verde

NWR raft and fishing guide Todd Emerson and his drift boat, Orilla Verde

Fall is over when the wintering bald eagles and diving ducks return (which include goldeneyes, buffleheads, ring-necked ducks and mergansers). Other waterfowl seen are the year-round mallards, Canada geese (some of which are year-round) and an occasional gadwall.

Bald eagle, along the Racecourse stretch

Goldeneye ducks, along the Orilla Verde stretch

Rainbow Trout Ranch on the Racecourse

The Rainbow Trout Ranch is located in southern Colorado, not far from the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM. We take their guests on a Racecourse raft trip once a week in the summer. These are photos of their staff getting an orientation trip, before they send their guests down.

On the Racecourse run on the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM, with guide Adrian

On the Racecourse run, with guide Adrian

On the Racecourse run on the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Smiling faces

On the Racecourse run on the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

A raft and funyaks

On the Racecourse run on the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM, with guide Adrian

A big wave at Sleeping Beauty

On the Racecourse run on the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Guide Joe, with the funny hat

On the Racecourse run on the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Bouncing around in a raft and funyaks

On the Racecourse run on the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM, with rafts and funyaks

That’s the Toilet Bowl, in Big Rocks rapid, behind the funyaker