Taos Box, 5-28-14

This is our third day in a row of running the Taos Box. We had a very short Box season in 2011 and no Box season in 2012 and 2013. I (Steve Miller, VP) joined the trip as a safety boat, with Orlando Torres riding with me. The level, around 8oo cfs was perfect. The weather was neither too hot nor too cold. We made a short stop at Manby Hot Springs, with no one else there. One pool was very warm and enjoyable. We saw a few western tanagers, cliff swallows, white-throated swifts, 2 groups of bighorn sheep and a large beaver, sitting at the entrance to his burrow. Mayflies, caddis flies and stoneflies were all hatching, here and there. Apache plume (bush with a white flower) was in bloom all along the riverside. I brought my waterproof point and shoot Lumix camera, and took photos until the point that I handed the camera to Orlando, who could more easily photograph the rapids than I, with my hands on the oars. Here’s 50 photos, which (in my opinion) do a pretty good job of showing off the Box.

Orlando on the left, me on the right, at the put-in

Orlando on the left, Steve on the right, at the put-in

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

Manby Hot Spring, upper pool

Manby Hot Spring, upper pool

Manby Hot Spring, lower pool and wagon axle, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Manby Hot Spring, lower pool and wagon axle

View back at Ski Jump rapid, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

View back at Ski Jump rapid

View upstream at the Ski Jump beach, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

View upstream at the Ski Jump beach

Lunch at Ski Jump beach, and the High Bridge downstream, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Lunch at Ski Jump beach, and the High Bridge downstream

Flowers and foam, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Flowers and foam

The other raft was captained by Neil Oberheide. Here, they are surfing the hole below the bridge

The other raft was captained by Neil Oberheide. Here, they are surfing the hole below the bridge

View upstream to the gully created by the fault that the river follows here, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

View upstream to the gully created by the fault that the river follows here

The "dead car", on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

The “dead car”

Bighorn sheep, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Bighorn sheep

Steve Miller, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Steve Miller

Powerline Falls, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Powerline Falls

Powerline Falls, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Powerline Falls

Powerline Falls, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Powerline Falls

Powerline Falls, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Powerline Falls

Entering Rockgarden Rapid, the trickiest of them all, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Entering Rockgarden Rapid, the trickiest of them all

Rockgarden Rapid, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Rockgarden Rapid, with the Fishhook Rock on the right, Sieve Rock ahead and to the left

Camel Rock dead ahead, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Camel Rock dead ahead

Passing to the right of Camel Rock, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Passing to the right of Camel Rock

Upstream view of Camel Rock, behind me, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Upstream view of Camel Rock, behind me

Neil's boat approaching  Camel Rock, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Neil’s boat approaching Camel Rock

Neil's boat, about to pass between the Sharkfin Rock (photo left) and the Broach Rock (photo right), on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Neil’s boat, about to pass between the Sharkfin Rock (photo left) and the Broach Rock (photo right)

Neil's boat exiting the rapid, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Neil’s boat exiting the rapid

Buzzsaw Rock, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Buzzsaw Rock

Big Ugly Rock, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Big Ugly Rock

Big Ugly Rock, view upstream, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Big Ugly Rock, view upstream

Kathy's Cleaver, named for NWR President Kathy Miller,. on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Kathy’s Cleaver, named for NWR President Kathy Miller

Old Fogey Rock sits at the  foot of Boat Reamer, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Old Fogey Rock sits at the foot of Boat Reamer, and is why the rapid is so named

Punk Rock, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Punk Rock

The Gut, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

The Gut

Upstream view rounding the corner of Screaming Left,  on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Upstream view rounding the corner of Screaming Left

In the Boulderfield, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

In the Boulderfield

Miller Time, in the Boulderfield, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Miller Time, in the Boulderfield

Screaming Right, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Screaming Right

View back upstream of Screaming Right, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

View back upstream of Screaming Right

View upstream of Screaming Right, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

View upstream of Screaming Right

 

Taos Junction Rapid, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Taos Junction Rapid

Flow surface on a basalt boulder, Taos Junction Rapid, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Flow surface on a basalt boulder, Taos Junction Rapid

 

View upstream of Taos Junction Rapid, on the Taos Box run of the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

View upstream of Taos Junction Rapid

Rio Grande Spring 2014

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:

Western bluebird along the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Western bluebird

Yellow-rumped warbler, along the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Yellow-rumped warbler

House Finch, along the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

House Finch

Dark-eyed junco, along the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Dark-eyed junco

White-crowned sparrow, along the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

White-crowned sparrow

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:

Hefty brown trout, from  the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Hefty brown trout

 

Brown trout, from  the Rio Grande river, near Taos, NM

Brown trout

Otherwise, we start rafting on the 18th!!