The monsoon season has arrived, and right on schedule. Early July is when it predictably shows up, a function of moist, heated air flowing north from the Gulf of Mexico, Sea of Cortez and the Pacific. When that moist air rises along the flanks of the high mountains of New Mexico and Arizona, big thunderstorms are the result. We’ve been having some doozies lately, with boulders falling onto Hwy 68. One crushed a State Trooper car. Side canyons are flooding, which discolors the Rio Grande (and ruins the fishing). But rafters needn’t worry about the lightning that accompanies these storms, as it invariably strikes the rims of the canyon that encloses the river. Here’s a photo of a normally dry side canyon known as Petaca, that is flooding into the Rio Grande in the Orilla Verde section of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, just up the road from Pilar.
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.
In conjunction with our partners at Santa Fe Mountain Adventures, we launched our 2014 season-opener this morning (the full-day Rio Grande Gorge trip) , with the Midgen family of California. This trip starts in the Orilla Verde section of the newly-declared Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, passes through the little village of Pilar and finishes with the Racecourse rapids. Their guide today is Britt Runyon. The high temp today will be 75 degrees, with water temp of 57 degrees. What a beautiful day!