“Great day on the river. Batman says hello. Orlando was our guide. He was very knowledgeable about the landscape and we shot the Rapids like pros. Orlando was the best and most informative about the river. Highly recommend Orlando for your next trip.”
Out of the Raft at Sunset Rapid, Taos Box, Rio Grande, New Mexico
Taos Junction Rapid (aka Sunset Rapid) ends the Taos Box run on the Rio Grande, in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. It’s called Taos Junction Rapid because it’s just upstream of Taos Junction Bridge – this bridge having been named for the reason that it connected Taos and the Taos Junction station on the Chili Line, a narrow-gauge railway that once ran west of the gorge. Also, it’s located at the “junction” of a major tributary – Taos Creek – and the Rio Grande, Taos Creek being the source of the boulders that make the rapid.
In this high-water scene, Taos Creek enters the Rio Grande from the left. The big wave seen right of center is created by a large boulder that was deposited into the river by flooding in Taos Creek. This is the big wave seen in the movie that follows. Kathy Miller photo.
Taos Junction Rapid (aka Sunset Rapid), after a flood in Taos Creek that narrowed the Rio Grande. Taos Junction Bridge is seen downstream. Steve Miller photo.
Many folks ask about what happens if you fall out of the raft. My typical answer is that we usually find you. But, to be serious, the following movie shows a good example of how we get you back. Points to notice: the guest did not let go of her paddle, which she could extend back to the raft to help pull her over; she got on her back with feet up to fend off rocks; she positioned herself next to the boat so that she could be pulled back in on her back, which is much easier than trying to pull her in on her stomach; it didn’t take long to get to her and get her back in – usually the water calms down after a rapid making it easier to chase after a “swimmer”. Watch it now!
Powerline Falls with Kathy, June 5, 2017. Powerline Falls is the most unforgettable and photogenic rapid on the Taos Box section of the Rio Grande, located in the heart of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Kathy is the President of New Wave Rafting Company, and she likes to keep her hand in! After all, she’s only 66 years of age … Here, she is seen rowing the “chase boat” – an additional boat sent along as a back-up boat, on what would otherwise be a single boat Taos Box trip. In these photos, the river is running at about 2700 cubic feet a second, which is a very bouncy level. At this moment (June 7, 2017), the river continues to rise, as the newly-arrived warmth accelerates the snowmelt in the headwaters (the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, uphill of the former mining town of Creede). Who knows how high it will get this season? We’re all guessing.
This series of photos is by Britt Runyon, the Operations Manager at New Wave Rafting Company. He manages to both guide his raft and take top notch photos!
All I see is an oar!
There she is.
Past the drop, with a big smile on her face!
What else does Kathy do? Well, besides her duties with New Wave, she is the Chief of our local (Dixon, NM) volunteer fire department, which keeps her pretty busy. She just recently earned her badge as an Emergency Medical Responder, since so many of the calls that the Fire Dep’t receives are for medical emergencies (more than for fires). And in the winter she is a ski instructor at Taos Ski Valley. And what is she doing at this very minute? She’s picking cherries!
See Bighorn Sheep in the Taos Box. Many bighorn sheep, with newborn lambs, were seen on our Taos Box raft trip of 5-20-17. The sheep come to river-side at this time of the year to graze on the new grass and other vegetation just now showing up. There may be no better way to come into such close contact with these magnificent wild critters, which may be a better reason for running the Box than the whitewater itself!
Lamb, Taos Box run, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico. Photo by Britt Runyon, 5-20-17
For these wild creatures, there’s safety in numbers. Photo by Britt Runyon.
But, while speaking of the whitewater – it’s not too shabby right now! We are having, at the moment, very exciting rafting on the Rio Grande, and we anticipate yet more exciting rafting as, in the next month, the river rises to levels that exceed what we’ve seen so far this season. It’s been chilly this spring, leaving plenty of snow still in the mountains … and that snow will start melting in earnest when hot weather finally arrives (temps in the 80s). The first week in June is when the big melt usually hits, and that is just around the corner.
We’re expecting the Rio to exceed 4000 cfs, and perhaps much more than that, at the peak of run-off. Levels at or beyond 4000 cfs make the Taos Box a white knuckles non-stop roller-coaster ride, and bring the Racecourse up to Class IV difficulty. You will not forget your run through Souse Hole (on the Racecourse) at that level! And you will be insisting that your friends look at the photos of you in either Taos Junction Rapid (the Taos Box) or Souse Hole, on the Racecourse.
Call us now, and mention this blog post to receive a 10% discount on any trip. Adventure awaits!
Photos and video by Britt Runyon, NWRCo guide and photographer extraordinaire!