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New Wave Rafting New Mexico Whitewater Rafting
New Wave Rafting New Mexico Whitewater Rafting
New Wave Rafting New Mexico Whitewater Rafting
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New Wave Rafting Blog

Whitewater Rafting in Northern New Mexico


New Wave Women Guides Recognized

New Wave Women Guides Recognized. The Taos News recently published “Taos Women”, a special edition magazine. An article entitled “Rough Riders” discussed women Rio Grande rafting guides. The article included the above photos of Kathy Miller, co-owner of New Wave Rafting Co, and guides Cathy Jo Robison and Karen House, along with the following text.

Bighorn Sheep and Channel Fill

Bighorn Sheep and a “channel fill” are seen in this arresting photo by Britt Runyon (below), taken in the Taos Box portion of the Rio Grande Gorge. “What’s a channel fill?”, you say?

OK, I’ll explain. But first, I need to discuss the geologic history of the Rio Grande Gorge. In this part of gorge, the Rio Grande is incised into a succession of lava flows, one sitting atop the other, like a layer cake – and I’ve counted as many as 7 different layers in that cake. Before these lava flows began, let’s suppose that the Rio Grande was running through a valley, as rivers do. The first lava flow into that valley dammed up the river, causing a lake to form behind the dam. When the lake rose to the height of the lava dam, its waters began to spill out and meander over the surface of the lava flow. Depending on the amount of time that elapsed between the over-topping of the lava dam and the arrival of the second flow, the Rio Grande would (with less time) have  cut a channel into the flow, and (with more time) cut a gorge. This same process would have repeated with the arrival of each new lava flow. The Rio finally had the opportunity to cut down more fully through that stack of layers once the lava flows stopped coming.

So, what about that channel fill? In the upper part of the photo, four Bighorn sheep are seen standing on a tan layer of rock, that looks nothing like the basalt rocks seen above and to the side (when hardened, this kind of lava is called basalt). That tan rock is, in fact, hardly rock at all. It’s dirt! And how did it get there? It’s sediment that collected in a stream channel that ran across the surface of a lava flow. The part of the channel seen in the photo narrows to the right side, being a partial cross-section of the entire channel. And then what happened? Down came another lava flow, which capped that channel fill, preserving it for all time. Additionally, the molten lava that covered over the channel fill baked that material, giving it a reddish cast.

Channel fills like the one seen here are seen elsewhere, and at different levels, in the walls of the gorge, being situated upon the top of one flow or another. They really stick out, and once you know what you’re looking for, you begin to recognize them.

Bighorn sheep and channel fill
Channel fill at the base of a basalt cliff
Channel fill at top of cliff (“X”), staining the rocks below
Channel fill (“X”)

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.

High Water and Rising, May 11, 2017

Souse Hole run, on the Racecourse, Rio Grande

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).

Guide Training Program On the Rio Grande

Guide Training Program On the Rio Grande Racecourse, New Mexico

Today, on the last day of the instructional phase of our Guide Training Program (GTP), the candidates are practicing on the Racecourse stretch of the Rio Grande, near Taos, NM. On their second run, I took the following movies at three rapids: Big Rocks, Sleeping Beauty and Souse Hole. The level is 1910 cfs, and it’s been raining most of the day, with the temps in the high 40s. Brrrrr!

Vince captaining through all 3 rapids. He has taken the GTP to get the training, without intending to become a guide. The other three candidates (Greg, Michael and Todd) intend to become guides, and will continue into the practice period. We look forward to seeing them join our guide corps.

The GTP group and Britt, after their first run

 

Big Rocks Rapid

Sleeping Beauty Rapid

Souse Hole Rapid.

 

2017 Run-off Will Be Well Above Average

2017 Run-off Will Be Well Above Average!

Run-off is predicted to be between 110% and 149% at various spots in the Rio Grande drainage of southern Colorado. See the light-blue and dark-blue circles in south-central Colorado. The peak is usually in early June – that’s when you want to run the Taos Box! Our 2017 season begins on April 15. Join our Taos Box trip scheduled for that day.

Wild Roses Along the Racecourse

Wild Roses Along the Racecourse. It’s that time of year again, when the wild roses bloom along the Racecourse. Their fragrance beats domesticated roses hands down.

Wild roses, at the County Line take-out.
Wild roses, at the County Line take-out.

The apache plume are also blooming, and the canyon grape is leafing out. The flow is 1200 cfs, and will very likely continue to rise. Here’s another photo,  that is a real puzzler.

This is a basalt boulder that is found along Hwy 68. within a quarter-mile of the County Line take-out. See discussion that follows.
This is a basalt boulder that is found along Hwy 68. within a quarter-mile of the County Line take-out. See discussion that follows.

This boulder consists of separate, individual, lava flows. Here, the boulder sits in such a way that the oldest flow layer seen in the boulder faces up (the layer to the left). The individual flows incorporated into the boulder include one whose upper surface is decorated with a swirl pattern, which pattern was created as the lava slowed down and eddied, before hardening. This patterned surface acted as a mold, when it was covered by a subsequent flow. The lowermost surface of that overlying flow is a cast from that mold. The reddish rock surface, in the center, is the cast of the flow pattern found on the surface of the older flow (hidden from view).