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New Mexico Report 2010.

We arrived in New Mexico the following afternoon and connected with Chris Roberts - a friend from NC who was out touring around as a rep for Pyranha. Chris had been in the area for a few days running the Embudo and was willing to meet up with us for a run on the Pilar section (River Gypsies Run #161) to shake out the kinks from our drive. The desert sun was beating down on the black volcanic rocks along the river, heating it to very comfortable temps. Shorty time! We had some great surfing in the sunshine:


Andria and Chris readying the playboats.


Andria firing up a desert stern squirt.


Chris doing some yard work on Sleeping Beauty in his Mow-Lawn.

That night we camped at the Lower Taos Box take-out, enjoying a beautiful desert evening and resting up for the Embudo (RG run #158) the next day. The level promised to be a nice medium, but the weather didn't hold quite as warm and nice as we had hoped. We headed over to local guru Atom Crawford's house (the take-out) to meet up with our crew: Atom, Adam Elliott, Marcia, and Aren Rane - who would be celebrating his birthday on the creek.


Loading up and getting ready at Atom's place.
Photo by Adam Elliott.


Marcia getting down to business in her truck on the put-in road.
Photo by Adam Elliott.

What we found in the Embudo lived up to every expectation of this legendary creek - a steep walled canyon with nonstop action as the tiny stream raged through one of the cleaner riverbeds in the rockies. This creek is a must-do for traveling creekers!


Having a break and a scout above the aptly named "Long Rapid."


Adam, Aren, and Marcia heading off into the top third of Long Rapid.


Adam running MJ.

Adam's gallery of photos from that day, including some shots of myself and Andria, as well as shots I took at Cheesegrater with his camera can be found on facebook:
Facebook Album.

The end of a day of paddling on the Embudo is often hanging out at Atom's house for beers and tall tales. Atom is the host with the most in NM, and he throws a hell of a campfire.


The fire getting started in Atom's yard.

The next day we needed a break for rest and work. We did take in some more cool desert sights as the weather rolled by Atom's house at the mouth of the Embudo canyon.


Rain over the hills.
Photo by AD.


Aftermath of the storm seen from the Gypsy Van door.

After our day of rest and work, we headed out again with Atom, Marcia, and Adam for a run on the Upper Taos Box (RG Run #159). This one was a beautiful desert canyon with a boulder style creeky river running through it - making for another incredibly scenic and fun day in the desert.


Looking upstream from the start of the hike in to the put-in.
Photo by AD.


Adam Elliott boofing the first big one.


Atom doing the same.


Marcia styling the one that ate me - can't remember the name, but I should.


Andria exiting the hole that ate me, with Adam holding safety by the horrible sieve.

When I ran that rapid, I wanted to clean up the line and not boof the top drop far left - which dropped you onto a few rocks. I wanted to boof over the hole in the middle and ride up a curler, keeping my angle right and away from the sieve at the bottom. I told Atom and Marcia this separately, and they each told me that the hole was pretty bad, and that I should stay away. Hubris prevailed, and I went for the hero line. I nailed the boof just how I wanted, flying out onto the curler and heading straight for easy street. As my momentum stopped and I slid backwards down the curler and into the maw of the hole, I was having second thoughts. As I sank into the pit of the hole and realized how much worse it would get if I got sucked into the meat on the right where it was backed by a HUGE undercut rock, I knew it was time for an aggressive out-of-boat maneuver. Not to worry, I've had years of practice at whitewater swimming. I pulled, went deep, and came up swimming as hard as I could right to miss the sieve. I rode up on the rock that split the main flow from the sieve flow, pushed off and leaned my weight right, and made the move around the sieve before looking up for the two ropes flying toward me. It's good to have solid friends! It was a serious swim in a really nasty place, and has the gremlins in my head still haunting me a bit weeks later. I'll probably be a bit more conservative while I work through the how and why of that swim, and what I need to do to avoid putting myself in that position again.

All was recovered in a couple of minutes, though, and we headed off for more fun in the Taos Box.

Big thanks to Atom for his hospitality, and for showing us some of his local whitewater treasures!!

With NM pretty well wrapped up we headed north to Colorado, where I had an American Whitewater board meeting on the weekend.


Atom heading down the Taos Box with snow on the peaks in the distance, and a sliver of moon hovering high above.