ilanarama: me in my raft (rafting)
Ilana ([personal profile] ilanarama) wrote2016-09-10 05:25 pm

Chamarama

Over Labor Day weekend we rafted the Rio Chama, a wild and scenic river a couple of hours away in New Mexico. We did this trip five years ago (also on Labor Day weekend!), with a completely different group of people, and once in between then and now. The river is dam controlled with releases on weekends; though sometimes enough water flows during the week to float it, weekend launches are restricted by permit. Fortunately, our friend Jenny got a permit, and (maybe to pay us back for including her on several backpack trips this summer!) invited us along.

Not a lot to say about the trip this time, other than it was delightfully non-eventful (where event = raft capsize or camp injury or other thing you really don't want to happen). The only minor disaster happened in our second night's camp, where Ryan misplaced her iPhone and despite ransacking the camp, none of us could find it. We were preparing to leave when she jumped into the water next to her raft and started squelching around with her feet, in case she'd dropped it into the water the previous night without realizing it...and yep, there it was! AND due to its protective case, it still worked!

We did get a little rain, but it made the skies dramatic:

dark sky

There was enough water in Cebolla Creek for the little crafts (which was all but one: we were two small catarafts [I like to call them "kittyrafts"], a packraft, a duckie, an inflatable canoe, and a 14-foot cataraft) so we paddled up a ways for fun, then tied up the boats and had lunch. A little-used but well-marked trail leads up Navajo Peak, the escarpment that looms ~900 feet above the river, so we set off on the hike. At the top we had excellent views:

View from Navajo Peak Jenny on Navajo Peak

We also discovered the entrance to a strange vertical shaft in the cliff top. It looked like a natural cave, maybe - and the air coming out of it was remarkably cold! It must have had another opening near the river. We took a flash photo down into it but could only see that it curved down out of sight.

Idyllic sunny days:

boats

Camp. We are all drinking margaritas, which is possibly when Ryan, who is sitting on her green cataraft, might have dropped her phone into the water!

camp

We stopped to visit the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, a Benedictine community in the Chama River canyon. They have a few public areas, including the small but incredibly beautiful chapel - and of course, a gift shop, where we all bought little items to help support the monks. (I bought two tubes of lip balm. It's made by monks! I have holy lips now!)

Monastery of Christ in the Desert

The major rapids (such as they are; the Chama has mostly class II and a few class III rapids, which is one reason I like it so much - it's solidly within my comfort zone) all come at the end of the trip, after passing the monastery. On both my previous trips I bashed my way through Gauging Station Rapid, one of the class IIIs that has a lot of lurking rocks toward the bottom; this time I had no difficulty executing a nice run that avoided all the hazards. The second-to-last rapid - and the only one we've seen people wreck in - is Screaming Left, which as its name implies is a sharp turn next to a rock wall. Britt went through first, eddied out, and then set himself up to take pictures, and he got a nice one of me:

Ilana in Screaming Left Rapid

For those of you who aren't river runners: I entered the frame at the upper right, and the current is attempting to smash me into the rocks on the left, so I'm pointing the raft at them and pulling back hard on the oars, so as to follow the river down toward the bottom of the frame.

Anyway, great trip, wonderful people, would do again (and hopefully will)!

Group photo at the take-out

Above pictures and selected others (16 total), no words, at Flickr
All the photos (34) at Google Photos
yhlee: Texas bluebonnet (text: same). (TX bluebonnet (photo: snc2006 on sxc.hu))

[personal profile] yhlee 2016-09-11 12:38 am (UTC)(link)
Great photos--I wish I knew more about geology (like, anything at all) because those rock formations and mountains look fabulous! :D
traveller42: (Default)

[personal profile] traveller42 2016-09-12 12:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Great report, as always.

Love the pictures.

We had a large crew for our regular Labor Day trip this year. We walk over the Mackinac Bridge. The bridge itself is 5 miles. All the walking needed to get there and back makes for a good day.
traveller42: (Default)

[personal profile] traveller42 2016-09-12 06:59 pm (UTC)(link)
The bridge is 4 lanes. They close one side for the start of the Walk. The remaining side is one lane each way. Eventually, reduce the Walkers to one lane and open another lane for cars.

There have been years where they closed the Walk early due to bad weather. One year, the suspension section was moving quite significantly due to the wind (enough to add some difficulty to walking). This year was pretty good. We could tell the bridge was moving, but it wasn't an issue at all.