Rafting with New Mexico Wild and Far Flung Adventures

By 8, 2022

When you can’t get into the forest, you can still get on the river…if the river runs through BLM land, that is. With the national forests statewide closed due to fire danger, one must be creative to find some outdoor recreation that is still accessible. On May 28 Far Flung Adventures featured a fundraising trip on the Rio Grande: a portion of the trip fee from each participant was given to New Mexico Wild to support our statewide river protection campaigns. New Mexico Wild has enjoyed a great partnership with Far Flung for several years. Based in Taos, they offer guided boating experiences on some of the Southwest’s most popular and exciting waterways, including the Rio Chama, Rio Grande, and Gila River.

This is the description of the trip from Far Flung: “The Lower Gorge section of the Rio Grande is the most popular intermediate and family friendly day trip in northern New Mexico. Enjoy a morning spent calmly floating the beautiful Orilla Verde scenic float section and then after a tasty riverside lunch head downstream into the fun and exciting class III rapids of the Racecourse section. Those who want to spice this trip up a little can choose to paddle their own inflatable kayak!”

I joined fellow staffer Rebecca Neal and several New Mexico Wild supporters for a day on the river. We filled two rafts, and each guest wielded a paddle to help the river guide steer the boat through obstacles. We lucked out on the weather, which was sunny but not too hot. The first part of the trip was a pleasant float through a basalt canyon with beautiful cliffs and verdant green brush along the shores. Our guides were knowledgeable about the plants, animals, geology, and history of the area, which added immensely to the experience. Wildlife sightings included a large turtle and multiple families of Canada geese complete with goslings. Rebecca and I enjoyed talking with folks about New Mexico Wild’s conservation campaigns, including our work on behalf of protecting the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (established in 2013), which encompasses the beautiful river corridor through which we passed.

After a nice lunch of sandwiches and other fixin’s provided by Far Flung staff and eaten riverside at their private takeout spot, we were back into the boats for some fun whitewater action. The river was low but runnable at around 380 cubic feet per second of flow. The rapids were fun and splashy but at the low end of the Class III rating. Most were more like a Class II. Still, it was enough to get us hooting and laughing and even soaked! A stiff wind kicked up after lunch, but by then we were nearly to our takeout so only a modest amount of earnest paddling was required.

A great part of taking a guided tour with Far Flung Adventures is the friendly, knowledgeable staff, who do all the hard stuff, like managing the boats and making lunch. Beating the heat and supporting New Mexico Wild has never been more fun. Keep an eye out on our Events calendar for future rafting opportunities this summer!