Thursday, September 29, 2016


Rio Chama - Aragon Rapid

Evy and Benz made three "practice" runs through the rapid on the afternoon of our layover day at Aragon Campsite.  Actually, they were just out to have fun.  On their first try, they did an almost 180-degree spin move in the eddy just above the rapid to briefly face upstream before quickly reversing to face forward again (I could almost hear each of them saying "I meant to do that"), then ran cleanly through on the quieter right side of the rapid, as shown above.

On their second run, Evy and Benz wowed the onlookers by executing a full 360-degree spin move just above the rapid (see above).  At the last second, they then avoided the "meat" of the rapid by slipping their canoe just to the right of the submerged boulder on the right side of the rapid, before pulling hard over to the shore, as shown below.

So what did they do on their third run?  Well, given the title of this blog post, I can't show you that now.  But stay tuned!

Note:  Click on a photo to enlarge.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesday Wildlife

A female common merganser (Mergus merganser) swam quickly towards the shore as Kathy and I floated past it on the Rio Chama on September 3.  Trying to guide the cataraft and handle my camera at the same time meant I had to settle for a less-than-clear photograph.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016



Rio Chama - Aragon Rapid


Are we having fun yet?

Kelly made a trial run with an empty kayak through Aragon Rapid on September 2.  Just to be sure, he did it three times.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Sunlight


Ghost Ranch Sunset

On Labor Day, Kathy and I bid a reluctant farewell to the Rio Chama and drove the short distance to Ghost Ranch.  Well, perhaps not so reluctant given the prospect of a warm shower after six days on the river!

We arrived a few minutes past the dinner closing time of 6:00.  The person at the registration desk called the dining hall staff, and they kindly agreed to keep the cafeteria line open so that we could quickly walk there and chow down on pork loin, potatoes, and veggies, with pudding for dessert.  It was tasty, but we had been spoiled by Mike Scudday's superb Dutch oven cooking while on the river.

Our walk back to the welcome center was perfectly timed.  We looked up to find the sky on fire with another New Mexico sunset.  Even Kathy's Prius enjoyed the spectacle.

Chimney Rock was silhouetted by the setting sun.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


The Real Abiquiu


Following our five-night adventure on the Rio Chama and a Labor Day night at Ghost Ranch, and on our way back to civilization, Kathy and I made the usual stop at Bode's General Store on U.S. Hwy. 84 for some gas, unique atmosphere, and restrooms -- and a chocolate milkshake at the adjacent Frosty Cow.  I had always considered this tiny outcropping of commerce to be Abiquiu.  But the real town is actually across the highway and up a hill past the post office by way of an unpaved road.  Well, actually, not so much a town as "a small census-designated place located in Rio Arriba County."

Having some extra time, we decided to venture up the hill to see the "real" Abiquiu.  We were unaware that this small community includes one of Georgia O'Keefe's two homes in the immediate area (the other being at Ghost Ranch).  Now known as the Georgia O'Keefe Home and Studio, the house was purchased by her from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1945.  It was her primary residence until she moved to Santa Fe in 1984.  We will have to stop for a tour the next time we visit the area.  However, we were quite taken with what we did see.

Dominating the small town square is Santo Tomas El Apostol church.  The original church was built in 1773, and the current adobe structure dates to 1937.

Across the square from the church is the Pueblo de Abiquiu Library and Cultural Center.  This tile mosaic adorns its exterior wall next to the entrance.

Further up the hill and on the outskirts of the town is this mysterious adobe structure.  It is the Penitente Morada.  For one traveler's description of this chapel, the (formerly secret) society that built and maintains it, and her experience in participating in a religious ceremony there, see this well-written blog post.

Note:  Click on any photograph to see it in full scale.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday Wildlife

Our five-night trip on the Rio Chama included hiking above the Aragon rapid campsite on September 2.  There I spotted this plateau fence lizard (Sceloporus trestichus), a fairly large specimen that was seemingly unimpressed by my presence.  It posed for several photographs.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Sunlight

As Kathy and I were driving southwest on NM-112, the sunset lit up the rain clouds to the east.  It was August 30, and we were headed from Tierra Amarilla to Cooper's El Vado Ranch.  We would begin our adventure on the Rio Chama the following day.