In need of some high alpine living and high desert adventure we decided to head up to Taos Ski Valley and the Chama River Wilderness to do some good ol' fashion car camping, hiking, rafting and down right New Mexico exploring!
Our adventure began high up in the alpine mountains of Taos Ski Valley where we explored the valley and visited some off season sites like the ski area, The Bavarian and a little known lake nestled deep in the horse shoe valley called Williams Lake. Ok maybe it's not a little known lake but it was well worth the hike.
The evenings in the valley were filled with the many soothing sounds of the forest while the campfire dried our damp gear from the afternoon rains and warmed our bodies from the cool night temps. It also provided the perfect environment for something white, black and golden brown . . . S'mores!
Yeah, good old s'mores. But this time things were different. Things were bigger. We didn't have just any marshmallows this time. We had the super duper jumbo size marshmallows that only Campfire Marshmallows could provide. We had "Campfire Giant Roasters"! You gotta check those babies out. We found them at Wal-Mart.Watch out! These marshmallows will fill up an entire graham cracker and a full chocolate bar with zero room to spare :)
Then it was off to the north western part of the state to the Chama River Wilderness area.
But to get there we had to travel across a diverse range of terrain and through some interesting places only New Mexico could offer.
Then through Carson. If you blink you might miss it.
Through El Rito. A very quaint and rural little town. Also, close to some amazing rock climbing.
And then right by the Ghost Ranch, some amazing cliffs and spectacular vistas to the place we love to raft and the destination we put in on the Chama River.
The flow was cruising at 950 cubic feet a second that day which was less than the last time we were up there two weeks ago which was about 100 cubic feet a second but we found it to be a more adrenaline pumping, technically challenging experience then before as it created a ton more rapids and obstacles. But hey, the river is a dynamic and ever changing thing and that is one of the things we love about it. There is always something different and this time proved to be no different.Oh, smaller water crafts make the trip much more intense and amplify the experience ten fold!
After many runs through "The Gauntlet". The gauntlet? Yeah, The Gauntlet. Well, that's what we call it. It's the part of the Chama that flows by the water gauge station and the part of the river we have found to have the most concentration of rapids. After riding The Gauntlet we packed up and headed south. South to our home. South to the start of another work week. South to the . . . Ok. You get the picture.
Thinking our adventure was over we began the journey. We were dead wrong. But wrong in a good way.
The drive back home became an engaging opera of sound and imagery. We took our seats in our mobile theater and the play began. The curtains of rain opened up and we were greeted with the sound of rain drops and the enchanting dancing, spinning and darting they performed oh so well. Flashes of lighting, the bellows of wind and the clasps of thunder were introduced signalling the start of what would become a two and a half hour display of sound and image. Lighting and thunder made battle with the sky and the children of rain were thrown about mercilessly to and fro by the wind. The remains of their bodies would collect into torrents of water amassing into a river of destruction as they would take revenge on the innocence of the earth. Mighty trees would bend at the force of the wind but would not falter and thunder would shake the ground. Lighting would appear and give light to the blind while the clouds obscured the horizon. Suddenly, the voyage was over, destination had been reached and the play concluded . . . momentarily.
With out notice it began all over again and raged on through the night.
Overall it was a great time of exploring and adventure.
So before the winter snows and colder temps are upon us and the desire to hit up an awesome trip in the Land of Enchantment is running through your blood we highly suggest the alpine valleys of Taos Ski Valley and the canyon of the Chama River.
See you outdoors!