Wednesday, June 10, 2009
June 9--Taos, NM
Yesterday was pretty boring. We awoke in Salida CO, drove to Pueblo CO to have the motorhome checked out. Nothing major, just some things neither Eric or I could figure out on our own for some reason. Called my dad, who fixed half our issues over the phone. I think if we just parked at a giant RV park we could wander around and talk to all the other RVers to figure ours out. The goal was to make it to Taos, NM, which we did easily with enough time to talk to a local bike shop for the scoop on good rides. The shop was called Gearing Up and had a great selection of single trail maps with awesome descriptions. We opted for a large map showing the entire area and spent the rest of the evening trying to figure out which trails would have the least brutal climbs based on the nearly invisible contour lines. We parked in Carson National Forest just off highway 522 north of Taos. It was the first time we used the slide-out feature on the motorhome. We seriously have room for yoga for two, twister, a picnic . . . it’s pretty wide open.
This morning, we woke up and got ready for our ride. We decided that it would be best to go early to avoid the hottest part of the day, but at 8am it was probably only about 50 degrees. Brrr. So much for finding the sun! The ride was called Horse Thief and tracked along the rim of the Rio Grande. We thought there would be sweet views of the river, but they were few and far between. We didn’t mind because the trail was so fast and fun, it would be hard to stop and relish in the beauty of the river. Besides, I think we managed to navigate the trail by instinct. The only time we stopped to think about which way to go, we almost got on the wrong track. By the time we arrived back at the motorhome, the day had officially reached peak temps (maybe 75?).
We thought our bike ride would have lasted until 12 or 1pm, and so we were a little surprised to find ourselves back home by 11. Our next decision may have been one of the poorest ones so far, but it all turned out well in the end, so no regrets. We decided that since it was still early in the day, we would go ahead and raft the river today too! By the time we found the campground near the put in and shuttled the cars around, it was 3:30pm. Not to worry, only a mile hike in with the uninflated raft and all our gear, left and then we can push off to enjoy the scenic river. While Eric shuttled the vehicles, I sat and watched the clouds build for the afternoon. The wind picked up and I started wondering if Eric would make it back to the campground on the motorcycle. Hmmmm. He did, but the weather had turned a little cold and rain looked imminent. So, we hiked down anyway. I wiped out on the trail, but no injuries incurred. We pumped up the raft and set sail just after 4:30pm. If you have ever rafted before, you probably know that the wind only travels up river, hence making traveling down river in flat sections more challenging. We also had know idea where we put on the river because the ranger had told us to put on at this particular spot (up river from where we had planned to put on) so we weren’t really sure how far we had to go. Immediately, we had a couple good waves followed by a serious boulder garden that lasted for a good quarter mile. The water was gushing! Then, we hit the long, flat, windy section, with the bonus of some rain. It may sound pretty terrible, except Eric and I were well equipped with dry tops and bottoms, booties, gloves and helmets to keep us warm and dry. Our only concern was the landmark on the river where we had intended to put on, never appeared. This meant that we could have been farther upstream when we put on than we thought. Luckily, the confluence (two rivers connecting) we were expecting was a fantasy and we reached our takeout in the daylight. It stopped raining and the sun came out for us to pack up the gear. One of the rivers must have been completely dry because we never came across it. We feasted on bean burritos and hot chocolate before driving back to the put-in where the motorcycle sat waiting for our return. We are camping at the in Wild Rivers Recreation Area (no joke.). Tomorrow, we are thinking about hitting the epic South Boundary Trail weather pending.