Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kayaking the Rio Chama

We had checked out part of the Rio Chama River on Wednesday for kayaking.  The worst part of the whole thing is the 17 miles of washed out one lane dirt road you must take to put in.  Saturday, we took both vehicles along with our Sea Eagle 370 to try out the 8 mile trip.

As we went down the road, I could see over the ledge and saw the rapids on the river.  Since we had never kayaked on this river, I wasn't sure what to expect.

We dropped my car off at the Big Eddy Take Out Point and proceeded 8 more miles down the road to our put in point.  It is just before the monastery located at the end of the road.

The river looked mild enough, but I became a little anxious while watching a family getting ready to get into the river. They had two teenage children with them who were putting on helmets and nose plugs and I was wondering if they knew something we didn't know.

We were ready to go before they were, so we got into our kayak and took off.  The river was running swiftly.  There was no real paddling involved, just enough to keep us going straight.  That's the kind of kayaking I like. :)

We floated down the river awhile admiring some of the scenery.  It was just the two of us for awhile.

We came to our first rapids.  It was a pretty gentle Class II and the Sea Eagle did a great job.

Then, I was commenting about the clouds building up in the distance and worrying about thunderstorms.  Jim told me to stop worrying about thunderstorms and worry about the disappearing tree line.  I looked at what he meant and realized we were getting ready to drop.  We saw the Class III rapids approaching and going downhill.  We both were not sure of what was coming next.

We hit the rapids with water splashing into the boat and it was cold.  The boat bounced, we used our paddles to steer and we made it!  It was fun!!!!

We were ready to continue.  The river was full of Class II and III rapids, it was never boring.  There were a couple of river outfitters on the river carrying large groups on rafts.  I just don't think I would feel as secure sitting on the side of the raft as I feel inside our kayak.

We also passed quite a few families of Canadian Geese.  There would be the mama and daddy with their babies.  Some of them looked like they were teaching the babies how to swim in the water and what to do when they got in the rapids.

One of the last Class III rapids we went through was at this bridge.  As we were going through it, there was one time my front end of the boat was higher than the back end.  It was a ride!

I was shooting video with our Playsport camera and here's a short snippet of one of the rapids.  It's not wonderful, but it gives you kind of the feeling of the rapids.

We made it to our takeout point in 2 1/2 hours, a total of 8 miles.  We took the air out of the kayak, put everything in my car, and then had to make that trip one more time to get the pickup.  It was sure a long 17 miles coming back to the main highway.  We had a great time and are thinking about doing it one more time before we leave.

We got back home in time to enjoy the sunset over the campground.

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