We got up early to raft the Rio Grande, driving through all the varied landscape that makes New Mexico so lovely. The Racecourse, as they call this stretch, is sold as class III and IV, but because it has been dry, it was running at only II and III. However, it was much more exciting than the Rio Chama was earlier this summer, so I was thrilled. We got a boat to ourselves (plus our guide) and we did a nice job of paddling together (which makes a tremendous difference!), had a surprise snack along the way, got soaked, got to swim off the boat, and even got to surf (so we came down a rapid and then paddled back up to it and surfed on the waves). The most exciting part, however, was when our boat got stuck on a huge rock on top of a rapid. The guide had us all move to the low side of the boat in the hopes that the momentum would knock us free. No such luck. He moved to the top and started yanking the top backwards. After a minute of that, we knocked free, but he was in the back of the front of the boat which had become the back of the boat. “Quick! Everyone turn around and start paddling!” So we switched around and all paddled our way through a rapids like that! It was hilarious! Like I said, it was really exciting and I would definitely raft that again, though I have my sights on the Taos Box for next summer, which only runs in May and June but is class IV and V rapids! Anyway, we all had a great time, as the pictures prove!
After the rafting we changed, headed across the street to a brewery, and had a beer (brilliant location, by the by). Next we headed to the Black Mesa Winery which was on the way home.Then we headed to the Santa Fe plaza, where the Hispanic Arts Fair was happening, so the already crazy plaza was even more so. However, the very first booth we went to was the artist who painted the monk painting that Bry had been coveting. For $20, I couldn’t not buy it for him! What are the chances? It was between 95 and 100 degrees and I was wearing jeans, which was idiotic. I got a migraine, I’m sure from heat exhaustion, but managed to stay living until we could leave the plaza. I’m glad they all got to see the area since it is cool down there, but I was relieved when we decided to head back up the canyon.
I made poblano rigatoni and John assembled all sorts of delicious cheeses and fruit. We feasted, drank wine from the winery, and Katelynn and her boyfriend Rich arrived to join the fun. We had a fire, roasted s’mores and waited anxiously for Ranger Bryan to get off work, have a beer, and eat s’mores! I’d say that was a pretty nice day!
We woke up the next morning to eggs from Dan and Jenn’s chickens and then headed to Pecos Canyon for a hike. As we headed up Pecos Canyon, which is on the other side of the mountains we live in, a storm rolled in. As we drove up the crazy, windy road to the trailhead, it brewed lightning and big thunder rolled. By the time we got up there, it was only raining for the most part, so we set out not the Cave Creek Trail. It rained on us the entire way to the caves, but it was beautiful. Fog gathered up around warm cliffs high above us and wildflowers gathered raindrops. Everyone was decked out in brightly colored rain gear, and my pink jacket sure looked cute. As it happens, it no longer keeps me dry, so I was freezing and drenched throughout the hike. I’d say 10 years of use is a pretty good run for a rain jacket, but she has now been retired. Anyway, everyone seemed to enjoy the hike and I am really glad I took them to Pecos Canyon. Compared to Santa Fe, it’s another world, and they all seemed happy with the choice.
As we came down the canyon to head back to Santa Fe, it was apparent that down below us, a storm had been raging. What had been perfectly clear mountain roads had become covered in places with two feet of sand, rocks, and other debris. In one area, hail gathered and it looked like July snow! We had to navigate our cars around washouts and huge puddles. Our park was the same way when we got back, though not on the actual road, just on trails and the park roadways. Bryan said the creek was full and they had pea-sized hail. Based on the amount of water in the fire pit, I’d say it was quite the storm.
Bryan bailed it out and started a fire, despite all the wood being wet. Just as we got the food on, it started pouring rain down. John and Bryan took one for the team and stood in the rain over the shrimp, getting drenched and inhaling all the fire’s smoke, but damn if those shrimp weren’t good. Jenn got a picture, which captures the moment well, including gigantic raindrops frozen by the camera’s flash. Most people might have given up and rolled into town to eat there, but we had grilled veggies, potatoes, shrimp, and wine. We cozied up in the lean-to, dined, and waited out the storm.
Sadly, the morning brought departures. Off went Dan and Jenn bright and early. I hurt my back rafting (there goes my career as a raft guide), so off I went to find a chiropractor, but I met Mom and John at The Pantry for late breakfast before they took off for their flight from Albuquerque. I highly recommend their stuffed (with cream cheese and berries!) french toast and Bryan and I plan to go back for another meal because it’s one of the locals’ spots.