The Rio Grande, Texas 8 days - November '02 & March '03
200 km Class II+
Flowing through beautiful and desolate desert canyons, the Rio forms the long and wild Texas/Mexico border. We float the best section- the spectacular Lower Canyons.
Below Boquillas Canyon and the boundary of Big Bend National Park, lies the third longest wilderness river section in the continental US. We put in at Heath Canyon Ranch, across the river from LaLinda, Coahuila and travel over 85 river miles to the take out at Dryden Crossing. Over 60 miles of this stretch are enclosed in a series of little known, remote river canyons, simply known as the Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande. This premier wilderness waterway was designated part of the National Wild and Scenic River System in 1978, and is the grand finale for over 250 miles of Rio Grande protected by state and federal legislation.
Flowing eastward out of Big Bend country through the rugged desert, the river is initially flanked by massive buttes and peaks that rise off the desert flats. As you travel down river, these formations give way to mazes of canyons - sheer, subtly hued walls that rise up to thousands of feet high. Wild horses and burros still roam side canyons while vultures, falcons and a variety of hawks soar overhead.
In the heart of the canyons, every towering cliff and sculpted stone spire commands our attention. Visitors encounter flowing springs and water carved side canyons. A handful of rapids demand careful preparation and skill in this remote locale. A trip through these mysterious canyons offers a level of peace and solitude rarely available in the US.
During the next few days, we slow our pace on the river and explore various scenic features and take our time with the main rapids. The Rio Grande is essentially a relaxing river trip with stretches of lazy water punctuated by fun and feisty short, steep and runnable rapids. Our specialty is teaching whitewater canoeing techniques and you will be amazed at how quickly you can gain the confidence and grace required to run the rapids of the Rio. It's a great trip, especially for beginners.There are also a number of warm and hot springs that make for a lovely soak.
The climate is hot and dry, with few bugs, lots of sunshine and opportunities for swimming. Although tents are provided, paddlers usually choose to spend most nights sleeping under the stars, surrounded by the magical night sounds of the desert. Campsites reflect the diversity of the landscape; each one is different and gorgeous.
The spectacular scenery and unique flora and fauna of the Chihuahuan Desert will fill your senses like no other landscape in America.