Rio Chama Itinerary
June 21-23, 2013
Cost: $825 plus NM state sales tax
ABOUT THIS TRIP:
The 25 mile Rio Chama trip begins in alpine woodlands as a clear, rushing trout stream, and ends at the head of Abiquiu Reservoir as a silty desert river, rolling among the rainbow cliffs so typical of the Four Corners region. Wooded campsites and lively, but easy rapids make the Chama one of the best river outings anywhere for almost anybody.
François Maeder, chef and owner of Crumpets Restaurant in San Antonio will provide menus derived from his classic continental cuisine. Recent participants were treated to marinated shrimp, rack of lamb and beef wellington…Eggs Benedict appeared for breakfast. Menus vary but you will enjoy fine wines with the evening meals
We welcome first-time rafters seven years of age and older. You should be in normal good health. Guides will do the navigating in our oar-powered, self-bailing rafts. Teams of experienced paddlers may request the more exciting paddle boat. Other boat choices are available.
The first day, our 1-1/2 hour shuttle to the put-in features vistas of the craggy peaks of the San Juan Mountains, the massive Brazos Cliffs-over 3000 vertical feet high, and the village of Tierra Amarilla, the center of Reies Tijerina's land grant revolt of the l960's. Our launch point is at El Vado Ranch, a rustic, riverside fishing resort. The Chama River immediately whisks us away through a series of swift riffles and into the evergreen-lined canyon. We enter Chama Canyon Wilderness and negotiate Aragon Rapids (Class II). Our camp is on an old high-water bench, under shelter of ponderosa pines and Douglas firs.
The second day, enjoy a very leisurely morning beginning with a hearty, hot breakfast. Hike up any of the numerous side canyons or to the top of Navaho Peak for a spectacular vista. We will arrive at camp early for more relaxing and camp time.
The third day, we encounter some longer, steeper rapids and multi-hued sandstone cliffs up to 1000' high. Emerging from the canyon wilderness area, we observe a quiet zone as we pass the Christ in the Desert Monastery. Now begins the lively whitewater run (Class II-III) into the headwaters of Abiquiu upper Reservoir. Our take out at mid-afternoon, enables us to return you to your vehicles before the gates at Ghost Ranch are locked for the night (6PM).
Our Meeting Place: We meet at 9:00 AM at Bode’s General Store. You’ll find Bode’s General Store located in Abiquiu, NM, 24 miles northwest of Espanola on Highway 84 at mile marker 212.
Reservations: Include certified river guides, all safety equipment (lifejackets, transport to and from the river, splash gear or wetsuits, waterproof dry bags, all meals and meal service utensils, beverages and a tax-deductible contribution to the Rio Grande Restoration. A 7% NM sales tax and rentals of sleeping bags and pad are not included. A 50% deposit confirms your reservation with the balance due 14 days prior to trip date. Reservations made within 14 days of departure will be collected in full CANCELLATION POLICY: Cancellations received with more than 14 days notice will be refunded less 25% of the deposit. Cancellations within 14 days of travel and ‘no shows’ receive no refund.
Our 9 AM meeting time enables travelers lodging the night before the trip in Santa Fe or Espanola (even Taos) to easily make the 9 AM meeting.
In Chama, terminal for the Cumbres-Toltec Scenic Railroad, several comfortable lodges are available, including the Spruce Lodge (575) 756-2593. Our launch point at El Vado Ranch has riverside cabins, phone David Cooper (505) 588-7354.
Consider combining your Chama trip with the old-fashioned, high mountain train ride. For information or reservations, phone Cumbres-Toltec R.R. (575) 756-2151.
In Abiquiu, try the Abiquiu Inn 800-447-5621, abiquiuinn.com.
For our favorite great vacation homes try Casita De Chuparosa (they have a fully stocked gourmet kitchen with yummy breakfast items) or abiquiucasitas.com for Casita De Chocolate, (Mmmmm), located in the Plaza in Abiquiu. abiquiuvacationhomes.com has many wonderful homes to choose from as well.