Thursday, May 19, 2005

Colorado Trip: Episode 3: Rio Embudo (what a river)

We just got off the water at the Pueblo Play Park and we were headed downtown to have a cold one with the local paddlers when my phone rang. Damn another relaxing evening after a good paddle lost to the need to drive 5 hours and paddle a new river. I had gotten two calls in a matter of minutes. "Hey the Embudo is cranking and you should come down". The guy on the other end of the line gave me all the info he had. It was like this, Big Party, Near Taos, camping at a confluence, Embudo river is near the town of Dixson, New Mexico. So with that detailed information we headed off into the desert to try to find a party in the middle of the night and then paddle the Embudo at fairly high water the next day. I was game because I have been wanting to get on the Embudo for a while. I had heard lots of great stories with the exotic name Embudo involved.

Yonton and I drove the 4+ hours down into the area but after searching down several dirt roads we found nothing and settled into sleep once again on the side of the road near a sign that said, "Embudo River". Figured that would help out in the morning. We woke in the morning with no more information and crappy cell service. We wandered around a little longer and had two lucky things happen. One we found the "Yacht Club" which was a quick stop coffee shop with kick ass breakfast burritos. The other piece of good luck was running into Stan who was a grizzled old raft guide looking guy who said, "oh yeah big party up that road right there last night". We headed up the road and ran into all kinds of kayakers and eventually found our team. Some were not in shape to paddle, some were.

Yonton took off with Katie and Jenn to paddle on a sweet wave on the Rio Grande. I took off with Dunbar Hardy and a pack of guys from the southern Colorado, New Mexico area. Dunbar, Brian, Brad, Tim, and Grayson Schaeffer made up the team. The nerves were a little high because not everyone had done it and we all knew that the level was high. The guys said it was in the 3.9 area on the gage. I am not totally sure what the top end is but it does seem like you could be on there a fair bit higher but you sure wouldn't want anything to go wrong or you would be picking up your boat in Texas.

The river started off with a mile of warm up stuff. Then it was game on. The first real rapids were pushy and very continuous. The eddies at that level were not big enough for the entire group. So we did a bunch of relaying info and working our way down this tight run. "The Long Rapid" was especially sweet because it was actually long and tight with bunches of moves to make. There were several rapids with a long pushy nature. I was given good beta like keep left of center then get some angle blah blah blah and it all went out the other ear by the time I entered the top of the rapid. It was pretty much combat paddling. Read and run fun. The main thing to know was that all the rapids pushed on through.
I put together a video of the river so the rapids that we scouted on in the video but as always video doesn't do it much justice. The sceneary and paddling were fantastic and I will make a return trip to do the Embudo again.
Here is the link to the video of the Embudo.
Rio Embudo Video Link

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