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Upper Taos Box Paddling - David Farkas

 
Upper Taos Box Paddling - David Farkas
Upper Taos Box Paddling - David Farkas
Upper Taos Box Paddling - David Farkas
Upper Taos Box Paddling - David Farkas
Upper Taos Box Paddling - David Farkas
 
April 10, 2012 - 
 

When the days get longer and the snow finally starts melting off the peaks, paddlers in the Durango area look to norther New Mexico to get their early season creeking fix.  One of the first runs that comes in is the Upper Taos Box of the Rio Grande.  Just minutes north of Taos New Mexico, the UTB is a sweet run and a welcome warm up for the spring creeking season.

 

 

This run is great for many reasons.  It flows early, has an easy shuttle...one that you can actually longboard, you camp at the take out so cold beers and food are right there waiting for ya, and it's incredibly scenic.  Bald eagles and big horn sheep are prevalent.  The only drawback that keeps it from being overloaded with paddlers is the mile and a half. 850ft. vertical hike out the trail.  You can always opt to not hike out and paddle out, but the paddle out is a few miles of flat water.  Most boaters opt to hike.  Personally the hike doesn't bother me and can be done rather quickly.  Just keep focused on the beers....

The UTB flows through a deep basalt gorge and offers drop/pool style kayaking.  The rapids are boulder garden style created by large rocks fallen from the basalt walls.  The characteristic basalt rapids also create siphons in each drop and it's this characteristic that gives the UTB is nasty reputation.  If you're in your boat and online, the rapids are super fun with lots of boofs and options.  If you're outta your boat or not paying attention, the price can be severe.  I've been on a few runs where people have swam and flushed into these siphons.  Scary.  Regardless of the siphons, the run is fun and because it's the first one that comes in around Durango I always look forward to it.  Another great reason to get on this run is that Taos is nearby...and Taos has KILLER Mexi food.

 

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