The Rio Grande is disappearing. Demand for water is growing as snow packs shrink, rain patterns shift and average temperatures rise faster than they ever have in the past 11,000 years.Read more
The power of a river to find a way downhill is as basic as natural forces come, yet I spent all afternoon amazed by it.
For eons, boulders have toppled off these canyon walls and landed in the riverbed. The river seems to pay no mind and just finds a way around them. My challenge was to find a path I could follow, but without getting rubbed off on the rocks.
I did OK. If the kayak could talk, it would probably have a different opinion. But by a combination of scouting the rapids and picking a line and then bouncing off the rocks to avoid the really nasty ones, we got through it all.
I am now in the Rio Grande Gorge proper. I’m camping just upstream from where the difficult rapids start and I can hear their roar. It’s a much deeper sound than that of the rapids I bounced through this afternoon.
With the river level dropping, the rapids might not be runnable. If so, I’ll follow the river on foot until the drop of the river eases up and I feel safe to get back on the water.
It’s going to be an interesting weekend. If I get to a place with Wi-Fi, I will post videos of the rapids to the Facebook page.
To comment on this post or ask a question, please visit the expedition's Facebook page.
As they travel, Colin and Erich are taking water samples for the following periodic water quality tests. In partnership with The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment’s Texas Stream Team Program at Texas State University, the results will be added to a public database it helps maintain for research and monitoring water quality.
While making his way to the Gulf of Mexico, Colin will be periodically activating a device that uses satellite technology to share his current location. Use this map to see where he traveled on this day.
|Check-In||Time of Check-In (CST)||Latitude||Longitude|
To report on and understand the haphazard irrigation system the Rio Grande has become and the changes it is going through, Colin decided the best approach would be to travel the length of the Rio Grande by foot and small boat.
He knew it would give him a unique perspective on a river that few understand. It did require many long days of moving slowly and camping on muddy riverbanks, but Colin likes that sort of thing.
The benefit was it provided access to people who wanted to share their stories and experiences with the Rio Grande. Via Facebook and chance encounters, Colin made instant friends who opened their homes. They provided help from loaning their trucks to their cell phone contact lists to help tell the story of the Rio Grande.
The trip would not have been possible without their help, along with the dedicated assistance of David Lozano, Jason Jones and Daniel Dibona, who drove thousands of miles to get people and boats in place.