Riding the Rio Grande, Day Six (in Photos)

Last night we stopped and camped at a gnarly little rapid that I think is called "Ancho Falls." The falls looked doable in a canoe, but only if we ran them in an empty boat. Since we had to unload all our gear anyway, we spent the night above them, then woke up early this morning and shuttled our gear along the banks to where the falls tailed out.
Tried a little fishing in the early morning cool, too, with no luck.
A prickly pear near camp. Our campsite was near Los Alamos/Department of Energy land. We heard helicopters patrolling at night, and one pretty big explosion early in the morning, which was probably a DOE team setting off some unexploded ordinance up in the canyons.
Running Ancho. Hitting the waves at the entry to the top of the rapid ...
Drawing a little to line up to shoot the river-left gap between ...
... this big rock and the far bank.
Below Ancho the river slowed way down. We kept fishing, but as the sun crept higher in the sky and the air heated up, it got harder and harder to stay motivated.
We had to drink lots of water ...
... and remember to eat (bagels and tuna, here) ...
... in order to keep our energy up in the hot sun.
Eventually the sun started dropping below the western rim of the canyon, leaving us a bit of shade to paddle in.
We finally met our ride across the Cochiti Reservoir around 4 PM. Richard Smith will come and tow you the few miles to the boat launch for a small fee. Tim was pretty happy he didn't have to row against the headwind blowing up the canyon.

Last fall, Field & Stream Online Editor Nate Matthews and his father, Bruce, spent 15 days fishing the Rio Grande River from its headwaters in Colorado's Continental Divide all the way to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. These excerpts from their journals tell the story of their 2500-mile motorcycle ride along the historic river, taken during momentous times in the lives of both father and son. Photographer/vidographer Tim Romano documented the excursion. Look for the print feature in June 2011.