TR: Lower Taos Box 3/26/11
If you ever have the chance to travel to Northern New Mexico I would recommend it. The scenery is surreal, mountains and plains in a desert environment with and abundance of wildlife and birds of all types. On our trip we saw mud swallows, blue cranes, white tail deer, elk, and big horn sheep.
This was our first trip down the "Box" and while the whitewater in the first half is non existent, it does pick up in the last 1/2 making a grande finale. There are 3 big drops that warrant a scout, noticeable by the looming horizon lines and 3 longer boulder gardens that are read and run for a solid class III paddler. There are lots of other sections of waves and boils in between similar to the staircase section of Browns canyon.
This is a III+ run in the sense that there is no escape, it is not a gorge or walled in from the river level at any time. Scouts are easy and so are portages but it is in a large canyon with no railroad or trail to walk along.
Our level for the run was about 600cfs or just above and would not want it any lower. I would say 700 is my minimum now that I have seen it and am guessing at about 800-1200 it would pad up and clean up much nicer making it easier manuvering in the boulders and fluffier in the big drops. Above 2k and it would be moving fast at the start with lots of wave trains and some real juice in the big 3 certainly class IV at these flows.
The put in and take outs are some what remote in location and are patroled by BLM. The locals are friendly and hospitable especially the poor more common class. They do not want for much and seem to have it all in terms of happyness, they are church go-ers and god is present all around down there. here are some photos and last words, I hope you enjoy.
Thank you to Cadster for the directions, beta and verbals above the drops, and to linedawg for the helicoptor ride down and my paddle buddy these last few seasons, nice lines boys. good times.