New Mexico


A raised wooded floor, four posts, and a slanted tin roof. The bright moon shines in on our faces every night around 3 in the morning, waking me up and causing me to dig myself even deeper in my sleeping bag. Jeremy and I got lucky with getting a platform shelter to live in this summer. Much more spacious than living out of our vehicles.

We have hastily and not so gracefully put up tarp walls to keep the rain and wind from soaking and blowing our beds around. Once in awhile there is a coyote howling in the night.

We wake up, drink our coffee on the front porch of the kitchen building, and get ready for some boatin’ on the river. Blowing up rafts, counting and shoving paddles in vans or the back of trucks, pulling on wet neoprene because the water and weather is still cold here. (Yesterday we had a morning snow storm as we rigged and took a trip of almost 70 people down the river.)

I never thought I would be a river person. I can honestly tell you though, running rivers is radical and I like it. I like it a lot.

It is also scary. The water levels are particularly high this year and rising. High water means less rocks sticking out but the current is strong and the waves are big.

People come to have a fun white water adventure, but I am certain most of them do not realize how much work we as guides put in to being the best we can out there. People do not realize how bad things can get if things go really wrong. But overall, things go pretty right.

We do laps on this particular stretch of river every day. We practice water rescues. We practice flipping and recovering our boats. We practice and talk about our lines all the time. (Lines refer to the path you take down the river in regards to particular rapids.)

The dynamic and ever changing nature of the river is exciting. Even doing the same stretch of river every day for over a month now, every day is different. Everyday is exciting.

I will admit that sometimes I really don’t want to be cold and splashed in the face, however. When it snows, when the clouds cover the sun, when the wind is blowing up stream, I dream of my dry fleece clothes at the boat house. I dream of laying out by the pool or on the beach, soaking up the hot sun rays, swimming in warmer waters.

But even when we have to work in the rain and snow, like yesterday, there are parts that make it more than worth it. Like seeing my first river beaver! Man, those guys are big! And chubby! Or having your boat full of guests laughing and enjoying themselves. Yesterday, my boat full of high school students shook my hand and thanked me after lunch.

The people I live and work with are great. We spend a lot of time together on the river, hanging out back at the boat house, drinking beer on the porch and having dance parties in the kitchen. Everyone is willing to help and give advice. We all want to get along and have a good time and work hard

Having a quiet space to write though is really hard to have. I am going to have to start getting up at five in the morning before anyone else wakes up and starts playing music and trying to talk to me.

The closest town with all the regular amenities of grocery and hardware stores is half an hour away in either direction. Luckily, the local beer buying spot is only a ten minute drive away. ‘Mikes’ the gas station sells hot food, nice beer, cheap beer, and a few basic food items.

Overall, this is a good place to be. New Mexico is beautiful, I am learning a lot of new skills, the company I work for treats us and trains us very well, and the people here are awesome.

But the kitchen is getting loud and crowded and I am getting distracted. Time for some breakfast.




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