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HomeNL-2014-01 Rio Grande River

Rio Grande River
Nov. 2013
by Richard Morin

I had the pleasure of hitting Big Bend country for a 10 day kanoe trip in early November 2013.

As usual me amigo Mark Boyden lent me his canoe and a whole bunch of other gear that doesn' t travel real well on an aireoplane. Thanx Mark hope you can join me one of these times.

This trip was quite different for me this time in several respects from my usual ones.

Firstly there was water; got on at the put in for Colorado Kanyon with the Presidio gauge reading 350 cfs and took out at RGV at about 550 cfs same gauge. Usually the level is in the 100 cfs level which can be real hard on your boat. Its even harder on the boat if its yours but that's another story. I have never had "high" water like this in this section. I've had flood conditions 3 times on the Lower Kanyons but never here. There was a constant current on the river at all times. I usually struggle to get in 13 miles a day; however on this trip I had several 20+ mile days. I believe I was averaging better than 4 mph which is awesome.

Also another first was I got me a full day of rain and cold and stifling winds that made for one miserable 24 hour period. Especially since I was not carrying a tent and my tarp was not up to par. It was a miserable day rite down to hypothermia and one wet down sleeping bag. But you know us Kanucks weez a tuff lot... eh! And hypothermia to us is equivalent to your sunburn so fair is fair.

What else can I tell you:

Nobody on the river except me.

Met a fine Mexican American missionary in Presidio San Vincente Mx who was a wealth of info about the area: Mr Antonio Garza. Interestingly enuff he has a horse trailer next to his abode with no wheels and supported on cement blocks. And on top of the trailer he has a lazy boy sofa chair just sitting there on top (Say what?). Now this sure got my interest so after 2 hrs of conversation he told me it was his personal lookout to see the sun rise and fall each day. Does the man understand the important things in life or what?

Another thing that blows my mind is all the fine folk here have one light bulb per room if they are lucky enuff to have a solar panel. 50% have running water of dubious quality no flush toilets, no heating or cooling system, no grocery store, and no paved roads. All in all, nada.

And 6 miles across the border in RGV are these mega rolling RV's with one of these suckers worth more than what every man, women and child of this hamlet could afford if they put all their collective earnings together over a lifetime. Just for the heck of it imagine a typhoon crushing them and you got San Vincete Far East (ie The Philippines). To say we are blessed is an understatement.

Sorry about that. Just couldn't help myself on this tangent. However you Americans are entitled to an education. And the Lord insists I give you one. You're welcome

Back on the la la land topic:

I also had the privilege of meeting Mr. Jack Skiles on the way home. Mr Skiles is a gentleman however keep and I mean keep off his land and all is fine. The rumor about him shooting at trespassers appears to be true. However respect builds repect and I liked him a whole lot. The man is a mountain of knowledge.

At the Langford hot springs I met a former Iraq Veteran: Patricia Kerns, who graciously drove me back to my vehicle at the put-in. Thanx Patricia.

The drive home to Austin was fun also as I dropped in on one of the famous Foster's Ranch (Springs) daughters in Langtry: Susan Goebel. She is so nice: a couple of years ago I was low on fresh water and going to drink from her springs. She saw this and she and her husband Kelly insisted on driving 15 minutes each way to her house to resupply me. I never go by Langtry Visitor Center without re-thanking her. People like her are soooo special. Instead of shooting me for trespassing she shows me incredible kindness: WOW! I would love to have her as a neighbor.

Here are a few photos of the trip with Larry the incredible Lizard going into Presidio San Vincente, Mexico, for us. Surely there's a skirt in there somewhere : He was just too quick to say yes on this one. In his immortal words : Ain't no govin-mint going to tell a lizard what to do!

Larry I love you, and again thanx to Mark Boyden for all his support and generosity. Antonio Garza for hosting Larry in San Vincente. Patricia Kerns for the ride back to my car in Lajitas. Jack Skiles for a heck of an education. And Louis Aulbach and Keith Bowden for pre-trip info and advice.

Thanx yee all!


Richard's photo album can be viewed on Picasa, here: Picasa

You will want to immediately click the "pause" button, to allow you to scroll through the fantastic photos at your own pace without missing anything.


The author, Richard Morin