The Rio Grande Gorge is one of New Mexico’s few landscape icons, but it’s something I’ve never yet photographed. The Gorge is long and deepens southward as the river flows out of Colorado’s San Luis Valley and cuts down into the old lava flows that form the vast volcanic plateau west of Taos. Most photos you see (such as this excellent example by Adam Schallau) are from the rim near the famous gorge bridge. No doubt I’ll try shooting that area someday, but I’ve long wanted to take some photos in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area up near Questa. An excellent trail system leads to very nice camping areas in ponderosa groves by the river, and large natural springs of clear water are an added enticement.
This section of river is known as the Upper Taos Box, and contains the Rio Grande’s stoutest whitewater, and it was a delight to see it with the river somewhat up. But for such a spectacular place, it was a bit of a tough nut to crack photographically. Deep canyons often are, as they present real lighting challenges where direct sunlight doesn’t approach the bottom until well after sunrise. I’d love to get back here in stormy weather: a late spring snowstorm that arrives when the river is high would probably be the ideal circumstance for shooting the inside of the Gorge.