60 Mile Pecos River Paddle Trip

Attention CTM Members! CTM was notified by James Choate about the following opportunity to paddle the Pecos River, and do a little climbing/hiking on the side. While this is not a CTM-sponsored event, we thought that some of our members may be interested: 

Tentative time frame for trip: Last two weeks of May 2014

This is an opportunity to spend five to six days paddling and hiking the lower 60 miles of the Pecos River in West Texas. This river flows out of New Mexico and into the Rio Grande at the Amistad Reservoir. The surrounding area is the north eastern portion of the Chihuahuan desert. A good book for this trip is “The Lower Pecos River” which should be available through your  outfitter or book store [1]. We are looking to build a group of between four and six participants, with a maximum of twelve involved.

The Chihuahuan Desert, one of five North American deserts, is a high desert. It’s the largest and probably least studied [2]. One of the best books specific to the Chihuahuan desert is “Desert Survival Skills” which is a wealth of information about what to expect and how to deal with it [3, 4]. The scope of plants and animals is extremely broad as is the history of human habitation. Man has been living in this desert for at least 10,000 years, leaving a variety of signs like habitation remains, rock art, and cultural artifacts related to astronomy [4, 5, 6].

Being a pool and drop river there are numerous Class I and II opportunities with only a few higher level problems, that can be either lined or portaged. The dam or weir is a mandatory bypass due to it’s high danger level at any water flow. The river runs through lightly populated terrain with few roads, cell service, or public resources. We will be practicing “Leave No Trace” principles throughout the entire expedition [7]. Your IFAK should include blunt trauma, puncture, and snake bite resources. Obviously, you will want to make sure your WFA or WFR skills are up to date as well. The use of “Clean Mountain Cans” for human waste management is strongly suggested [8, 9]. You should consider using a GPS PLB like a SPOT, and possibly even a satellite phone, if within your budget [10]. Because the majority of bordering land is private we must be sensitive to avoiding trespass while exploring off the river proper.

We intend to bring along a small telescope because the seeing should be excellent due to the very dark skies at night. The lower sections of the river are also known for some of the best native American pictographs on the continent. State and federal law prohibits the taking or alteration of archeological and paleontological finds. Besides the hiking and scrambling I’m hoping to find at least a few climbing routes, maybe I’ll get an FA [11]!

Participants will need clothing, for a temperature range of the low 40’s into the 90’s w/ possible rain, a tent, sleeping bag, and limited personal items. You should plan on bringing two 5 gallon containers of water with a backup water filtration system. The water in the Pecos is high in salt, minerals and agricultural run-off and should not be used as a primary source. There are a variety of springs along the river. The low water flow and nature of the rock tend to be very hard on boats, so be sure to plan on at least a couple of repair kits per boat.

Pre-planning meeting:
4-5-14 (Saturday)
10:00 – 11:00 AM

Half Price Books
5555N. Lamar
Austin, TX 78751
512-451-4463

There will be other opportunities to meet, plan, and practice prior to the trip, currently planned for late May 2014. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact James Choate directly.

Contact Information:
James Choate
512-657-1279 8:00 – 22:00 CT
jameschoate@austin.rr.com

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