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Explore the Rio Grande with Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures

By Elisha Neubauer

When Michael Hayes arrived at Bernalillo's Coronado Campground in 2007, he had no idea what adventure was about to befall him. With nothing but a pop-up camper and two canoes, Hayes set out to float the river. After encountering much difficulty, he discovered that, while it was difficult to access the river, the middle of the Rio Grande held plentiful recreational potentials.

Hayes spent much of the winter and fall of 2008 paddling up and down the river, taking fellow paddlers and friends out to the areas he had discovered. Receiving remarkable feedback from those accompanying him, Hayes decided to do something with the opportunity that had presented itself. Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures was born.

Although the Rio Rancho and Corrales trails are a popular way to see the area, Hayes tells us that traveling by water offers a very different perspective- and unique access to wildlife. "I started canoeing regularly in the mid-nineties, and although I was an avid bicyclist (both road and mountain bikes), cross country skier, and hiking enthusiast at the time, canoeing down a river instantly became my passion," Hayes says. "There's a deeper sense of connection with nature as you feel the river's current carry you downstream, while wildlife sightings are much more plentiful- a canoe or kayak silently gliding along the water is much less disturbing to wildlife than hikers, cyclists or birdwatchers moving along the trails. Birds will often just watch as you we float by, and we often see beaver swimming along as we pass through as well."

In addition to getting a unique view of your surroundings, floating allows you to cover greater distances while maintaining a relaxed, low impact feel to your activity- which opens the endeavor up to a wider set of people. "It's pretty easy for anyone to cover 10 to 12 miles of river in 3 or 4 hours, as opposed to hiking an equivalent distance," explains Hayes.

Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures provides kayak, paddlecraft, stand-up paddleboard, and canoe rentals. They offer self-guided and guided tours, as well as kayak fishing adventures. Of course, river safety is a top priority when suggesting tours to the inexperienced. "We recommend that those unsure of their river reading skills choose the guided option for this section at least once, so they can more easily learn the proper lines to take," states Hayes. "The entire river is intensely beautiful here. The northern section, which starts in Algodones and passes through Santa Ana Pueblo to Bernalillo, features probably the best views of the Sandias in the Albuquerque area."

New Mexico's natural treasures deserve to be appreciated- and paddling is a low-impact, easy way to do so. Rent a canoe or go on a guided tour to explore the Rio Grande for yourself.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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