Raft the Rio 2016

When the Rio Grande near Las Cruces runs well (irrigation season, June), it’s fun to raft or canoe or kayak one’s way down the river.

For 16 years, through 2015, the Southwest Environmental Center organized a Raft the Rio event each summer.  With increasing constraints of funding and staffing the event, SWEC asked us in early 2016 to become the new “owners” of the event.  We jumped in, figuratively (and a few times, literally).    It was a lot of work and much fun for all.  We spent some months working out the grand plan – where does the run start and end, what are the ways to add enjoyment (prizes, for one; food and drink for another), who knows the ins and outs of permitting and safety protocols, how do we get the word out to entrants and sponsors.

It all came together on June 25th.  A lively crowd of – let’s call them boaters to cover all the wild modes of transportation – assembled at La Lllorona Park off Picacho Avenue.  There were plenty of onlookers, also.  The launches came off around 9 AM.  Some of the entries were vying for the prize Least likely to finish, while some ambitious souls looked to finish first.  Two other prizes were awarded for best use of recycled materials (and what a range there was) and for most spirited crew.  The whole run took anywhere from a bit under an hour to over two hours, and you can see how two hours go by enchantingly, raucously, or both in the pictures.

Member Vince Gutschick took over 200 pictures.  He culled them down to “only” 185.  To save downloading time, they’re here in batches of 20 at 800 pixels resolution (long edge).  See if you can find your group.  Better, ask your group to look, to get interested in Kiwanis, and to consider joining us.  Here’s a lead-in of 10 images:

Here are all 185:

First 20 images, at random

Next images, 21-40

Images 41-60

Images 61-80

Images 81-100

Images 101-120

Images 121-140

Images 141-160

Images 161-180

Images 181-185