Being a guide on the Rio Grande sparked a love of not just all things water current and rapids, but also of the awe-inspiring and gorgeous canyon that the Racecourse section of the Rio Grande runs through.
I came to be a river guide in 2010 through the incredible happenstance that only the unexpected events of life can bring you. It changed my life immeasurably and in the best of ways. Being a guide on the Rio Grande sparked a love of not just all things water current and rapids, but also of the awe-inspiring and gorgeous canyon that the Racecourse section of the Rio Grande runs through. I eventually found myself relocating from Taos to Embudo, a small area just south of the takeout of the Racecourse where the Rio Embudo meets the Rio Grande at an idyllic and incredibly peaceful confluence. There, my family and I live on the banks of the river, and every chance we get, we throw our boats in the river to serve ourselves a little dosage of the best medicine there is – Nature via River!
When I’m not boating, I work for the Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project as the Tour and Outreach Coordinator. We are a very small, grass roots, non-profit archaeological organization that works to record and protect the estimated 100,000+ petroglyphs of Mesa Prieta (located just a bit farther south of the Racecourse) dating back up to 10,000+ years. Between the amazing and conscientious raft guides I get to work with at Kokopelli and the dedicated and passionate volunteer docents I work with on the trails of our petroglyph preserve, I am reminded daily of how lucky I was to live and work in this incredible place.
In the Spring of 2018, I sought out Kokopelli as my raft company. As a guide with a lot of experience working on the Racecourse over about a decade, I wanted to work for the company with the best reputation out there. Dedication to quality, positivity and the best of river experiences has always been my MO, and I’m proud to work for a company that upholds these values to a degree beyond my expectations.
Past Lives: (The lives before and on the off season of rafting.)
- Pre-school Teacher in Waldorf Education
- Certified Waldorf Educator for Elementary Grades
- Boot Rat – Ski Boot Fitting and Rental
- Art Student
- Winery Tasting Rooms Manager
- Winemakers Assistant
Guide Since: 2010
What do you like most about guiding? What could be better than being paid to share your favorite place on earth with wonderful people?! Every crew I take down brings a new experience. It is such a joy to meet and get to know the people who are drawn to come rafting, and the area has so much to learn and talk about. There is a vast human timeline in this area – from the nomadic hunter gatherers who traversed the steep and narrow arroyos in and out of the canyon 10,000 years ago to the sophisticated culture of the Ancestral Puebloan people to the Spanish Conquistadors and Colonial people who established European capitals decades before Plymouth Rock. The geological history is awe-inspiring and beautiful to boot. The Quartzite and Schist peaks, who’s crumbling has formed the Class 3 rapids of the Racecourse, contain precious and semi-precious metals including trace amounts of gold (rarely seen) and the tiniest of garnet crystals (easily found in certain beaches along the Racecourse.)
Favorite river and why: The Rio Grande is my favorite river – of course! The Rio Chama is a close second with its incredible and diverse micro-climates it travels through.
Favorite river-related story: There are too many precious experiences I’ve had on the river over the years to mention just one. Here are some of my favorite things:
- The biggest hits in the highest water! (The best feeling ever!)
- The honor of spotting and observing otters on the river. (They are so graceful!)
- Floating in silence through wilderness surrounded by wildlife including a lot of birds! From Sparrows to Jays, Blue Herons, Golden and Bald Eagles.
- Discovering, exploring and recording petroglyph sites only accessible via the river.
- The joy of a child’s face as we find the smallest of garnet crystals on one of those river beaches or the moment they get a fun and safe splash from a wave! (These experiences are not in high water! Only when flow is safe for all ages.)
What are your other hobbies, interests, and passions, and why are they important to you: My husband is a winemaker and I am lucky enough to live with him and my son on a small orchard on the banks of the Rio Grande. When I have the time, I love caring for the orchard with them, gardening, pruning my roses, portrait and nature drawing and assisting in wine and cider making. Something I love beyond words, but rarely have the means to do, is travel! I hope to one day travel as much of the world as I can. Here’s hoping! I also love hiking, camping and poker!
What other types of certifications do you have, degrees, etc?
- 3 Year Certificate as a Waldorf Education Elementary Teacher
- Associates in Fine Arts
- Graduate of 2010 Raft Guide Training from LRRR.
- CPR/FIRST AID Certified
Amanda in Action
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