New Mexico River Adventures is freshly off of our annual overnight trip with the McDermott Scholars from the University of Texas at Dallas. For many of the incoming college freshman, this is their first venture into the wilderness made even more special considering it is by way of river rafting. We took them to the Rio Chama for a two day overnight trip that goes through one of New Mexico’s most beautiful areas. The kids are some of the best and the brightest in the country with some of them already making big waves in their fields of study. Before the official school year begins, the students spend 10 days in New Mexico getting to know each other and the key staff that will be involved in their experience throughout college. Can you think of a better way to kick it all off and break the ice than doing an overnight trip on the Rio Chama? We pick up the students at St. John’s College in Santa Fe and begin the journey to Cooper’s El Vado Ranch. The first stop on the river is at the famous hot springs where the students all happily dip their toes (or entire bodies for the brave) while the guides set up lunch. Camp that night is at Aragon, one of the best camps on the entire stretch of river. It is located right above the main rapid by the same name which lends the best sounds to lull everyone to sleep for the evening. The New Mexico rafting trip continued the next day through one of the prettiest sections of desert rivers in the west. The majestic canyon walls painted in pinks and oranges continue to get prettier the further downstream you go, leaving many mouths agape. The dinosaur tracks hike is always a favorite with this group and is a great opportunity to stretch everyone’s legs. After lunch, we finish up just downstream of the Christ in the Desert Monastery and load up in the bus for the trip back to St. John’s College. One of the reasons that all of us at New Mexico River Adventures chose to pursue guiding careers is so we can share our love for rivers with people from all walks of life. This is a golden opportunity to educate and expose these young people to the many different aspects and importance of protecting areas like the Rio Chama. We always look forward to meeting the new scholars each year and catching up with all the fantastic staff, we are already looking forward to next year!!