The Rio Grande
A River Guide to the Geology and Landscapes of
Northern New Mexico
By: Paul W. Bauer, 2011
The Rio Grande is the fourth longest river in North America. Flowing nearly 2,000 miles from Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico, in New Mexico it occupies the Rio Grande Valley, where it provides water for habitat, agriculture, and a growing population. In northern New Mexico, where the river has carved a pair of spectacular canyons, the Rio Grande also provides some of the most exceptional recreation opportunities and scenery in North America. This comprehensive, spiral bound, waterproof, 122-page river guide provides detailed, full-color maps of 153 miles of the Rio Grande, from Lasauses, Colorado to Cochiti Dam in New Mexico. Divided into eleven river stretches—including the popular whitewater runs in the Taos Box, Racecourse, and White Rock Canyon—the guide covers stretches that range in difficulty from placid canoe tours to gripping kayak descents. The river maps are developed on an aerial photographic base (digital orthophoto quads), allowing the user to more easily identify locations.
The geology of the region is likewise exceptional. The river spills from the San Juan Mountains into the Rio Grande rift, where several million years of erosive action have exposed a geologic cornucopia, including three major volcanic fields (including the Jemez supervolcano), seismically active faults, extinct Pleistocene lakes, and ancient rocks of the Rocky Mountains. The guide uses non-technical language and lavish illustrations to interpret the evolution of this magnificent landscape.
Although the focus of the guide is on geology and landscape, the guide is packed with information and photos on geography, hydrology, climate, boating safety, river management, rock art, and much more. Providing detailed information on access and trails, history and landscape, railroads and mining, this guide is also an invaluable resource for hikers, anglers, cyclists, day trippers, historians, philosophers, and casual visitors.
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Comments about this river guide:
Winner of the 2011 National Outdoor Book Award for: Outdoor Adventure Guidebook.
This colorful and remarkably well done guide, covering 153 miles of the Rio Grande, is packed full of information for flatwater and whitewater paddlers. But it's not just for river runners. Hikers, anglers and cyclists will also find it invaluable in their trips to Rio Grande country. The maps are first rate. They were developed from an aerial photo base and use a blend of colors and shaded relief to make the river topography stand out. The geological information, both textual and illustrative, is some of the best the judges have seen in a river guide
—National Outdoor Book Award
Paul Bauer and his collaborators have raised the bar for field guides of all kinds. This is a gorgeous and rich piece of book-making. I was equally fascinated by the thoughtful text and the beautiful, informative images. Bauer’s guide makes me want to rush out and explore still more of the enchanting Rio Arriba.
—William deBuys, award-winning writer and conservationist
Running lots of western rivers has given me a big collection of guidebooks. Bauer's Rio Grande Guide is the best of the lot. If they gave Pulitzer Prizes for guidebooks, this would be the winner for 2011.
—Steve Harris, owner of Far Flung Adventures and Executive Director of Rio Grande Restoration
Imaginatively conceived and artfully executed, Paul has created a river guide which dramatically raises the bar far above that of any river guide to come before. With a beautiful layout, superb graphics, and a fascinating collage of history, geology and river data, he tells the story of the Rio Grande from Lasauses to Cochiti as no other guidebook has ever done. When it’s not on your boat, put it on your coffee table...either place it is a page turner that will get read again and again.
—Bob McMahon, Adobe Whitewater Club Board of Directors
This book is a gift to all of us who love the landscapes and geology of northern New Mexico and it could only have been written by Paul Bauer whose encyclopedic knowledge of the science and history of the Rio Grande is grounded in years of lived experiences. This guide has something to offer everyone, but it is especially relevant to those of us who love to explore the outdoors and appreciate learning about the geography and history that have shaped the extraordinary landscapes of northern New Mexico.
—Alan Hamilton, Conservation Director, New Mexico Wildlife Federation
Paul Bauer's new Rio Grande river guide is the best of it's kind yet to come along. It's attributes include: waterproof plastic "paper" and spiral binding, handsome and easily interpreted maps, numerous charts and illustrative photos, historical information and, especially, an abundance of authoritative geologic and hydrologic information. If anything was left out of this guide, I don't know what it was.
—Steve Miller, co-owner of New Wave Rafting and author of “The Grand: The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, a Photo Journey”
It is easy to get distracted by the photos, graphics, anecdotes, and maps Bauer has neatly packed into the book. The book is visually pleasing, with little wasted space and no confusion. Bauer is a scientist who knows how to write for the layperson. His brief sections on the geologic and water-flow history of the river are complemented by stellar graphics. The majority of the book, though, is devoted to user-friendly maps, the kind boaters wish were available for every river.
—Staci Matlock, The Santa Fe New Mexican
It is the value in the river for its own sake that makes Paul Bauer's "The Rio Grande" such a delight.
—John Fleck, Albuquerque Journal
Even for "landlubbers" the book offers a great arm-chair float down our historic Rio Grande.
—Cindy Bellinger, Enchantment