This past early July, when I visited Northern New Mexico with my Parents, We stopped a few times along the road 8 miles south of Taos to view the Rio Grande Gorge. My first impression was that that is some slice out of the desert. While it is not near the width of the Grand Canyon, it is most impressive in how you have a flat desert plain and then a deep gorge that has divided the desert. Can you imagine how the pioneers riding west must have felt when after traveling hours across this flat plain and then suddenly encountered this deep uncrossable chasm.
Eight or so miles south of where We saw the Rio Grande Gorge, the highway descending nearly to river level. Along a five mile section of the Rio Grande south of the Visitor Center at Pilar we saw some river rafters enjoying the rapids.
We had seen where they had put their rafts in, so drove further down the highway for a good vantage point to see them come around the corner and down the river below us.