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Up the creek without a paddle


I had to go out to the Caballo Lake State Park administration offices to correct an error they had made on my annual day use permit way back in July. No, they couldn't do it by phone or email or snail mail. I tried those options.

I took the opportunity to explore some roads I've never been down, scouting for possible launch sites and just looking at what was there.

At the southern end of the Percha Dam state park campground I stumbled (literally) onto a little bit of the New Mexico Rio Grande Trail - a planned cross state hiking trail which currently only exists in disjointed segments.

The section I wandered along this week was easy to follow, dusty and edged with spiky and prickly things: it's the time of year for seeds and burrs.

This trail is definitely buggy. In spite of the lateness of season, I encountered significant mosquitoes and clouds of gnats.

I did not find any easy way to get a vessel near water in this area. Even if I could take on the necessary portage, right now, outside of irrigation release season as it is, the dam has the river throttled and reduced to a trickle.

It's a pretty and reflective trickle, full of dancing cottonwood gold light and fractured in ripples, but not satisfactory water to dip a paddle in. Then too there are those bugs: mid November and I am scratching mosquito bites . Again.

When the trail came out onto a dusty road alongside fields of drying red chile stretching to forever, I turned back.

Red hot chile peppers! It's the motherlode! This must be where much of the nation's red chile powder comes from.


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