The Rio Grande is disappearing. Demand for water is growing as snow packs shrink, rain patterns shift and average temperatures rise faster than they ever have in the past 11,000 years.Read more
Tonight, Mike Kane and I are camping on the dried mud in front of Parida Cave.
We are staying well outside of the archeological site. We’re on a mud formation that is at most a few decades old, but it is hard to ignore the history of the place.
The human record inside the cave dates back some 10,000 years, according to the interpretive signs.
The art on the cave walls dates back more than 2,000 years and includes images of fish, hunters and intricate patterns. Modern additions by railroad workers in 1888 include an advertisement for H.B. Rising’s Curiosity Shop in Chicago. The most recent work appears to be by some folks who came from Houston with pencils in 1996.
The railroad bed is now under the mud that was deposited over the last six decades on what has become the bottom of Amistad Reservoir. Now that the lake is low again, the river is flowing here.
The sound of the gurgling water and the pale moonlight reflecting of the cliff walls makes it easier to imagine what it must have been like to live here a couple thousand years ago.
We won’t leave any additions to the cave wall. But it is comforting to know we are just the most recent travelers to pass through these parts.
It was hard for both of us to say goodbye to loved ones, but it does feel good to be back on the river.
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As they travel, Colin and Erich are taking water samples for the following periodic water quality tests. In partnership with The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment’s Texas Stream Team Program at Texas State University, the results will be added to a public database it helps maintain for research and monitoring water quality.
While making his way to the Gulf of Mexico, Colin will be periodically activating a device that uses satellite technology to share his current location. Use this map to see where he traveled on this day.
|Check-In||Time of Check-In (CST)||Latitude||Longitude|
To report on and understand the haphazard irrigation system the Rio Grande has become and the changes it is going through, Colin decided the best approach would be to travel the length of the Rio Grande by foot and small boat.
He knew it would give him a unique perspective on a river that few understand. It did require many long days of moving slowly and camping on muddy riverbanks, but Colin likes that sort of thing.
The benefit was it provided access to people who wanted to share their stories and experiences with the Rio Grande. Via Facebook and chance encounters, Colin made instant friends who opened their homes. They provided help from loaning their trucks to their cell phone contact lists to help tell the story of the Rio Grande.
The trip would not have been possible without their help, along with the dedicated assistance of David Lozano, Jason Jones and Daniel Dibona, who drove thousands of miles to get people and boats in place.