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
One of the biggest challenges Mike and I face is analyzing the risk factors along the Rio Grande.
We are fortunate that we have good gear, plenty of food and enough outdoor experience to stay mostly warm and dry. We have an emergency satellite tracker in case we get injured and need to be evacuated and a good relationship with the U.S. Border Patrol.
The big variable is the people we will meet. In the last 400 years, there has been a lot of horrific violence near the Rio Grande. The details are gruesome and I don't want to go into the specifics. People have an amazing ability to be cruel.
We have had no indication of that in our entire journey. The closest I have come is a farmer apologizing that he did not have more time to talk about the river because he had to get to town to buy a replacement part for his tractor.
Yes, people cross this river illegally both ways, and they bring illegal goods with them. We see the trails they have cut and the Border Patrol agents looking for them. Most of these people are desperate and have had very difficult journeys. We can't know what their reaction to us would be.
Anything could happen.
What has happened is we have paddled a lot through mostly pretty scenery and passed a few unpleasant sewer discharge pipes.
The biggest problem we have had is the satellite phone I use to send out posts from remote locations is not working.
I am now between Eagle Pass and Laredo, making miles to be home in time for the holidays. Our families have also been incredibly supportive and understanding, but we don't need to test their patience any more than necessary. I wrote this ahead of time in case I can't get a post out.
I am traveling fast and long every day to reduce exposure to dangerous folks, if there are any.
I just want to find out what is around the next bend.
To comment on this post or ask a question, please visit the expedition's Facebook page.
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.