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
Today began with a paddle across the last few miles of Elephant Butte Lake, and then a long walk to the old shoreline of Caballo Lake.
It was less fun than I had hoped for.
The high was near 95, and moving from 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. I made a little more than 20 miles. The river bottom was mud and rock, occasionally interrupted by foot-deep stagnant pools that were almost long enough to justify the time it took to unpack and inflate the raft I carried with me.
The dried-out lake bottom of Caballo was full of invasive salt cedar, interspersed underneath with hidden groves of invasive Russian olive. The cedar makes you sneeze, but the olive has two-inch long thorns with a tendency to stick into any leg that passes too close. The thorns hold for a moment, dig in and then leave scratches just deep enough to draw drops of blood.
Erich missed out on the fun as he was off at a clinic having a tick bite looked at. After taking that photo of his canoe under a canopy of stars last week, he laid on his back to look up at the Milky Way. That bit of rest came with the cost of feeling nauseous the next day and breaking into chills the next.
It is always something out here.
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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.