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
I spent the morning hiking with MC Flashcard, aka Tim Staley. He teaches English at Oñate High School in Las Cruces.
He grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, and came west to pursue poetry. He won a kayak in a raffle sponsored by Budweiser and is now a self-described river rat who likes to float and hike at night to escape the desert heat.
But living in a town that has a flowing river only a few months a year makes getting out to paddle a bit difficult. Sometimes, he and his friends will just float under a bridge. There are not too many places to paddle to and just floating on the river can be enough.
Our walk took us by a section of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, which was created in May of this year. It was easy to see why living in a small college town with almost half a million acres of open desert and mountains to explore would be appealing to a poet.
He wanted to walk with me to get more information about paddling other sections of the Rio Grande and balancing domestic life with outdoor adventures.
I was thrilled to have someone to talk to as we trudged through the soft sand. I tried to keep my feet dry while jumping over the little streams that remain of the Rio Grande.
I told him all I could about paddling the other sections of the river. It’s great when there is water. Don’t be intimidated by the rapids of the Rio Grande Gorge. The laws are not clear on whether the wildlife refuges can bar access to the public.
I’m not much help for the domestic side, exploring rivers takes time and I understand that is difficult to spare if you have a career and a family.
But there must be something to taking kids to the river.
Staley had to be back in town by noon. I finished the walk at the park where I had met the students of Melly Locke’s class the day before on my own.
There, under the Highway 70 bridge, several of the students were back with their parents to see the river. This time they wanted to find the water. Armed with shovels, they started to dig down to the water table.
Three feet into the sand they found water.
It was just another summer Saturday afternoon hanging out with friends down by the river. Here is the video all about it.
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.