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
We spent the day paddling. It’s too cold and wet for us to stand still.
As a result, we blew by the 100-miles-left-to-the-Gulf mark and had no idea. We also passed the test plot where the USDA is experimenting with insects that dine on river cane to see if they will knock back the invasive plant. The researcher I was hoping to meet was at home with the flu.
We also portaged three dams. I was tempted to run the first one, but Keith pointed out the consequences of flipping on a 45-degree day with no place to dry and warm up. The portage only took 10 minutes.
The next dam was a 15-foot drop that would have been difficult in even a whitewater kayak. The last just looked mean from upstream. Unloading and reloading the canoes and wrestling them over rocks provided a break from what would have been nonstop paddling.
As the light was fading, we made camp in a willow thicket overlooking the Rio Grande. The sunset showed a flash of pink and red, giving us hope the forecast for sunshine and warmer temperatures tomorrow is correct.
When I started this reach, I was nervous about sleeping in an area with so many illegal crossings. Maybe it’s the cold weather or just luck, but we have camped on the river’s edge for three days now without an issue. Even Border Patrol has left us alone.
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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.