Wow! Our first day exploring the state park was amazing! The visitor’s center was a great way to get oriented & learn about the geology & history of the area. This area was an ocean for several million years; it has been a desert for only 10,000 years!
We drove for several hours on Hwy 170, stopping at nearly every turn out. The road follows the river & the park boundary for the most part with lots of roller coaster dips & twisting turns. After the first couple of times the road dropped away in front of us, we learned to slow down quickly. The scenery is so breath taking & strange that we have taken way too many photos. It is just hard to control ourselves!
The Rio Grande River was quite a surprise. It originates is southern Colorado, flows through New Mexico & forms the border between the US & Mexico. By the time it gets down here, it barely exists anymore. The beautiful wild river has been bleed dry. It is hardly more than a shallow stream in most places. Really crazy to be standing 20 feet away from Mexico! Occasionally, a sign posts the $5000 fine for crossing the border. Donald Trump has obviously not been down here if he thinks a wall can be built through here.
The Closed Canyon Trail was our only hike of the day. Very different experience to walk between 50-foot canyon walls. Maggie was allowed on that trail & did great scrambling around on the rock/boulder “path”. We had to stop a bit short of the river because the drops in the path became 10-50 feet, requiring repelling gear!
The fantasy of back country camping was still in our hearts so we drove on to the Bofecillos Rd, a “maintained four-wheel drive road”. This is the access point for exploring the inner reaches of the park & a campsite we had originally thought about. We had been warned by a ranger not to try but so we wanted to see for ourselves. We did a five-minute test drive & went .8 miles! So funny, the truck did a fine job but the road was a washboard & required careful negotiation. Perhaps it is maintained annually! Not about to put our lovely home through that test. Our desire to hike some of those trails diminished as well. Three hours of driving to get there & another three hours home, doesn’t leave much time for hiking! Plenty of nice hiking opportunities closer to home.