On the road again with “The Felix” reservoir hopping through spectacular Georgia O’Keefe country in north-central New Mexico.
Come along and see what we discovered!
August 8, 9, 10, & 11, 2022
We’ve been here before, but the geology (infinitely fascinating), shapes and colors (infinite inspiration), and the expansive views (just doggone infinite) always amaze and never get old.
First stop ….. Echo Amphitheater. Appropriately named and steeped in legend, the echoes resounding from the concave walls of the amphitheater might sound a tiny bit like the anguished cries of the dead, until you “throw” a hearty laugh. And all those red streaks staining the walls are really Desert Varnish and not the blood of those pushed from the top. While these stories have been passed down for nearly 150 years, the rocks reveal the geologic history of the area dating back more than 250 million years. They tell of ancient sea beds, rivers, sand dunes, and the wildlife that used to roam here. Wind, water and climate helped to color and layer the rocks from the bottom to the top of this entire area. And lucky us ….. We camped just below these beautiful sandstone and limestone cliffs. Wow! The sunrise was breathtaking!
Heron Lake State Park. Day 2 of our Escapito found us exploring a lesser known New Mexico State Park just south of the Colorado border. Heron Lake (and her sister lake El Vado) are reservoirs along the Chama River drainage that receive water from the San Juan Basin in southern Colorado, and hold this water until needed downstream in the Rio Grande. But drought in the region keeps Heron Lake water levels low. Even 3-4 foot tall ponderosa pines have taken hold in the few hundred yards of sandstone exposed between the lake and the high water line. But the people fishing from the shore and the osprey spotting fish from overhead seemed fine with the water levels as they are. We enjoyed many forays into the lake’s surrounding pine forest, found sign of mule deer and elk, and discovered several new-to-me flowers. It was a very pleasant stay.
Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area and Overlook Campground. Day 3 of our reservoir tour we spent just southeast of the village of Chimayo at the base of the Sange de Cristo Mountains. Here, the Bureau of Land Management manages a beautiful recreation area surrounding Santa Cruz Lake. Snow melt fills this reservoir to the brim and makes for some great views from Overlook Campground. Although the campground is very weedy (a result of livestock grazing) everything was bathed in green, and I was delighted to discover 2 new-to-me species of flowers in the nightshade (potato) family. It was fun talking with a couple of “en plein air” landscape artists who had come up from Santa Fe for a day of painting, who inspired me to try a few sketches of the reservoir.
Thanks for coming along!