Hiking Into The Rio Grande Gorge

I couldn’t let my friend Gordon, who camped here in the summer, show me up. You see, he has had knee replacement surgery and is a year older than I. So needless to say, I was off to do the canyon.

I took the Big Arsenic Spring trail into the Rio Grande Canyon to the Big Ar Spring Campground. This was 0.8 mile with a 600 feet change in altitude, rated medium difficulty. I don’t know how they measure the 0.8 mile, but I think that there may be an accuracy issue here. In my younger years I backpacked with 60 pounds on my back into and out of the Grand Canyon, but that was another lifetime.

I have to agree with the medium difficulty rating. The inclines were not horrific, the trail was wide and well made and maintained. It had the characteristic appearance of WPA/CCC projectsI have seen elsewhere, but there was no sign so stating. You younguns that think that WPA is a wifi security acronym, see the footnote. On the way out, at my many rest stops, I marveled at the amount of effort that was necessary to construct the trail down what appears as a sheer cliff from a distance.

I did not take Annie as dogs were not permitted on the trail, strangely the only trail in the area that disallows dogs. I asked ranger Danger about it, and he said he had no idea why this was the case. I suspect that in the early years of this park someone ordered the wrong sign, and the mistake has become obscure. But you know how the government bureaucracy is; never ask your boss anything that he may not know the answer, better to let the obvious singularity remain as is.

I did take a camera. The first shot is a view of a small section of trail. The ‘steps’ are well constructed water stops. A beautifully constructed trail.

At the spring at the bottom is a nice camping area with a few three-sided shelters for backpackers. Some even had a picnic table, all had a fire ring. Again, luxury accommodations as backpacking goes.

When I reached the river I had to do this:

Not the first time that I had a toe in the Rio as I visited it at Big Bend in Texas. A lot of the water disappears between here and there. I have also visited the Rio in Colorado.

At the river I got a picture…


and downstream:

Before I went down into the canyon I took Annie on a short flatland hike to a lookout upon the fish hatchery in the bottom of the Red River Gorge. Now I want to find the road that goes into the gorge to the hatchery. I have a map and a list of jeep trails in the area that I may try, although they can be nowhere near the fantastical breathtaking trails at 10,000 feet altitude in the Silverton, CO area. The hatchery:

Footnote; On May 6, 1935, the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) was created to help provide economic relief to the citizens of the United States who were suffering through the Great Depression.

The Creation of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd U.S. President on March 6, 1933. A bill known as the Emergency Work Progress Bill was introduced in Congress on March 21, 1933, enacted into law March 31, 1933. This bill spawned numerous federal agencies, such as the PWA, WPA and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). There were approximately 5,000 camps of 200 enrollees set up in all states, plus the American Territories. The enrollees enlisted for periods of six months at a time and were paid $1.00 per day, of which $25.00 per month was sent directly to their families. The CCC was made up of approximately 3.5 million men, 225,000 World War I veterans, the balance young American boys, unmarried, between the ages of 17 and 28 years. The CCC existed for over nine years until June 30, 1942, at which time it was absorbed into America’s Armed Forces.

General George Catlin Marshall testified before Congress at the end of World War II that the early training given to the men of the CCC was a major factor in America’s winning of that war.

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