I could have stayed in Silverton longer, but I needed to do some housekeeping. The disadvantage was that I'd need to reposition on a weekend. With that in mind, I made reservations at Heron Lake State Park
. New Mexico State Parks are a good deal - $10 for dry sites, $14 with electric. The rate hasn't changed for at least five years. Turns out I didn't need the reservations...
I picked Heron Lake for its elevation, and then went hiking on the Rio Chama trail. It starts near the Heron Dam, down the stairs and then down the switchbacks to the river.
The suspension bridge crosses the Rio Chama. Looks like some of the suspension could use an adjustment to get it lined up again.
The hike through the small canyon was interesting for the trees, rocks, and the sound of the river. Unfortunately, the river was rarely seen.
I only got about 1.5 miles out when I decided that it would be best to return to my truck. The good news was that I beat the rain. The bad news is the truck REALLY
needs a wash job.
Sunday afternoon I went wandering north out of Chama. Looks like the railroad is a good source for fence posts. They must have gotten a wonderful deal on barbed wire as well!
As I headed up the canyon towards the border, I spotted this classy sign for the Rancho Del Oso Pardo
. It didn't really look like a cattle ranch. There's not much info about it, but it turns out, for about $1.2M you can buy a 3% share in the ranch that is operated as a private wildlife and fishing property.
The Forest Service road cuts through the beautiful property. The grass looked really good, and occasionally you'd spot the river down in the bottom. The fencing was unusual for a ranch - it was all modern "split rail" style wooden fence. Occasionally, you'd find a solar powered, code controlled gate with roads heading to the river or the hills.
More often, you'd see signs making it clear that you really weren't welcome to leave the roadway. It might be a FS road, but it was private, very exclusive, hunting and fishing range on either side of the road.
I loved this area of New Mexico, at least at this time of year. High enough to cool down in the evenings with daytime temps in the low 80s, and lots of interesting small towns and countryside to be explored.
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