Sunday, November 6, 2011

Elephant Lake Butte

John and I were not sure at first which hump sticking out of the lake was the "butte",  but maybe the one above does look like an elephant head. It is an ancient volcanic cone which arises out of the lake. The lake is New Mexico's largest and most popular lake. Presently the water level is down. As I mentioned in the last posting, there are several dams along the Rio Grande in this area. The dam at Elephant Lake was the first attempt to control the river. It was built in 1916.
On Friday we drove over to the Percha Dam site, which is now a dry river bed. It was amazing to us that we could hike across the river. We were at first alarmed about the river being so dry, but then remembered that at present the dams are holding the Rio Grande back so that it can flow elsewhere.
We also hiked around Caballo Dam State Park, as we had been told it was a good place to see birds. We saw eagles and osprey, a couple blue heron and that was about it. As usual, we more heard them than saw any we could identify. We did come upon a herd of mule deer, about 20 of them. And we also saw, what was very unusual, a few cattle munching grass in the playground of the park's campground. There is free range for cattle in most of New Mexico. We have learned to watch for them on the roads.

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