Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Deep Place in the Earth II

Continued from the preceding post.

The lower end of the Rio Grande Gorge near Pilar, NM. (Photo by Tom Baugh
We also had the opportunity to visit the river at the lower end of the Gorge, near the community of Pilar, New Mexico.  This is a different river, more gentle and much less dramatic.  A road winds along the east bank of the river through the small community of Pilar and up river past Bureau of Land Management campsites until it ends at the confluence of the Rio Grande with the Rio Pueblo de Taos.
The Rio Pueblo de Taos is the same stream that passes through the Pueblo community of Taos on the north side of the present day tourist community of Taos. From Pilar the river flows south through increasingly open and arid land, exits New Mexico, enters the US state of Texas, and eventually joins with the Gulf of Mexico.  Although this lower end of the Gorge is beautiful, it is for some reason here that one becomes increasingly aware of the aridity of this region of North America. During the days that we spent in the Taos area we never purchased a local or regional newspaper that failed to mention the declining water resources of the region.  It is difficult to conceive of anything that will, over the long run, increase the amount of water available to New Mexico.  And yet growth continues to outstrip the sparse water resources.  The situation here is no different than that facing many other parts of the world.  Our populations continue to grow, our needs for natural and processed resources continue to expand but water, the most essential resource of all and the most limiting next to air, continues to decline.
A very small seep from a volcanic hillside above the Rio Grande (Photo by  Tom Baugh)

Continued in the next post.