|Looking down at the Rio Grande from the rim rock. (Photo by Tom Baugh)|
|Big Arsenic Springs on the Rio Grande. (Photo by tom Baugh)|
Our descent along the crumbly surface of the trail took longer than any other mile-long stretch we have ever walked. But eventually we reached Big Arsenic Spring at the river’s edge. According to the story, possibly a myth, the spring was named by a hermit who wanted to keep the water all to himself. Perhaps somebody finally did the science, found out that this was not an arsenic spring, and the hermit lost his exclusivity. A flow of 5000 gallons per minute makes Big Arsenic Springs a rarity in this parched region of the earth. This artesian, subaqueous spring rushes from the base of a great tumble of lava rock and bursts out into the river in a white plume. We had the spring all to ourselves that morning and it was not until our journey back up the trail, when we had almost reached the rimrock, that we encountered a party of four, the first humans we had seen that day.
|The canyon rim above the Rio Grande. (Photo by Tom Baugh)|