Cochiti Lake

April 2 – 4, 2018

If not for a wrong turn, or should I say a failure to turn, our travel from ABQ to Cochiti Lake would have been about 30 miles total.  Call it a navigator failure.  At least we knew for sure we missed our turn when the pavement ended and a barricade blocked the way.  Fortunately, Pat could turn us around with Bitsy in tow and that made our travel day a whopping 40 miles.  We’re out of the city again and that makes us happy.

Cochiti Lake Recreation Area

This stop was at a Corps of Engineers park on Cochiti Lake formed by damming up the Rio Grande.

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From the overlook in the park, you can see the brown water of the Rio Grande meet the greenish water in Cochiti Lake.  Lucy is parked on the left and you can tell by the empty places that we’re a little head of season.  In fact, you can’t reserve spots here yet.  They are strictly first-come first-served, or FCFS in RV lingo, but we were lucky to score a spot with electricity and water.  The short drive and early arrival helped since those spots were all taken by 2pm, and on a Monday no less.

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The rest of Cochiti Lake with the dam on the right.

We came prepared to be self-sufficient, cooked all our own meals and did our Jackson walks in the park.  It was nice after two weeks in town to get off the beaten path again.  Of course we had a few ‘wind warning’ days that required Pat to put up a tarp as a wind break for grilling out.  We’ll just say it was a partial successful, since it required him to go out around 10pm one night to take it down.  A corner came loose and the whole thing was making an awful racket in the night.  Yes, still terribly windy well past 11pm!

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On the last day we discovered this little lovely down by the boat dock.  Amazing find in the desert.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks

This National Monument came highly recommended by our new friends we met in Alamogordo.  It was just down the road from Cochiti Lake, so thought we’d scout it out to see if it would be a good place to visit with our friends Lisa and Al.  Kasha-Katuwe means “white cliffs” in the Pueblo language and you can guess from the rest of the name what rock shape is favored.

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We’ve seen a lot of rock formations this past year and weren’t sure we’d be impressed with more hoodoos, but these were completely unique.  This is the first cliff you come to with all the little tent hoodoos up and down the rock face.  They look like cement tee-pees up close, but are made up of volcanic ash and rocks sculpted by wind and water.

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This landscape makes for some amazing hiking.

I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of the cliffs and the “tents”.

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About halfway along the trail, you enter a slot canyon.  Even here, nature finds a way.  Since taking this picture, we’ve seen more than one photographer’s work that includes this same tree.  It apparently fascinates most everyone on this trail.

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And when I say slot canyon, I mean slot.  Parts of the trail are only as wide as your foot and you have to be cooperative with other hikers to pass along the way.

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Looks like frosting, but really showcases what the rock “flow” must have looked like a million years ago when the canyon formed.

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Then you pop right back out on the other side of the canyon to continue the hike upward.

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Another amazing tree.  Now that, my friends, is a root, and looks like it just might snatch Pat off the trail.

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We almost made it to the top of the ridge when the ranger turned us around.   If I hadn’t stopped to take so many pictures we’d have made it all the way.  This view was good enough for the day and hopefully we’ll get to return when our friends arrive.

 

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I can’t help but see whipped cream turrets in the landscape.  The Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance make a lovely backdrop.

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Remember spying shapes in the clouds as a kid?  On the return hike we start spotting shapes in the rocks and trees.  Pat’s showing where he thinks the ground used to be before erosion exposed the base of this tree.  Of course I was looking at the opening below.

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Momma’s in the “doorway” holding the baby.

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And can you find Lincoln’s face in this rock?

We complained about the high winds during most of this camping stop, but without that same howling wind, this place wouldn’t exist.  Powerful evidence of things unseen.

Next up – Santa Fe with one of our shortest travels days yet.  See you on the way!

 

 

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