Section 10: Rio Grande Village to Langtry

 

Day 121

15 miles?

 
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It wasn't any better or any worse today. More army crawling through cane and bushes. More lush patches of grass that lured us in only to end in thorns. More naive hope that each bend would offer something different. Tenny bailed into the river thinking that even treading water would be better than forcing her way through another dark patch of cane. All those days in college athletics when she and Nikki aqua jogged religiously would finally come in handy!

Only, who would have thought they would use aqua jogging to walk the US border?

She didn't last long in the water before the boats reached her and dragged her sorry self to the shore. In and out of the boats, over and over.

 

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While resting on a tiny beach, we found mountain lion tracks edging the water. Fred was convinced there was a good story here that needed some detective work. While the girls powered through the snacks Fred followed the tracks back into the woods where he found more evidence. Crouched out of sight in the grass, he waited for the perfect moment to let out a pitch-perfect mountain lion roar. Nicely played Fred. You definitely got us with that one! He followed up with a convincing tale of a mama lion and her two rowdy cubs. They were goofing off when mom was trying to get them to listen and she had to teach them some manners. We were all impressed with our cougar specialist.

 

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Later in the evening a road came down to the river. What a feeling, to be on a smooth-sailing, unobstructed road! Even if it did only last for a mile. This is all private property so we were pretty sure it was someone's personal road.

We’re hoping our passage is okay because it was within the river corridor and we’re below high water line...hopefully?

A couple signs of life on the road, a campfire ring, some discarded items and more heavily burned cane. A flashing light from the top of the canyon wall captured our attention for at least half a mile. At first it looked like a distress signal caused by a mirror or reflective surface but as we approached the movement seemed to random. Finally we could see the structure, a large pole with a hanging object. It must be some type of gauging instrument.

 

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We set up a cozy camp across from Sanders Canyon. We were very sad that tonight is Nikki’s last night with us, and we wanted to pack in as much as possible. She was intrigued by a large side canyon across the river and Tenny agreed to go with her as long as she didn’t have to get wet. Tenny hadn’t been able to shake the chill of being in the water for what felt like half the day. The ensuing kayaking/climbing/sidling/hiking adventure took an unnecessarily absurd amount of time, but fortunately Sanders Canyon was well worth it. A limestone shelf provided an excellent vantage point to inspect the canyon and the cracked mud floor below. The amount of fossils inlaid in the limestone was incredible. Nikki, you will be missed! Don't gooooooo!

 

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