This was a hard one. I had been to the state several times, and had been thwarted by wind, weather, circumstance, and more wind.
I plotted my return carefully, deciding to stay at Ghost Ranch, the educational center and arts community that happens to be 15 minutes from Abiquiu Lake. Finally, the week was here…and I got a midnight message that Abiquiu Lake had been closed for blue-green algae. I've run into algae (and red tide) other places in the last year, and it is yet another reason we need to pay attention to runoff and climate change.
I went into full research mode, talking to many outfitters in the state, tourism professionals, even the sister of a friend, looking for alternatives.
I was beginning to think New Mexico was my white whale. I loved being disconnected at Ghost Ranch even if I couldn’t paddle (or swim).
Finally, I was up before dawn and drove to Albuquerque, watching the sun rise on my drive, to meet MST Adventures to paddle a section of the Rio Grande. The river winds its way through public and private land, Russian olive trees glistening sliver in the wind. We saw roadrunners, evidence of beaver, cormorant, and I heard tale of porcupines sleeping in the crooks of trees. We talked so much we missed our half-way stop break and basically forgot to take pictures. I learned about reading the river, monsoons, and much, much more, all while gazing up at Sandia Peak. Eight miles and some years later: State 46 completed.