my dam hike (as in Leasburg Dam)

The weather was really beautiful after all the wind we have suffered through.  But that is the way it is in New Mexico in the springtime.  The Leasburg dam was constructed in 1908 to channel water from the Rio Grande for irrigation in the Mesilla Valley.

The Leasburg Dam as seen from the midpoint of my hike.  There are many trails throughout the Leasburg Dam State Park.  This was from the Mongollon Trail.

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

Amother view of the dam as I started getting closer.

As I got very close to the dam I saw a bridge where I could cross the canal to get over to the dam.  However, when I reached the bridge there were signs not allowing use of this bridge.  There was another bridge further up the trail where I was able to cross, but I did have to go under the guardrail.

Here is a couple of close-up views of the dam taken from one of the day camp areas.

This is the day care area.  At one time the Rio Grande leading out from the dam was lined with cottonwood trees.  However the Tamarisk trees eventually took over simply because they use up so much water that there is not enough left for the Cottonwoods.  As you can see in this picture the park is planting new cottonwoods in this area.

A look down the bend in the river.

As I was walking along the trail, I cam upon this cave-like structure made from the roots of the surrounding trees.  It was matted down and looked like someone had been sleeping there.  Maybe a big bear.  HA HA!!

This was a great hike on a very nice day.  Tomorrow I will be traveling to Columbus, NM where I will cross the border into Palomas, Mexico to my dentist for teeth cleaning.  I went to her back in Oct. 2010 and was very pleased with her.

Fort Selden – Radium Springs, NM

The wind was still blowing, but not as bad as yesterday.  It is predicted to gust much higher, but not til later in the afternoon.   So I took advantage of the break in the weather to check out Fort Selden.  It is located outside of Leasburg Dam State Park about a 1/2 mile down the road.  It would be a good reason to get some much needed exercise.

When I got to the museum I was the only visitor there.  I think the wind kept everybody off the roads.  I was treated like a king.  They went out of their way to explain things to me.  I started with a 10 minute video explaining how the fort was started and how it was used.  Then you could go outside of the museum and see the fort.  Of course it has deteriorated badly over the years and there is not much standing.

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

This is the museum.  It is rather small but crammed with a lot of neat items and plenty of great information.

This is one of their means of transportation back in those late 1800’s.

Where the cook hung out and made all the meals for the soldiers.

An interesting fact about the fort was that General Douglas MacArthur, our famous general during World War II, lived with his family at the fort at a very young age.

This is the house they lived in for three years.

Here is a pic I took looking at what is left of the back wall of the officers quarters.  I can just picture them planning strategy for the troops.

The front of the barracks for the troops in the fort.  One cavalry unit and three infantry units were comprised of black troopers or “Buffalo Soldiers”.  There were 9 Medals of Honor presented to black soldiers for gallantry in action in New Mexico alone.

The original flag pole is still standing on the parade grounds.  The flag was flying but was taken down because of the high winds.

This was the best part of the day.  These folks were dressed in the clothing of the 1800’s when the fort was active.  Because of the wind I had been the only person coming by to see them.  It gave me the opportunity to talk in depth with them about what life must have been like at the fort.  They also gave me a lot of information about how the fort impacted the local area.  It was very educational.  I later learned that they were volunteers and did this every week end.  They also appeared in Civil War reenactments as well.  They were a wealth of knowledge and loved telling stories.

They also told me the main road to Las Cruces went right through their encampment.

While hiking back to the campgrounds I came upon the Fort Selden General Store.  It was in pretty bad shape.  I even tried to open the door but it was obvious that it has been closed for many years.

After I returned to the campgrounds the wind really started to blow big time.  I heard that it was gusting between 50-60 mph.  Needless to say I stayed in the rest of the day.  I am hoping tomorrow I will be able to hike down to the dam.

Leasburg dam state park

On Thursday I decided to take a short walk around the park.  Ever since I arrived it has been extremely windy with gusts up to 40mph.  However I was getting cabin fever and needed to get out and see what the park had to offer.

Next to the visitor’s center was a cactus patch garden with signage for many of the plants.  It was very nice.

Across from the visitor’s center there is a huge playground for the kids and further down the path I found this beehive oven used for cooking.

They also had a small amphitheater where the rangers would present talks on various subjects pertaining to the local area.

These next two pics show the magnificent views I had from my rig.

I was even able to find a few flowers still in bloom.

This is a view of the sunset taken out of my camp site.

I am hoping the wind will die down so that I can get out and enjoy my surroundings.  The wind has been blowing at 22 mph ever since I got here with gusts of 40-50 mph.  It blows sand everywhere and does not make for good hiking.  I will see tomorrow.