Rio Grande 2016

#1
The Rio Grande, or Rio Bravo del Norte as its known in Mexico; rises in the western part of the Rio Grande National Forest in the U.S. state of Colorado. The river is formed at Stony Pass, by the joining of several streams at the base of Canby Mountain in the San Juan Mountains, just east of the Continental Divide. From there, it flows through the the San Luis Valley, then south into New Mexico, passing through Taos, Española, Albuquerque, Las Cruces and then through El Paso and Cd. Juarez Mexico, from there on, it serves as a natural border between the United States and Mexico until it discharges into the Gulf of Mexico. Heavy water consumption of farms and cities along with many large diversion dams on the river have eliminated its original water flow, now only waters from other tributary rivers, like the Rio Conchos, Pecos River, etc. reaches the Gulf.

-First stage, From Stony Pass to El Paso, Texas/Cd. Juarez, Mexico.

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After spending a few days in the San Juan Mountains, we broke camp very early Wednesday morning and by 8:00 am we were airing down at the Stony Pass trailhead.

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After following Cunningham Creek for a few miles we started the ascent to Stony Pass.

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Pretty soon the trail got very steep…. and narrow…

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But the views were spectacular…

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…and after a bunch of switchbacks we made it above the tree line and into the alpine tundra…

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Drive slow and enjoy the scenery…drive fast and join the scenery…..

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But even though we were going slow, we just had to stop a few times to enjoy the beautiful mountain tundra scenery…
 
#3
Then we finally made it to the top, Stony Pass...Veni, Vidi, Vici...

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What more can I say...I'll let the pictures do the talking...

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After a few minutes of savoring the moment we started the descent ….to the other side…

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You can barely see down there the Rio Grande trickle down the mountain...

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The Rio Grande headwaters...here we collected some water that we'll be taking all the way down where the river discharges into the gulf of Mexico...

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The bleeding heart of the Rio Grande...

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Then we got to Pole Creek...

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Here's where the harder part of the trail starts...
 
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#4
As we continued our trek towards Rio Grande reservoir...

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...the road got narrow and rocky...and then muddy...then rocky again...

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...but with beautiful scenery...

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#5
The Rio Grande headwaters...here we collected some water that we'll be taking all the way down where the river discharges into the gulf of Mexico...

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Awesome trip so far, keep the pictures coming. Sounds like you were inspired by Andrew St. Pierre White and his Okavango expedition. After backpacking through the San Juan's as a kid, I am always itching to get back to southern Colorado, it's a beautiful place.
 
#6
I've always been fascinated with this river's enormously rich social, cultural and political history, but it was actually Colin McDonald and his Disappearing Rio Grande Expedition who inspired this, he did it kayaking and walking, so I thought why not do it in a jeep?
 
#7
The Rio Grande Reservoir

We continued on that road (FS520) and climbed up the mountain one last time and began descending into a nice valley along the river. We encountered a couple of guys hunting in a chevy truck, they stopped and asked me, "Are you guys coming from up there?" Yes, I said; "really, hauling that camper and all?" Yes, I said again before asking him how long it was before we got to the reservoir, and how bad was the road still? then he said, "About five more miles, and if you came down from there, the road will be pretty easy now haha.."
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And finally, there it was...The Rio Grande Reservoir....

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Up to this point, the river is as wild and free as a river can be. From now on, all the way down to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico; man takes control....

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#8
OK, I gotta say it. Way to go, little tent trailer:wings:, nice and light just following along no problem. Still has little factory tyres, looks like only added item is some straps.
 
#9
OK, I gotta say it. Way to go, little tent trailer:wings:, nice and light just following along no problem. Still has little factory tyres, looks like only added item is some straps.
It's got a welded C-channel reinforcing underframe with Jeep Cherokee XJ rear suspension leaf springs with coilover shocks and 15" tires, instead of the factory 13's. Also the body panels have been reinforced with screwed gussets and metal plates and expanding foam insulation between outer shell and inner panels. I put the straps to keep things tight together and to add a little peace of mind.
 
#12
My wife and I go to the San Juans every year and the drive there takes us along the Rio Grande for a while. I have often thought that it would be cool to do this trip. Subscribing for more!
 
#13
Thanks everyone for your comments. I'm a little behind in this report and we'll continue on the second leg of this adventure in about two weeks, so I'm gonna speed things up a bit.
We continued down the road along the river until we hit HWY. 149, we went through Creede, South Fork Alamosa and pushed it all the way down to Questa, NM. We found a nice campground to spend the next couple of nights.
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#14
nice write up, Stoney Pass is one of my favorite trails and i am lucky enough to get to do it 2-4 times a year, love camping up there.