|January, 11, 2004
Dale and I are volunteering at the BLM in Taos, New Mexico, and are
so happy, here.
We have full hook-ups, they are supplying our propane and our phone
line. We are alone in the marvelous canyon...we are in the Rio Bravos
campground, about 2 miles into the canyon. We are contracted to work
14 hours a week, and they are paying us over $500 a month--I feel like
WE should be paying THEM! The Rio Grande runs past our RV.
We haven't seen much wildlife, except for ducks and Canada Geese, but we
HEAR coyotes at night, and see tracks of larger animals. The night
sky is marvelous--before the moon comes up above the canyon rim, the stars
sparkle like jewels on velvet.
We are really doing well--last summer with the fire, and the bikes
being stolen, we lost a lot of money. But we worked in December in
Phoenix selling Christmas Trees and made almost $4000, and figure to save
that much at least during this stay at the BLM, so we may buy a small car
or SUV for local trips--I'll just drive along behind Dale as we move the
We have been hiking and biking, and this week plan to go out hunting
January 29, 2004
Just a note to tell you about the other day...Dale and I had volunteered
to help with the fish stocking at Wild Rivers...what do I know? I
thought they wanted me to knit little socks for the fishes...But no!!
Up at the crack of dawn...out the door to the BLM, and into a van with
7 other people for an hours ride to Wild Rivers, a huge protected area
along and above the gorge, which is wilder and colder than here, because
of the higher altitude. There are black bears, elk and cougars roaming
It was minus 4 degrees on the way into the park. We were ACTUALLY
going to help stock the Red River and the Rio Grande with itsy bitsy baby
fish--about 1 or 2 inches long. Gee, that doesn't sound too bad,
does it? OK. This is what we had to do...each of us (there
were about 30 of us, mostly BLM employees, but some volunteers, like us)
had to carry a backpack with a 5 gallon plastic container filled with water
and 1500 brown trout fry. This weighed about 40 pounds, plus pack,
and lunch...Then, we had to hike this rocky, STEEP, icy path 800-1000 feet
down into the gorge!! Not only THAT, but we had to climb down a wooden
ladder (carrying this backpack), and down 3 sets of metal stairs with rickety
railings anchored onto the side of the cliff. And you KNOW about
my fear of heights!! It was 1.2 miles DOWN...and 1.2 miles BACK UP!!
When we finally got down, we had to acclimate the baby fish to the river--that
took about 45 minutes, before they could be released, and we could be on
our way back to the top. My knees and hips were screaming at me,
but Dale helped me every step of the way. At one point, on the way
back up, I almost had a panic attack at having to go back up one of the
sets of stairs. I was literally fighting down the fear...but Dale
calmed me by saying "One of these days, Nick or Tony will be in a difficult
place, and they'll ask themselves "What would GRANDMA do??""
The scenery was magnificent!! Truly, truly. Whenever I
could look up from watching my feet...And to watch those little baby fish
start to swim around! COOL!!
And guess what? Dale and I got to be on the local evening NEWS!!
There was a cameraman at the start of the hike, and he wanted to interview
us! He asked me what I was looking forward to seeing in the Gorge,
and I told him I was looking forward to seeing the TRUCK again, at the
END of it!!! And they had the NERVE to say on the broadcast that
I was just kidding!!