Monday, September 16, 2013

Wild Rivers National Recreation Area, NM

Well, it's still raining off and on throughout the days we spend at Wild Rivers National Recreation Area near Questa in northern New Mexico, north of Taos.  We are on a plateau between two mountain ranges - the Tusas Mountains to the west and the Sangre De Cristo Mountains to the east.  The black clouds and thunderstorms certainly hover above the mountains daily and cause flooding all around us; but we are safe on the plateau.

The park is named for two rivers that converge here - the Rio Grande on the east and the smaller Red River on the west.  Both rivers are muddy and flowing very fast due to the rain.  Apparently, they are great for fishing trout.  On two separate days, we hike down the gorges to each river.  The rock here is all volcanic and makes for a dramatic backdrop to the tall Ponderosa Pines, New Mexico's state tree the Pinon Pines, and fragrant Rocky Mountain Junipers.  During one of our hikes, we spotted a Yellow-Bellied Sap Sucker - beautiful bird with a yellow belly, red throat, and black with white spots on his wings.  Unfortunately, he was too elusive for a photo.

View of the confluence of the Rio Grande (right) and Red River (left) from La Junta Overlook

View of the Rio Grande from the Chawalauna Overlook
Brad likes his new hat!
Rainbow over the Taos Mountains where it seems to rain every day!

From the Big Arsenic Springs Trail, 680 feet down to the Rio Grande and the cold spring
Yes, we hiked down this cliff and have to climb back up!

Lunch time at the Rio Grande on the Big Arsenic Springs Trail

Eroded volcanic rock in the Rio Grande at the bottom of the Big Arsenic Springs Trail

A Tarantula Hawk - about 2 inches long, the mother battles with a tarantula then carries it alive back to her nest where she'll deposit an egg which, when it hatches, will feed off the spider.  It is also tarantula mating season and we have seen one crossing the road.  They will travel far to find a mate.


  1. Again, the Rio Grande is not so grande. Hmmm, we saw a Tarantula in Zion NP two Falls ago. So it's the season, huh? Tell Brad I love his hat too.

  2. Thanks Lynda. I'm trying to find a hat I like too - saw a couple of women with the perfect hat at Bandelier National Monument. Now just to find one...