Thursday, January 20, 2011

Waterflow Rock Art

The Waterflow Rock Art site is unmarked and obscure on the north side of Highway 64, west of Farmington, New Mexico. There is a large outcrop of sandstone between mile post 37 and 38 across from the Big Rock Trading Post.

There is a driveway that provides enough space to pull over and look around. There is a slippery trail to the east and some panels visible across a fence to the west.

It’s not a very comfortable place to visit as the slippery trail is very close to the busy highway, but there are several panels that can be viewed without much effort. I didn’t go very far to the east but there are several figures to see, especially up high.

The panels to the west of the driveway are easy to view from a distance with binoculars. There is a fence and with a locked gate between the pullover place and the sandstone outcrop.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Animas River Walk-Farmington, NM

The Animas River Walk is a 6 mile trail system along the Animas River in Farmington, New Mexico. Two thirds of New Mexico surface water flows through the Farmington area at the confluence of the Animas, San Juan, and LaPlata Rivers.

For many years Farmington relied on the water for its growth as an agricultural town, though in recent years energy resources have taken a leading role. Several donations of land along the river corridor have helped create a scenic and relaxing trail in the main market town in the Four Corners.

I started hiking on the west end near the Berg Park area. Several segments of main trail have a brickwork surface. In winter, the very large preserved cottonwood trees stand out.

I saw signs later on that mention Fremont Cottonwoods as the most common and Narrowleaf Cottonwoods as the rarest. There are several brick plaza areas along the way. The River Reach Terrace has a large map showing the highlights of the River Walk.

There are two bridges crossing the Animas River with trail segments on both sides of the river between the bridges. There are several parallel trails, some staying close to the river banks and some winding through woodlands areas. In the segment between the bridges many Mallard ducks and Canada geese use the river. There are signs posted advising visitors what is good duck food and what is bad.
On the north side plaza there is an all veterans memorial with a monument and historical review of every United States war beginning with the Revolutionary War. Each service has a small monument and all the regional flags are on the display.

Toward the east end of the area there is the River Reach Landing and a White Water Park area. There is a map showing the where the landing areas are along the Animas and San Juan Rivers.
An unusual feature in a natural area is an interpretive display of a natural gas well. This operating well is described as being 1350 feet deep and brings up a water and gas mix to the surface where the fluids are separated and partially processed.

There is a geologic map of the regional layers from 8000 feet above sea level to 8000 feet below. The interpretive signs show the well penetrating to the Morrison Formation, which is visible on the surface near Moab, Utah and other Four Corners locations.
The east end of the River Walk features the Riverside Nature Center with views of preserved wetlands along a nature trail. Watch out for prairie dog holes near the Nature Center. There are a few interpretive signs that mention the birds common in the area. Some of the birds mentioned include quail and pheasants, Red Tailed and Coopers hawks, and magpies, along with the Mallards and Canada geese. There are some large nesting boxes near the wetlands area.

I spent 1:45 hours on the River Walk on a 42 F degree mid January day. I hiked about 4 miles including some of the side trail options but not all of them. The main trail and most of the side trails were cleared of snow and park workers were working on the trail even as I was hiking.

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