Wednesday, October 29 – Bosque del Apache NWR

A late start due to another flat tire on the trailer. Grrrrr!

But finally, we start hiking out of San Antonio where we stopped yesterday. It’s a small village – probably the last one the Battalion passed on their way south. Still not much here. There’s a nice 200 acre parcel for sale if anyone’s interested. Water rights go with it.

Today’s highlight is our entrance into the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Bosque (prn: BOSS-kay or key – both seem to be OK) means “Wood” and the rest is probably self explanatory. The Apache Woods or Woods of the Apaches was an old time gathering place for the traders. Cottonwoods and willows constituted the woods providing a campsite with shade – a rare luxury in this area.

The staff reminds us that hiking off approved trails is not allowed. After all, the concept of a wildlife refuge is that the animals come first; recreation and people second. They also warn me I cannot carry my musket on the NWR. No problem.

There are thousands of snow geese – blazing white in the bright fall sunlight while they float on the deep blue water reflecting the skies color. Behind them are red and chocolate brown mountains with creamy tan layers of limestone.

In a few weeks this place will be swarming with birds. The Sand Hill cranes will be here in force – some have already arrived. Hundreds of bird species migrate through this location. It really is quite spectacular. So spectacular that the place will also be swarming with thousands of birders. Sorry we won’t be here to see it and participate. Put it on our list of things to do/see when Trek is done.

In 1846 one of the Battalion guys shot a pelican here and taking the throat pouch, made himself a hat to protect himself from the sun. Couldn’t do that today. You’d land in jail. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200. Go to jail. Go directly to jail.

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