Monday, March 11, 2013

Buckle Bar Canyon- Selden Canyon

  I tried visiting here once before,but from the upland  side. We drove under I-25 a short ways north of the Radium Springs, and then back under( heading west) a couple miles further north. We parked and began  hiking  down the canyon. For some reason we got side tracked by an old road and ended up at horseshoe shaped excavation. I'm not sure if it had been a barite mine or just a sand and gravel quarry. We wandered around on several old roads and made a loop back to our car, leaving the lower( and more scenic) end of Buckle Bar Canyon unexplored.
      This time I  took the  dirt road across NM 185 from the Broad Canyon Dam , parked and started walking down to the river. Crossing the mighty Rio Grande was  a little treacherous,but I managed to not get the tops of my boots wet( for those you not from New Mexico, the river has almost no water in the winter time,until they turn on the " faucet" at Elephant Butte Dam in the Spring). We( Seamus the Scottie and I) ducked under the railroad trestle and started walking up the wide, deep mouth of the canyon. Buckle Bar Canyon starts out several miles upstream as a shallow, sandy arroyo in an area of low hills, but in the last half mile or so before it reaches the Rio Grande, it widens and deepens with walls of buff conglomerate towering on either side, several hundred feet high.This is one of the most scenic areas in Selden Canyon( on the river)  as well, along with a second area a little ways north closer to Tonuco Peak. Both have high cliffs with cool rock formations. The Buckle Bar area receives little notice from drivers on the NM 185 because a hill intervenes between the road and river, blocking the views. This may be remedied in the future when the Broad Canyon Ranch(just slightly south of Buckle Bar, along the river) becomes a full fledged state park.
 We walked up side canyons on either side of the main canyon, in vain hope of spying some petroglyphs, as this arroyo was very close in configuration to the one near  Tonuco Peak where a side canyon does contain numerous petroglyphs.  I did find an interesting vein of calcite spar in one. We also climbed up to an intriguing alcove only to find remnants of raptor nests. On the way back, I noticed the many willow slips  that have been planted over the last 2 years amongst the ash and black stumps of the torched salt cedar. I hope they will survive  and thrive.

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