I parked on the dam, but it's also available to park just below it. I walked down the little trail. Water was flowing from an opening in near the bottom of dam and water in the desert always makes me happy.
I continued on downstream noticing there were a few scrub oaks mixed in with the mesquite that lines the sandy creek bottom. There is also the non-native salt cedar as well, but it hasn't taken over here as it has in many places along the Rio Grande. Desert shrubs were blooming and bees were humming everywhere. It was a tolerable 80 degrees, so I didn't feel too weird about hiking in desert while the summer is still on. Soon, I entered the twisty little section of real box canyon, which was much nicer than I remember, with rough, protruding walls that were high enough to cast deep shadows in the early afternoon. I spied a couple of ancient grinding holes in the bedrock near where I'm sure seeps in the cliffs have caused a profusion of stinging nettle to grow.
A little further down there are remnants of an old road the will help you around a small dry waterfall( although it's very easy to manage if one wants to continue in the streambed). There is also a opening in the cliffs on the south side here as well.
I turned to the north where the canyon met with Spring Canyon and explored upstream for awhile before turning around. There are many pockets of teal colored rock through out this area which I'm sure would have interested old time prospectors,but no metal deposits have ever been confirmed. I was also curious about the many areas of gray and brown rocks and gravelly soil that are completely devoid of vegetation. Is this result of persistent overgrazing, inhospitable soil types, recurring droughts or all of the above?
On my return trip I ventured a short ways past the confluence so I could return to Box Canyon via the little window in the cliffs I has seen earlier. A barn owl was flying among the trees and cliffs,but like the owl that I saw a few years ago in nearby Spring Canyon's box, he wouldn't co-operate for a photo.