A Hike in Search of Water

04-08-12 – A hike in an arroyo

A Prickly Pear Cactus growing happily on the side of the arroyo.


On a fine Easter morning, I head out my back door and take a hike in an arroyo. I haven’t been up this particular way in about 5 years and I look forward to enjoying it again. I was surprised at a few changes. There is a damn up about 40 minutes and an open field above it. When I arrive there I find the field is covered in 6-10 foot trees. Man may make changes to the landscape, but Mother Nature returns in the end! I am aiming towards an old windmill Frank and I had found years before. I find it, also with some changes. The fan is on the ground and broken; I speculate it is Mother Nature at work again. I walk a wide circle around the windmill, just poking around and I find some old pottery pieces, an old purple bottle neck, some green glass and a deer skull. Right near the deer skull, I find what looks like mountain lion scat and I can’t help but put 2 and 2 together to figure out how that deer skull got there! I see what looks like the remains of an old road and explore it for a few minutes. It reaches an obvious dirt road which I also follow for a few minutes and realize this might be an adventure for another day. Today, I have another escapade of sorts to try.

The fan of the old windmill down for the count.


For a while now I’ve been thinking about hiking in the desert and safety. I’ve read this book, “Desert Survival Skills” by David Alloway and one tip about water stuck in my mind. He describes the possibility of finding water in the curve of an arroyo. Dig on the outside of a bend in the arroyo. Since I was alone today (except for Cody dog), I decided this was a good opportunity to perform a test.  I looked for appropriate curves in the arroyo. I found one area where there were two wet spots between rocks and I decide this is the best place to dig. It hadn’t rained any time recently so I didn’t think it was from above; I entertained the ‘spring’ idea and started digging. I removed many stones and a lot of sand and dead leaves. The author suggests digging about 24 inches and I dug a hole about 12 inches by 8 inches when I hit several large rocks. I thought I remembered the book talking about water rising into the hole, so I take a break to see if anything ‘comes up’. Nothing. My watch says it’s getting close to my return time so I pack up, gear up and get up. I plan to try the curve idea out in the Mimbres this week-end.


My unsuccessful first attempt at finding water.


* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I’ve been reading a few hiking blogs and one guy talked about how he caught the hiking bug. I’m not sure when I did. I feel like I’ve always been outside or wanting to go outside. Maybe it stems from my mother yelling at us kids to “GO OUTSIDE!!” I have a memory of both my grandfathers gardening and I desperately love to garden also. I have memories of taking photographs for my photography class in high school – they were always outdoors. We would go into the country side and take pictures of old barns and ferns and landscapes. Always in nature. I love geography and geology. I recall hiking trips with college friends – hey, where is my old back pack????

The deer who didn't make it..........



I'm guessing this is the foundation of an old line shack. Any thoughts?



The arroyo near the spot I dug for water.



1.47 miles / 2.25 hours

54 down / 46 to go


About Gila Hiker

First I hiked 100 different trails in a year, now I write a monthly article in Desert Exposure about a local hike. Come on out to Silver City..... and bring your hiking gear!

Posted on April 9, 2012, in Challenge, Desert, Gila National Forest, Hiking, Nature, New Mexico, Outdoor Activities, Outdoors, Southwest and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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