Perplexing Puzzle of the Perceivable Pachyderm

The best way to get your day off to a good start is with a line up of awesome alliteration, wouldn't you agree? Well, let me just tell you about our day exploring the park. We had in mind to do some hiking, but it was so danged windy here yesterday that being outside was not particularly pleasant. We decided to do our hiking on four wheels...although with our truck, we're actually on six wheels.

We first drove across the road from where the entrance to our campground is, and drove down to the lake's edge.

Except for the lake, this is pretty typical New Mexico terrain. Flat, with the occasional arroyo and mesa thrown in to generate interest. And I'm not just kidding about the wind. This is a fresh water lake...not the ocean...and yet the surf was up.

Of course, Mike the engineer had to get out his anemometer. This is the sort of thing that really turns his crank.

With the wind blowing so hard, we decided to bag hiking and just drive along the road that followed the lake shore as far as we could go. There were some small spur roads that took us right to the water's edge. This is all state park land, but it seems as if camping and campfires are allowed anywhere, and we saw evidence of both outside designated campgrounds. With a name like "Elephant Butte," you'd sort of think there's a butte around somewhere that looks like an elephant, right? And all along the way, I'd say to Mike, "Do you think that's the elephant?" And even with our most optimistic imaginations, we could find no elephants anywhere.

We'd driven outside the park gates and when we passed back through again, we asked the volunteer there about the elephant butte. Actually, there is a butte, but we were looking in the wrong place. That just figures, doesn't it? The elephant was there, but there were no signs talking about it. The volunteer gave us directions along with the cutest little trail map I've ever seen. It's small enough to fit in the palm of my hand when it's folded up.

And then it unfolds into a regular sized map. Whoa. It's practically magic.

Okay, so we went back to the RV for some lunch and naps, and then we needed to get back in the truck and drive around to where the elephant butte is. Take a look in the image below and feast your eyes.

Do you see it? The trunk goes off to the right and it's kind of underwater, but hey...you can see the elephant's ear can't you? It's true you'll need to have an optimistic imagination too, but phew. We were so relieved to have found it.

And that's not all we found. The Elephant Butte Dam is around here too, and the lake was very pretty. There are a couple of marinas, and there are also some earthen dams that shore up the canyons where the rising waters of the reservoir could leak out into the surrounding landscape.

The reservoir is formed by damming up the waters of the Rio Grande, which flows south from here.

Here's the other side of it. Hydroelectric power is being generated here.

And there's the Rio Grande flowing on its merry way toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Here's a panorama of the area.

And here's a little information about the dam.

The other side of the sign was just as interesting, and it gave us some ideas about what to do with our time today. You'll see I've marked with red arrows some "old mining towns," and the Lake Valley Ghost Town. They're just about an hour southwest of us, and so we'll go take a look at those today. I love a good ghost town, don't you?

Also yesterday, I finished up the third of the Sundress dress blocks.

And now I'm ready to start on the 11th of 12 of the Wine Country blocks. I'm getting excited to finish these up...mainly because I have another new project I can start when they're all finished. I live to start new projects, don't you? Finishes Schminishes!

So time to get a move on. There's a little bit of driving to do today if we're going to see the ghost town.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lynette said...

What a pretty sundress. That one picture that shows the buildings below the dam, so close to it makes my brain say, "Nope!" It does look like a remarkably sturdy dam, but still. . .

gayle said...

I've been looking at "Elephant Butte" for days here, and even though I know perfectly well how to pronounce "butte", my brain insists on saying it (Every Time) without that last "e". Made the eventual photo of the buttE a little disappointing, since I was expecting a whole different shape...
Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us!


Love the new sundress!!
and I can 'see' the elephant--but mine is laying down and having a nap!!!
enjoy your adventures--maybe you will discover another quilt shop along the way!!!!
enjoy, di

gpc said...

Wait, to the right, you say? My elephant's trunk goes to the left, and I can see his ear clearly. There must be a whole dang herd in that park. And I'm with Gayle, I've been secretly chuckling about the missing "e" in my head as I've read your adventures. And dam, it's a beauty and so it the reservoir.

Linda Schiffer said...

I just read a great blog post about historic campers and caravans ... and I thought of the two of you instantly. :) Enjoy: http://www.messynessychic.com/2018/02/23/a-brief-compendium-of-crazy-campers/

:) Linda

Lyndsey said...

My elephant trunk also goes to the left and what a cute elephant it is. The sundress is really pretty.

WoolenSails said...

Glad you found the butte, lol. That is an amazing lake, nice to see in such a dry area.


piecefulwendy said...

Glad you found the hiding elephant, LoL That sunshine and warm wind looks lovely, although this morning's drive to drop off my husband at the race start was beautiful. Sunshine and frosty white trees lining the road. Off to check out a quilt shop soon and stock up on some groceries in case we get marooned from the storm! Enjoy your day!

Kate said...

I'm glad you found the elephant. Missing elephants are scary things. Looks like you've got lots of fun stuff to check out.

quiltzyx said...

I'm with gpc - I see the elephant facing to the left...

Beautiful lake. Reminds me of Lake Pleasant in AZ.

QuiltGranma said...

Well, you can truly say now that you've "seen the elephant"! And the other gals are right, the trunk goes tot he left. We were just up there on Sunday to take a look at it ourselves. Then we went looking for a place to eat... not much open on a Sunday afternoon! Williamsburg, T or C... finally found a Mexican drive through! Boy were we starving!