Sunday, September 11, 2011

Adventures at Navajo Lake State Park

It's a chilly, rainy day at Navajo Lake State Park
“Little ducky duddle, went swimming in a puddle; went swimming in a puddle quite small. Says he it doesn’t matter how much I splash and splatter, I’m only a ducky after all” – a song children sing on rainy days.
I arrived the afternoon of Thursday, August 11, got Jeremiah settled into site #48 and then I was off and running by 7 a.m. the next day. It would be a typical busy weekend both in the campground, on the lake and at the river. I mentally prepared for up to 10-hour ‘work’ days, seven days a week. Thankfully I’m blessed with high energy and stamina. And I'm blessed to have super Rangers who are so appreciative of their volunteers.
Navajo Lake, located in northwestern New Mexico and southwest Colorado, is New Mexico’s second largest lake. The lake is part of the Colorado River Storage Project. Water is impounded in the lake by an earth- and rock-filled dam that is at 6,085 feet elevation. Released water flows into the San Juan River, famous for its superb trout fishing.
My responsibility includes 77 RV and tent camping sites and assisting campers in a variety of ways. Fortunately, most campers are super and make this job a sweet one. I enjoy greeting campers, being able to make time to visit with them. However, there are always a few rotten apples in the bunch that can challenge my naturally good nature.
Birding time has been incidental – watching House Finches and Scrub Jays at my seed feeders and Black-headed Grosbeaks on the ground, enjoying the Williamson Sapsuckers that hang out in the Pinon trees and the Juniper Titmouse that spend their time in the Juniper trees. Crows, Common Ravens and Turkey Vultures lazily soar over the campgrounds and lake. I know there are other birds, but I have not taken time to look for them. Oh, yes, today I saw an Eastern Collared Lizard - greenish body and yellow feet!
My two biggest inconveniences when I was here last year were laundry and groceries. This year one of the rangers, who lives on the park property, has let me use her washer and drier. And although another ranger has offered to bring groceries from town (closest town is about 25 miles), one of the regular campers brings groceries when she goes to town. What a blessing.
During my time here, weekends are always busy – just ‘warm-ups’ for Labor Day weekend and after Labor Day campsites are full of local and serious fishermen. For Labor Day, as expected we were full and overflowing. As I navigated the tangle of RVs, tents, boats, boat trailers, bicycles, cars, pickup trucks, dogs, adults and children, I discovered that it helped to be singing or humming a hymn, and smiling.
Sept. 11 – moving out day for 28 campsites means site cleaning for me. At least the sun is out again, although weatherman says 30% chance of rain for the rest of the week. When this evening arrives, I have just two more weekends here – I’ll leave either Sept. 28 or 29; drive down to the Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area for a couple days before heading home early Sunday, Oct. 2, morning.
My computer is acting up again, and actually had a major problem last week – a corrupt operating system according to the tech help at Carbonite (a backup system I wisely pay for). Thanks to my foresight, I didn’t lose anything.