Cochiti Lake, NM April 2017

We drove from Canyon de Chelly (de shay) at Chinle, AZ to Cochiti Lake, NM. It was a pretty long day plus we lost an hour when we left the goofy Arizona space-time continuum into normal Mountain Daylight Time.

Cochiti Lake is within the Cochiti Pueblo and is the Rio Grande River behind the Cochiti Dam.  The dam was built starting in 1965 by the Army Corps of Engineers.  It took almost 10 years to complete.  The dam is more than 29,000 feet long. The reservoir has a capacity of more than 800 million cubic meters of water.  That is a lot of water behind a dam almost five miles long.  It is the 11th largest earth filled dam in the world.  [Math Alert] That amount of water would cover 100 football fields with water more than a mile deep.  Seems like a lot of water and it is, but it holds much less than Lake Mille Lacs in northern Minnesota.👍

I rode my bike all the way across the dam on the two lane paved road. The vertical structure way out there is part of the spillway.  It is just past the three mile marker.

The spillway is a very active one.  The water is churning as it goes over a waterfall down into the outlet into the Rio Grande River as it flows south. You can see a truck on the bridge at the left end.  It gives you an idea of how big the river is as it exits the dam. The Rio Grande is much bigger here than it is down at Big Bend NP in TX.  There are also three large irrigation channels exiting here.  These are about 8-10 ft wide. Water flows down the valley several miles to farms along the channel to the Kewa Pueblo (formerly known as Santo Domingo Pueblo).

We walked up to the Visitor’s Center.  It looks out over the campground.  Can you see us?  We are over on the left, maroon awning.  This is a very nice campground with 50 amp hookps and water at many sites.  Each site has a ramada (sun shade), picnic table and grill. They are reservable during most of the year.  Our neighbors were from Tofte MN.  They came over one   evening for a camp fire and a chin wag.  There is another campground on the other side of the reservoir.  It has power and water hook ups as well but is not as easy to get to.

The Visitor’s Center had a covered area that created interesting shadows.

We went into Santa Fe a couple days after we got to Cochiti to one of our favorite places to eat, the Cowgirl Barbecue. It always has great food.

More later,

Roger and Susan

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