Monday, January 15, 2007

The Mighty Rio Grande

The mighty Rio Grande river is the third longest river in the United States. It starts high up in the Rocky Mountains of North America and runs 3,034 kilometres (1,885 miles) to the Gulf of Mexico in the Southeast of Texas. Along the way it changes from a wild, clear mountain river to little more than a slow muddy irrigation canal, and then back to a really big river.

The river is so well controlled by dams and so heavily used for irrigation that by the time it reaches El Paso you can often wade across it without getting your knees wet.

A lot of other rivers join the trek along the way to the coast. For a big portion of its length the Rio Grande serves as the national boundary between Mexico and the United States. A few hundred miles downstream from El Paso the Rio Grande has been replenished. River raft trips through the Santa Elena canyon of the Big Bend are beautiful, safe and a genuine once in a lifetime experience.

A few days ago I went out to the sand hills in the desert near Santa Teresa to test shoot my new handgun. I have been living in Holland for the last 15 years, and for most people it simply is not possible to own a firearm over there. They have very strong anti gun laws. I’m not a gun freak, but I did grow up being taught to understand the safe use of firearms. So when I got back to America one of the things on my To-Do list was to buy a 44 Magnum Dirty Harry special six shooter revolver made by Ruger. It is a delightful weapon, and surprisingly the recoil is not excessive.

Returning to town I took this picture as I crossed over the Mighty Rio Grande.