by Foxboro Marmot
June 24, 2004
There’s a natural biological imperative hard-wired into our little mammal brains that makes us want to look off the edge of cliffs, look out from the tops of tall buildings and look over the edge of high bridges. This is a high-bridge-looking-off opportunity.
A few miles north of Taos there’s a stop light. Turn left onto Route 64 and in about 5 minutes you’ll see the bridge over Rio Grande Gorge. Park and walk over.
It’s impressive. Look around and it’s flat for miles in every direction with mountains in the distance. But here’s a 650 foot deep gouge in the ground with the Rio Grande running though it way down there.
Naturally, an impulse generated deep in the pre-evolutionary nerve stem of your brain will demand one thing: Throw something in and see how long it takes to hit bottom!
But there’s a sign that specifically says NOT to throw things into the gorge. Such a moral dilemma… what to do, what to do?
On a winter visit, we had no trouble. We simply scooped up snow on the sidewalk, made snowballs and heaved them in. Logically, the snow would eventually melt and drip into the gorge. Our actions simply accelerated a natural process.
This trip, lacking snow, presented a problem… until we realized we had water bottles filled with ice cubes! We’d take a sip of water with an ice cube, then spit the cube into the gorge and watch it fall.
If you look closely, you notice a lot of debris that’s been pitched over by others less ecologically sensitive. Broken glass, a 55-gallon drum, a speed limit sign… In addition to being unsightly and really difficult to clean up, throwing things off the bridge can be dangerous. River raft trips run this part of the river when water levels are high enough (it’s the Taos Box trip) and the most dangerous part of the trip is not any of the rapids, it’s passing under the bridge… so look twice before you spit out that ice cube, okay?
From journal The New Mexico Expedition