Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Exploring Elephant Butte Lake State Park

John & I have both really been missing boating since we retired. We had a Zodiac for all but the first year that we lived in Anchorage and it was a big part of our recreation time during spring, fall and summer. We also had individual catarafts the last few years up there and REALLY enjoyed those! We hauled them around in the motorhome for the first year, but didn’t end up using them very much as we were either in south Texas where there aren’t many places to boat or we were in areas where we weren’t familiar with the places to go, so we sold them while we were in Alaska the summer of 2008.

So, lately we’ve been talking about renting a boat occasionally and Elephant Butte Lake near Truth or Consequences seemed like a good place to do this. A little research on the internet revealed that only one location rented kayaks or paddleboats, so off we went this morning to find The Dam Site Marina at the south end of the lake. The state park website didn’t really give directions & Google Maps wasn’t much help, so we made a quick stop at the local Elephant Butte Chamber of Commerce. The lady there, while very nice, didn’t possess the handy skill of giving concise, accurate directions so we finally said thanks and took our chances. Good grief! Now we knew why the website said to call for directions…. This was a state park and the lack of signage was abysmal. We could see the marina from up by the dam, but getting to it proved to be much more difficult.


We wandered around the surrounding hills and finally stumbled on to the road winding down to the marina. It took another 10 minutes to locate someone who worked there only to find that, because it was windy today, paddleboats could not be taken out of the enclosed area bordered by the two walkways (center of picture below).


$15 per hour wasn’t a bad price, but definitely not worth paddling around & around this tiny area for an hour! Sigh…, so much for boating…

We noticed again the neglected appearance of this state park – similar to what we’ve seen in several communities and state facilities here in NM. Not sure if it’s just that spring-time clean-up hasn’t begun yet or funding issues… This building just up the hill from the marina (restaurant on state park grounds??) looked kind of neat, but unused.


The flowers were pretty, though…

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So, we drove up the west side of the lake just to explore. Apparently there is funding for new entry fee stations – charming, aren’t they?


This area has not made our “this-might-be-a-neat-place-to-live-someday” list.

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