Hiking—or Fishing—on the Rio Grande Which is it?
January 28, 2018—Mesilla, NM
Imagine this! We are on a Sunday afternoon walk along a trail hugging the Rio Grande River hiking a gentle path from Mesilla to Las Cruces. It's sunny; the temps are about 65 degrees—nothing special—just an afternoon hike! The Rio Grande is nearly dry this time of year, but it has pockets of thigh-high water. We come upon a thicket of reeds and mesquites where a young couple is beating bushes and their surrounding waters with sticks. Here the water is deep but not above their waders. We have NO idea what is going on. We walk on. Upon our return after about 20 minutes we notice that the man is walking in the middle of the water with a compound bow, and the woman is recording the event. This snapshot in time is worth a stop! We wait patiently but eagerly to see whether there will be action. I'm ready to pull out the camera, but both of us won't let our eyes stray; we have them glued on the man wading slowly—oh, so slowly—through the water with his bow at his side and arrow arranged loosely in it niche. Suddenly, he zips around, pulls the bow taught, and shoots into the water behind him. The arrow speeds into the Rio Grande waters with a neon green strap following in its wake. It's a hit. The man reels in the green strap like a fishing pole reel, and a huge carp at arrow's end splashes out of the water squirming to release itself from the the arrow's barbs. The man holds up a 5-lb. carp, and we cheer. “We have caught four more,” says he, as he and his mate hold up 5 huge fish to pose for a Kodak moment. “What will you do with them?,” yell we! “We take them to the state park next to us, and they are fed to the animals.” An unusual hiking story, wouldn't you say? Or, should we call this post a “fish” story?
Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) are career professionals who are currently pursuing life-long interests in photography and digital imaging techniques, respectively.