Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lake Amistad

As Bruce mentioned in a previous post, early this morning when the temperatures were in the comfortable 70s, we hiked one of the lovely trails in the Amistad National Recreation Area.  But this afternoon, when the temperatures soared over 90 to a mid-afternoon high of 104, we chose to take a driving tour of the park in our air-conditioned truck!
Amistad Dam and International border
The Amistad Reservoir is located on the Rio Grande River in Val Verde County, Texas, and the state of Coahuila, Mexico.  It was formed in 1969 where the Devil's River and the Pecos River meet  the Rio Grande. The lake is jointly managed by both countries through the International Border and Water Commission.  (This same commission manages Falcon Lake which spans the Rio Grande near Zapata, Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.)
View of Amistad Reservoir from the Diablo East area
The surface area of the reservoir is 64,900 acres which allows lots of space for recreation of all kinds. Swimming, boating, sailing, scuba-diving, water skiing, and, of course, fishing.  Amistad Lake is the site of nationally renowned fishing tournaments, especially for its healthy population of bass of several different kinds.
Snorkeling inlet of Amistad Reservoir.

Hunting, picnicking, and primitive camping are popular in the surrounding public areas.
The marina at Rough Canyon on Amistad Reservoir
Some of the fingers of the reservoir are surrounded by high and rugged canyon walls, such as these at Rough Canyon.  Northwest of the main reservoir, where the Pecos River joins, in several of such canyons, caves have been discovered that contain ancient and vivid rock paintings.  Some have been carbon-dated to 4000 years old.  Little is known about the peoples who created those paintings and their descendants have apparently disappeared from the area.  So the pictographs are not only beautiful, but mysterious.
Highway 90 bridge as seen from Governor's Landing
Nearby Laughlin Air Force Base will have to wait for another time. Tomorrow we will make our way west across this Highway 90 bridge and continue on our way west -- even deeper into the southwest Texas wilderness -- toward our goal: Big Bend National Park!