Gorge Mallard

mallard in flight

No marsh, this

I could have taken this anywhere there are ducks, I suppose. But this is 800 feet below the level of the surrounding landscape at the bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge just north of Pilar. Up at the top, it’s sagebrush, piñon, juniper, and cactus.

The weird thing is that you can go hiking far above—amidst the sagebrush, piñon, juniper, and cactus—and never be aware of this narrow strip of an utterly different ecological zone along the river where ducks and geese fly by, eagles soar, and mountain lions roam. It’s like a different channel, and all you have to do to tune it in is fall off a cliff!

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