Cochiti Lake Campground is located between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, so it is an ideal place to stay when visiting the cities. Desert plants dotted the landscape of the campground. Beautiful waxy flowers opened up from swelled buds on cacti. Arching stalks with small pink bell flowers radiated from the center of red yuccas. Desert willows were so graceful covering with orchard like pink flowers. Desert bird of paradise looked so exotic with long red stamens sticking out from the big cluster of yellow blossoms. The white flowers of Apache plums faded and changed into fluffy and airy plums. The pure white datura flowers opened up in the morning sun by the road. Datura is also called as jimsonweed. O’Keeffe’s Jimsonweed was sold for $44.4 million, the highest sale of a female artist. It is amazing that art could render a common and poisonous weed so enchanting.
The 5.3-mile long dam is one of the ten largest earth filled dams in the nation. It was constructed in 1975 to control the flood of the Rio Grande River. The panoramic view of the lake and mountains from the park was spectacular. The blue body of water has a long mesa as its background on the east. Flowing along the mountains in the north, Rio Grande River empties into the lake. The hazy blue Ortiz Mountains and Sandia Mountains sit on the southeast in the distance. Gold was found in Ortiz Mountains and was mined for decades. Humans have been living in the area of Sandia Mountains dated as far back as 11,000 years. South of Cochiti Dam is the village of the Cochiti people who have been living here for more than 300 years. Tent Rocks are visible above the village of Cochiti Pueblo.
Summer breeze welcomed the best time of the day, the pleasant cool summer evening. Standing on top of the boat ramp and watching the sunsets was brilliant. The sensation of openness was incredible. Looking up to the sky, I felt I could touch the sea of clouds. The sun lowered on the western horizon and gave the distant Ortiz Mountains a glamorous pinkish hue. Western blue sky gave way to orange, gold, and coral red behind the silhouettes of the hill and the water tower. A boat slowly sailed back to the dock. Venus has traveled to the western sky when the sun went down the horizon. As the sun set and the sky darkened, Venus shined like a diamond. And the heavenly twins of my constellation – Gemini – appeared to the right of Venus. Castor and Pollux glowed side by side watching over me from the night sky. In the cool summer evening, sitting in the lawn chair reading was delightful.
The campground started to get crowded with family during the weekend. It is a getaway of the city life. And the tranquility of the campground was replaced by all kinds of activities and noises. The noise from generators, dogs, and kids filled up the campground. Girls set up a screen watching movies from a projector running by a generator. Kids swam in the lake. Anglers fished by the shore. Sails floated on the lake. Despite the noise, it was a peaceful campground.
The joy of long awaited storms, the distant rainbow glowed above Ortiz Mountains, the dashing lizards, the dramatic sunsets, the glittering reflection of the full moon above Cochiti Lake, the shining stars in the dark sky, and the summer breeze made this place pleasant.