• J.F. Rowan

Totally Unwound


Navaho River on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation. Can you find our Rig?

Murky waters may have hampered fishing success.

A great spot. Would definitely visit here again.

After contemplating our options while at Enbom Lake, we decided to take advantage of my annual fishing pass and search out some new campsite options. I couldn’t find much information regarding exact camp locations so we just headed in the direction the wildlife biologist had suggested and started to poke around some of the small dirt road spurs that were located every quarter mile or so. The road that ran along the Navaho river could easily be considered “scenic” on any road atlas. We stopped and looked at a few spots but since it was still early in the afternoon, we pressed on down the road rating each site as we went. That is until we got to one unassuming spot. We pulled down this small track and were able to back right up to the Navaho river. A clear bank affording easy access for fishing or just enjoying the water running by. The surrounding views were filled with canyon walls, mixed conifers, and riverside cottonwoods.

When cows come-a-calling.

After a nice nights sleep at our new spot, I was awakened by a truck siren/horn. I looked out the window and spotted two Jicarilla Fish and Wildlife officers who were standing next to their truck which was parked right next to ours. I threw on a pair of shorts and went outside to see what they wanted. Just a routine check to make sure I had the proper permit and that we were safe. They both shook my hand and wished us luck fishing. We stayed for four nights and every day there was always something new and different. In the morning, I have gotten in the habit of getting up and making a pot of “cowboy” coffee. I get the cups ready and when the coffee is about 2 minutes from being done, I give Yvette a heads up and make sure our chairs are positioned so that we can enjoy the early morning sun. On one particular morning, while we were enjoying the view of the river, a large herd of cattle made their way down the road and through the fields that were near our campsite. They free range here. Which means it’s entirely possible to wake up in the morning and find a cow munching grass right next to the rig. On this particular morning, a group of them were tentatively keeping their distance but studying us. I asked Yvette to get my flute. I’ve been playing this Native American Flute for about a year. I figured it might help put this group of cows at ease (or could back fire create a stampede!). As soon as I started to play, about twelve cows came down closer to our camp and formed a line. Twelve cows standing side by side, staring and maybe even listening. What a sight! They finally moved on but it was pretty cool while it lasted.

Trying, but no luck this day.

It was without a doubt, one of the nicest spots we’ve ever seen so far in this adventure. Technically though, you are not supposed to wander off and just hike anywhere you want. In fact, there are no marked trails or even any designated open spaces to walk in. We were told that if we were caught walking in the woods, we needed a hunting permit. See the pattern here? But we respected their wishes and kept most of our walking to the road. The river was pretty murky so fishing didn’t result in so much as a nibble. We stayed at this sweet spot for five days. It is definitely going on our list of places to return to in the future.


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