It’s been busy for us the last couple of weeks due to the effort we put in to documenting Fenn’s raffle of a bronze jar on behalf of Renelle Jacobs, a searcher suffering from a rare form of cancer who is fortunate to have a man like Fenn take an interest.
But, we’re done with it now. And, it’s time to get back to the winterized version of the chase.
Where did we leave off?
Aha! Where DO warm waters halt?
Warm waters halt at any boundary where they are literally, metaphorically or metaphysically transformed to any temperature other than warm.
For example, let’s say the boundary is what’s inside Yellowstone Park, where through geothermal activity, hundreds of geysers send rockets of hot (not warm) water into the sky. They fall back to earth, where they seek the lowest level (as water is wont to do) and, having cooled some, contribute to nearby streams and rivers. The rivers then cross outside the boundaries of the park.
That’s just a bit too Rube Goldberg for me. Since “Begin it where warm waters halt…” is the starting point, I think it needs more clarity than what’s provided above.
(I believe that the boundary between Fenn’s “warm waters” and NOT warm waters is very distinct.)
All of the above assumes Fenn was referring to the waters’ physical temperature.
Fenn is also an admirer of art. An artist may have a completely different perspective of “warm” waters when defined by the color spectrum. The warm and cool of the color spectrum have no physical temperature. But, for the most part, the closest a river gets to warm is brown, like the Rio Grande South of Española. I’ve never seen rivers that were consistently orange, red or yellow in color.
I suppose you could make an argument that the “Red” River in New Mexico, by name, is on the warm end of the spectrum. And, it ends at its conjunction with the Rio Grande, which is probably more precise than Fenn would want. No mystery there.
There is the mushy boundary between the water flowing from hot springs and eventually into cool creeks or rivers. A couple of months ago when I was on the Colorado River below Hoover Dam, I relaxed in pools that were about the right temperature as they transitioned from hot springs to cool rivers. But, it was very localized.
That leaves me with just a couple more options. I’ll write them in reverse order of Holy Righteousness! (I took a little dramatic license there.)
In New Mexico, the State Game and Fish Department publishes regulations that define boundaries between warm waters and trout waters (not cool waters). My research indicates there are no comparable definitions of the difference in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, making New Mexico unique in this respect. So, for example, trout waters on the Cimarron River begin on the East side of the first campground, where apparently, State regulations dictate warm waters halt.
Another example: The trout waters of the North Rio Grande begin at the Colorado State line, where, according to the State Game and Fish Department, warm waters halt. They continue South to the Taos Junction Bridge near Pilar. But, about a hundred yards above the bridge, the Rio Pueblo, NOT a trout water, converges with the Rio Grande. Warm water halts there, too.
But, that tactic leaves me with solutions in only one State.
So, here’s my top “warm waters halt” assumption.
As the surface water of a reservoir begins to cool due to the effects of evaporation, it sinks, and it gets denser, so it continues to sink. And, as it sinks it gets cooler. So, generally speaking, for every dam from which the water is released at the bottom, its water will be much cooler than the warm water in the reservoir behind and above it.
That particular perspective of “where warm waters halt…” has three important characteristics when it comes to the treasure hunt: it doesn’t limit me to a single State solution, the boundary is very precise, and the boundary stays in the same place making it easy to find and identify. All good things when the instructions read, “Begin it where warm waters halt…”
I’ve already been to the areas below El Vado Lake Dam, Eagle Nest Lake Dam, and a couple of nameless dams further North. If you Google “List of Dams in New Mexico,” (or any other state, for that matter) Mr. Google will actually return a list.
Of dozens. Dammit.
I have my favorites, and eventually, frustrated with the less precise, less discernible options of “where warm waters halt,” you will, too. Good luck in your search.
I’m not quite sure what to do with this, but I thought I’d share it anyway.
My friend, Sherri, tells me that in TTOTC:
- The phrase “New Mexico” appears 6 times, 4 of which are references to the publishing process, e.g, “Starline Printing in Albuquerque, New Mexico.”
- The word, “Colorado” does not appear.
- The word, “Wyoming” appears twice.
- And, the word “Montana” appears 3 times, although one is a reference to “The Montana Gazette” rather than the State.