San Juan Mountains Exploration: Lifeblood of the Rio Grande II

Most would not imagine the headwaters of Rio Grande River trickle through the debris of a collapsed mineshaft high in the San Juan Mountains. What lay behind the splintered beams and boulders presents a bit of mystery. I couldn’t help but wonder if the water seeped from riches, past the remains of lost miners and into the world on a somber note.

The headwaters remain humble only for a few miles as they descend from 12,000 feet and turn into a roaring rapid as wide as a four lane highway. Nearly 2,000 miles from this rocky slope, the Rio Grande dumps its muddied waters into the Gulf of Mexico after providing water to millions.