Local news

Beware falling rocks in warming weather along the Río Grande

By Cody Hooks
chooks@taosnews.com
Posted 2/7/19

"Rocks have been coming down" because of the combination of high daytime temperatures and freezing nights,

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Local news

Beware falling rocks in warming weather along the Río Grande

Posted

Watch out for rocks.

With a warm spell creating an impromptu muddy season, that's the advice of the Dixon Volunteer Fire Department District Chief Kathy Hammerlee Miller.

"Rocks have been coming down" because of the combination of high daytime temperatures and freezing nights, Miller said.

"There have been a number of rock versus car accidents this winter. Luckily, there has been no one hurt but their cars have been," Miller said.

The Río Grande canyon along State Road 68 is particularly prone to rock falls. Perhaps the most famous of rock falls was when the boulder dubbed "Baby Huey" fell from the canyon, took out part of the highway and landed in the river.

Her advice is to "look for movement on the hillsides and drive defensively."

The Taos County Fire and EMS chiefs, Mike Cordova and Chris Medina, respectively, added that "winter driving of any kind is hazardous."

"Usually animals or animal herds are more active at night, [so] please use caution in areas where elk, deer and bighorn sheep are located and also watch out for domestic animals such as dogs or cattle.

"We would encourage people that when winter storms do hit to please stay home and avoid all travel if at all possible," they said. "Concentrate on driving, not your phone, but please be sure your phone is fully charged prior to leaving your house just in case an emergency does happen."

A travel kit is a good idea in the event someone is stranded overnight. They suggested it include warm blankets, gloves, extra jackets, nonperishable food items, socks, a winter hat for each person traveling in the vehicle, a small first aid kit and a small ziplock bag of kitty litter in case you do get stuck -- "it will provide traction under your tires if you attempt to get unstuck," they said.

They also said good windshield wipers are a necessity for winter driving.

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