Sitting Bull Falls


Coming back for more: the grotto and pool

The ranger for this area asked me what I had seen the first day above the falls, and approved of my having on hiking boots.  He suggested I needed to go back to the upper riparian area because he thought I had missed the grotto and its pool, often used for swimming.

He also said that if I went further up T68 I would come to the area where the higher springs are, along with a beautiful stand of White Oak.  He said T68 was often patrolled, rangers would drive each other to the trailhead at Queen and walk down looking for people who were in dire need of help.  It was all downhill from Queen, apparently.

So I formulated my plan for this new hiking day after checking out his map of trails.  I would indeed revisit the grotto, and then would take T68 to Queen (see PART EIGHT) and back.  I never made it all the way to Queen but got close.  A week later I drove to Queen for a short walk down to where I gave up this time (see PARTS TEN and ELEVEN).  Also, when I saw this map where the T68 and the T214 met, I decided to return via the T214 (see PART NINE):

So in this page I will let you come to the grotto with me, and just imagine the trek described in PARTS FIVE AND SIX and magically transport yourself back to the upper riparian area for this view:

Turns out I saw this also 9on the first day here, but turned to go upstream rather than approach the grotto or check out its large pool. The path to the grotto is on the rock upstream from this water:

Once across that rock, you stand looking into a water hole with ferns all around like a hula skirt:

The water comes in from the large lagoon at the end of the grotto:

The grotto water is directly linked to this large lagoon:

To my surprise, I found two young men ready to jump into this pool, and a young lady (all from Odessa, Texas, here for a weekend outing) who was not.  She said she got up over her knees in this water and thought she was descending into an ice chest.

I asked the two young men if I got a good shot of them jumping in, could I use it on my website?  Their answer: only if you tell us what your website is. So I did, and the first diver I caught, but only as he was about to go under.  The wise young lady said she usually has to do about six shots before she gets one just right, with their feet going into the water. She was right.

The trick is to jump into the deeper part, of course.  If in this photo you sense shock in the face momentarily sticking out above the water, you sense right.  

I was just a touch later than I wanted to be in the above photo, so I overcorrected, and this jumper is still above the water (note that the first jumper is seeking the sun already):

Had the young lady decided to jump too, I might have gotten the photo just right, but she chose the path of calm and sanity and comfort, hence she is not pictured.  Sorry, ma'am 9trying to speak Texan).

So now it is time to head back to T68 and go through the fence at the S-gate in that fence, and move up the canyon to see some of the trees and springs of the upper part of the springs area (Part EIGHT).








Go to PART EIGHT: Trail 68 Adventures

Go to PART NINE: Trail 214 adventures

Go to PART TEN: Queen, NM, and the Guadalupes

Go to PART ELEVEN: The top of Trail 68 near Queen

Go Back to PART ONE: Location and Background

Go Back to PART TWO: Arriving at the The Falls

Go Back to PART THREE: The Falls

Go Back to PART FOUR: Lower Riparian Area

Go Back to PART FIVE: To the top and beyond

Go Back to PART SIX: Upper riparian area (springs!)

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Go Back to 2010 Yearbook Page

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