Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Heron Lake sailing, July 2007

Our New Mexico Sailing Club secretary, Eddie, provided the following pictures of sailing at Heron Lake. Above can be seen a cruising boat heading west down the Narrows. Further out is Carol Anne's Etchells, "Black Magic", powering toward the marina under spinnaker.

USA 125 "Black Magic" approaches the marina.

This last photo was also provided by Eddie, but was taken by someone else with a different camera from the first three pictures, and shows Eddie (and probably Barbara) on one of our Sunfish.

Monday, July 30, 2007

More pictures from Dillon; View from a small kayak

Black-hulled Ensign-class sailboat. We also greeted another Ensign with an attractive female crew who docked just after we returned to the marina from our sail.

Profile view of USA 125, Etchells Black Magic at the end of a lovely day.

More than a few sailboats in the neighborhood. Sailboats easily outnumber powerboats. Motorboats suffer a significant loss of performance at the lake's 9,017-ft. altitude.

View across the pier toward Black Magic (left) and an Allied Seawind catamaran (center).

Rugged country. Water for sailors. Challenging winds.
Are you up for it?


Black Magic in Dillon, Colorado, on Monday morning before we rigged and launched.

Black Magic is in the water, and the water is just fine. Provided you don't mind chilly water. Or switchy mountain lake winds.
On Saturday, we hauled her out of the water at Heron Lake, de-rigged, and parked her in the driveway at Five O'Clock Somewhere. With just the two of us, de-rigging took a bit longer than when we have more crew. "Tadpole" was visiting his grandparents, preparatory to going to Hummingbird Music Camp on Sunday for an intensive half-week workshop with his fellow members of the Albuquerque Youth Orchestra. Previously when he was in the orchestra he played string bass, but this year he's in the orchestra as a cellist.
Sunday morning we drove, boat and all, to our community center (Shroyer Center), where we joined several dozen other land owners for the "Bluegrass Breakfast" and then I attended a meeting of the Shroyer Center board along with the other officers and board members.
Then Carol Anne and I were able to drive north into the high mountain country. From our cabin, at an elevation of about 7,350 feet, to Chama, at an elevation of about 7,850 feet, we then climbed to Cumbres Pass (just over 10,000 feet above sea level, exact height depending on whether you view the highway sign or the railroad crossing sign), and the even-higher La Manga Pass before beginning the abrupt descent into the Conejos River valley.
Fortunately, we'd had the trailer in for maintenance the week before, including replacing some burnt-out LED (light-emitting diode, more efficient than old-timey incandescents and more resistant to burning out when flooded) lights, installing Bearing Buddies, re-packing wheel bearings, and doing an electrical check and making sure the electrical brakes and brake controller were ready to go ... and stop.

We had to mind our navigation, since Alamosa featured a bit of construction on the southwest edge of downtown. The north side of Poncha Springs has a turn that one has to watch out for (Carol Anne says it's obvious), and the south edge of Buena Vista has a highway leading off to the east that one has to remember NOT to take. Leadville was a place we considered for a late lunch, but parking is limited in its downtown. (For future reference, there's parking near the northeast part of downtown Leadville, at either the Family Dollar, or at or next door to the Pizza Hut.)
With only a V-8 gas engine (as opposed to a truck diesel), it was a long climb up each time we had a major ascent. The drive up the San Luis Valley to Poncha Pass was one such climb; then so too was the long road up through Buena Vista to Leadville, at some 10,200 feet. And, that wasn't the vertical climax of our journey, which appropriately occurred near Climax and the Climax Molybdenum Mine at Fremont Pass, at an elevation of about 11,300 feet. The mine sponsors an am-radio broadcast that tells of what a wonderful job they're doing on environmental remediation and paying taxes and such (even though the mine isn't producing moly currently). "Tadpole" would be interested in visiting the mine, since he spent a week this summer at New Mexico Tech learning about mining engineering.
Leadville is only about 30 miles from Frisco and Dillon Lake. On the way down from Climax we passed by a National Forest parking area with some unusual vehicles occupying it ... a "Big Red" emergency response bus, lots of vans and trucks from television stations, and raising dust in the center, a large military helicoper. Later we learned that volunteer search and rescue team members and a helicopter had successfully rescued a hiker who had suffered a heart attack while traversing steep terrain made even more challenging by loose scree (small rocks or cobbles).

View astern of Black Magic on Monday afternoon. A few other boats were out on the water ... but we expect many more next weekend.
In Dillon, we left Black Magic and her trailer next to the condo we're occupying for the week and unloaded and unpacked our duffle. Next was a visit to the Frisco Marina, where we paid for and located our slip. Then we found that a favorite restaurant from last year had closed, but that was no bother after all, because we then made our way to Pug Ryan's brewpub and eatery. There Carol Anne found the perfect French onion soup, accompanied with a house salad with bleu cheese dressing and washed down with the Scottish Ale Formerly Known As Kilt Lifter. It certainly lifted her spirits and the meal left her with a welcome feeling of contentment and satisfaction. (Near synonymous descriptors used for rhetorical emphasis only; I may be wordy (and prolix), but please don't accuse me of painting the lily or gilding gold, to use the original allusion and not the debased cliche'.)
Grocery shopping and a bit of scenic driving took care of the rest of the day, leaving us to settle in our condo Sunday evening. There we found the place well stocked with provisions; former renters had left quite a few goodies for us, including food and booze. A couple of challenges had to be figured out, since the means of getting the computer going and getting us connected to the Internet took some special engineering involving some very creative connections of phone lines (a previous renter may have lost or absconded with a phone line to the computer).
Sunday's activities in rigging Black Magic are pretty well described in Five O'Clock Somewhere ( http://itsfiveoclocksomewhere.blogspot.com ). We came, we rigged, we broke for barbecue. (Foremast Latin: veni, rigi, bbq-y.) Then it was time to bend on a couple of sails, launch (the keel just barely touched bottom during the launch), and sail for a bit.

Sailing in Dillon means sailing within sight of a whole big heap of mountains.

and more mountains. Summit County has the highest average elevation in the USA. Flatlanders may find it takes a while to become acclimated to the altitude.

The dramatic profiles of some nearby peaks are a local hallmark that appear on the Dillon Yacht Club burgee. The DYC advertises itself as the nation's highest yacht club. (Brax, this refers to altitude and not necessarily to mind-altering substances. However, the lack of oxygen, the stunning views, good local microbrew beers [made much more potent by altitude], and all the healthy-looking people to ogle, suffice to make newcomers more than a little dizzy. )

Boats in the mooring field east of the Frisco Marina. Several dozen sailboats moor here.
After our sail, we returned to the condo, where we recovered for a bit and began dinner preparations. I returned to the marina to kayak for a while and take more pictures, then worked on more rigging and preparation details for Black Magic. I got some more telltales placed and got the shroud tension corrected to good values for practice sailing this week, and dug up some parts we will need for working on the boat. Then it was time to buy some groceries at the Frisco Safeway and report back home for dinner.

Another beautiful day on the water.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Do you dream...

...of ice cream?

Would it be even better after a day of sailing?

Then read carefully, for here are not one, but two opportunties to sail and scream from ice cream:

Saturday, August 25, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. will be the Shroyer Center ice cream social and dessert potluck in the Laguna Vista neighborhood near Heron Lake, New Mexico. Donations and sharing appreciated. Think chocolate, Neapolitan, sherbet, ice cream, dark vanilla, mint chip.... and brownies, and cake, and maybe some nice peach or apple or cherry pie... yum.

Sunday, September 2, 2007, after the Laguna Vista annual meeting and the conclusion of the Rocky Mountain Buccaneer Rodeo at the New Mexico Sailing Club will be another ice cream and dessert social. The social will be held around 5:30 or so at the Heron Lake Marina. It will cap a busy weekend that'll also see a regular regatta along with championship sailing of Buccaneer 18 sailboats from New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Saturday will feature a club-sponsored dinner potluck.

After Sunday's dessert social will be an NMSC club meeting. One of the important business items will be solicitation of candidates so we can present officer and board candidates for 2008 to the club. We can post membership lists to make it easier to pick on people who don't show up at the meeting.


Diary-like updates

Today I awoke early and drove Jer's '99 MX5 to the Miata dealership.

"Tadpole" drove me home, then I hopped aboard Babe and drove to Los Lunas to retrieve our Etchells trailer from AccuTrak, which built the basic trailer before we'd customized it last May. It had been in the equivalent of a "boat trailer spa", getting brake lines checked, some l.e.d. lights replaced, wheel bearings repacked, and Bearing Buddies installed. Because the AMS grease that was used for repacking is not compatible with what's in my mini grease gun, I bought a tube of AMS grease and was advised to re-pack bearings at least every year or two.

Back home, I did some New Mexico Sailing Club business with our treasurer at his brokerage, including dropping off a form for ordering parts for our marina. We'll be getting almost $15,000 worth of encased foam floats, anchors, braces, winches, cable, etc. The floats would be able to support some 40 or 50 tons and, placed end to end, span about the length of (an American) football field. Men and boys and their toys... my toy blocks are about 3 feet x 4 feet x 20 inches and I get to play with them to make marina floats, gangway supports and extensions, and work barge flotation. It occurs to me, that were the sailing club marina maintenance budget somewhat larger, that we could get enough blocks to temporarily stack into a giant castle or towering lighthouse. Whee!

Then it was time to go to work!

Still to be done... maintenance service on our Expedition, shopping for tools and groceries, many more preparations for our trip to Dillon. And, the Mazda service advisor called and offered us the opportunity to invest $400.00 to 1,200.00-plus in the Miata... oxygen sensor and whatever caused it to fail, valve cover gasket, timing chain, fan belt, front and rear brakes.

Carol Anne and Tad are still looking for a car to replace the Cavalier. They'd answered an ad for an 1980s red Mercedes that was equipped with a driver's side airbag, but the seller, "Proch-not-now" was "interesting". He didn't answer Carol Anne when she asked for the VIN so she could get a Carfax report, didn't answer questions about tires, and wouldn't agree to let a mechanic look at the car. Then, he missed an appointment to show the car on Friday. Finally, when Carol Anne and Tad showed up for their appointment on Monday, the seller was gone and the seller's adult son told them that the car had been sold over the weekend. So, they'd wasted a trip -- but in hindsight were glad not to have done business with this particularly peculiar person.

Oh, and did I mention...

Tad circled an advertisement in the newspaper and Carol Anne pointed it out to me...
for another Sunfish sailboat for sale. I must suppose that means they expect me to go out and buy it. Stay tuned... after all, we may not fish pianos on this blog, but we can tune a 'fish.

Last weekend's sailing was somewhat limited, among many distractions, but we did race on Saturday. We were first to finish in both races, but split on corrected time. I also kayaked around the marina cove and did more yardwork at our cabin. On Sunday, I did some assembly of encased floats into a raft as part of a marina gangway project.

Heron and Elephant Butte Lake Level Updates

Heron Lake, New Mexico
11:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 25, 2007

7,154.41 feet elev. above m.s.l., 238,542 acre feet

Up 0.05' (3/5 inch) and 221 acre feet in 24 hours.
Up 0.08' (1 inch) and 352 a.f. in 71 hrs.

Azotea Tunnel flow is 28 cubic feet per second (19 to 98 cfs in past 71 hours).
Willow Creek flow is 19 c.f.s. (19-86 cfs).

Assembly has begun on a raft that will support a 32-foot gangway extension.
Several boats have arrived recently at the marina, ranging from 18 to 30 l.o.a.


Elephant Butte Lake
9:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 25, 2007

4,338.04 ft. elev. above benchmark
479,385 acre feet

Down 0.22' (2.6 inches) and 2,805 a.f. in 24 hrs.
Down 0.66' (8 inches) and 8,426 a.f. in 71 hrs.

Although the lake is going down more than a foot per week, the decrease is slower than that projections made in the US Bureau of Reclamation's Operations Plan.

The Ops Plan predicted that the Butte would reach 4,333.10' at 419,011 a.f. today, and would be losing 4.8 inches and 4,791 a.f. per day, with water flowing out at 2,430 c.f.s. Today's actual level is 4.96 feet and 60,374 a.f. higher. The actual loss of 2,805 a.f. is only about 59% of the 4,791 a.f. projection, and the outflow of 1,810 c.f.s. is 75% of the 2,430 c.f.s. projection.

The Ops Plan made a conservative projection that, on October 14, the lake would reach a low point of 4,310.75' elev. at 200,080 a.f.

But, the most likely low point is something like an October 6 level of 4,322.05' above benchmark with 299,500 a.f.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Calendar extension

"Zorro" called in with some planned dates for spring 2008 sailing.
So, the sailing calendar now looks something like,

7/21, Sat. . NMSC summer series 3 regatta, Heron
. . . . . . . . RGSC trailer cruise to Heron Lake
. . . . . . . . (San Diego one design weekend)
7/29, Sun. . Team Black Magic to Dillon
8/4, Sat. . . Dillon Open
8/5, Sun. . . Dillon Open

8/11, Sat. . (San Diego one design weekend)
. . . . . . . . (Eagle project, Heron Lake)

8/18, Sat. . NMSC summer series 4 regatta
. . . . . . . . (Eagle project, Heron Lake)
. . . . . . . . (Shroyer Center chili cookoff, ice cream)
8/19, Sun. . NMSC regatta or match race tune-up

8/25, Sat. . . (Eagle project, Heron Lake)

9/1, Sat. . . . Rocky Mountain Buccaneer Rodeo
. . . . . . . . . . NMSC club and board meeting, potluck dinner
9/2, Sun. . . . Rocky Mountain Buccaneer Rodeo
. . . . . . . . . . NMSC ice cream social

9/8, Sat. . . . . (San Diego one-design weekend)

9/15, Sat. . . . Final NMSC fun race

9/22, Sat. . . . RGSC Desert Classic/Fall Series 1 Regatta
9/23, Sun. . . . RGSC Desert Classic/Fall Series 1 Regatta
. . . . . . . . . . (Adams/Mallory national finals, San Diego)

9/28, Fri. . . . RGSC Sunrise 10/25 mile regatta; social, exhibition
9/29, Sat. . . . RGSC Sunrise 10/25 miler; skipper/crew meeting, start
9/30, Sun. . . RGSC Sunrise 10/25 miler; breakfast/awards

10/13, Sat. . . RGSC Governor's Cup/Fall Series 2 Regatta
10/14, Sun. . . RGSC Governor's Cup/Fall Series 2 Regatta

10/27, Sat. . . RGSC Halloween/Fall Series 3 Regatta
10/28, Sun. . . RGSC Halloween/Fall Series 3 Regatta

11/10, Sat. . . (San Diego one design weekend)

11/17, Sat. . . Commodore's Cup/Fall Series 4 (1 day only)

12/1, Sat. . . Kris Kringle, RGSC Holiday party
12/1, Sat. . . Etchells match races
12/2, Sun. . . Etchells match racing

12/8, Sat. . . Elephant Butte marine parade

12/15, Sat. . . NMSC holiday party, Bernalillo

1/1, Mon. . . . New Year's day regatta, San Diego

1/19, Sat. . . Arizona YC regatta
1/20, Sun. . . Arizona YC regatta

1/26, Sat. . . . RGSC Frostbite Regatta, Butte
. . . . . . . . . . (Tad, AYO Concert, Rio Rancho)

2/16, Sat. . . . RGSC Chute-Out Regatta (1 day only), Butte

3/8, Sat. . . . RGSC Spring Series 1 regatta
3/8, Sat. . . . RGSC Spring Series 1 regatta

3/22, Sat. . . . RGSC Pickle Race

3/29, Sat. . . . RGSC Spring Series 2 regatta
3/30, Sun. . . . RGSC Spring Series 2 regatta

4/12, Sat. . . . RGSC Spring Series 3 regatta
. . . . . . . . . . (Tad, AYO dress rehearsal, Popejoy Hall)
4/13, Sun. . . . RGSC Spring Series 3 regatta
. . . . . . . . . . (Tad, AYO concert at Popejoy)

4/19, Sat. . . . RGSC raft-up

4/25, Fri. . . . (CNM end of term grading)
4/26, Sat. . . . RGSC Spring Series 4 regatta
4/27, Sat. . . . RGSC Spring Series 4 regatta

5/3, Sat. . . . . possible tune-up, practice regatta or quarterfinals

5/10, Sat. . . . Jack and Jill hers-and-his regatta
5/11, Sun. . . . Joshua Sloucm single-hand regatta

5/17, Sat. . . . Anniversary Cup Regatta

5/29, Thu. . . . Mallory semi-finals registration, welcome
5/30, Fri. . . . . Mallory practice race, races 1, 2
5/31, Sat. . . . Mallory races 3, 4, 5, 6
6/1, Sun. . . . . Mallory lay day, optional races 7-12, awards, travel

Volunteers, on and off the water

With so many projects and happenings to be done, both local sailing clubs are in great need of volunteers.

Need someone close to city with time to help with ship's store.
Need more volunteers to provide chase boats for races.
Will need some candidates for board of directors and officers this fall.
Need committee volunteers for Mallory Cup semifinals regatta in 2008.

Need 3-4 candidates for board of directors and candidates for commodore, vice commodore, and secretary (these current officers are term-limited).
Need race committee volunteers/trainees.
Need committee volunteers for national regatta bid for 2009.
Need work party volunteers to renovate B dock, re-float dockhouse/pavillion, install gangway, improve work barge.
Need help for NMSC/WOWs (women on the water) to re-establish ship's store.

weekend plans and beyond

Mobility has improved greatly for us now that the Expedition is out of the shop, Jer's Mitata has new tires (but still awaits a service appointment), and we've borrowed the folks' Cherokee for "Tadpole" to use to get to cat-sitting and a friend's Eagle Scout project. Yesterday evening we had a saiing club social, though attendance was rather low. At least we did get to greet one new sailor who recently bought a pocket cruiser.

This weekend we plan to help host some visiting youth at Heron Lake, welcome some Rio Grande Sailing Club boats and crews to Heron Lake, and have an around-the-buoys regatta. We also need to move our MacGregor north, and retrieve our Etchells trailer from Elephant Butte Lake in southern NM. It's not terribly long until we leave for Dillon, Colorado, and the Dillon Open.

Lake Conditions

Azotea Tunnel flow, 40 c.f.s. (31-154 min./max flow in past 71 hours),
Willow Creek 38 cfs (38-104),

Heron 7/19/2007 1100
7154.31 ft. elev., 238,102 a.f.;

+.02’ +88a.f./71 hours
+.02’ +88 a.f./71 hours

Heron is almost exactly even for the past week,
and up just a quarter-inch in three days.

Elephant Butte
San Marcial Floodway 12 c.f.s. (9-18),
Elephant Butte Lake as of 7/19 0900:
4,339.40 ft. elevation above benchmark,
496,818 acre feet of water;

down .28’ (3.4”) ­and 3,630 a.f. in 24 hours;
down .82 and 11,025 a.f. in 71 hours.;
-1720 cfs discharge from dam;
operations plan projection for today was 448,052/4335.52
(lake is now 48,762 a.f., and 3.88’ above the projection).

The ops. plan projection for the low point on Oct. 14th
is 200,529 a.f. at elevation 4,310.75.

However, with the lake 3.88' above projection so far,
and with the like going down at 3.4" instead of the
projected 4.8 inches per day, the lake shouldn't go
nearly so low.

My guess for the worst-case level would be an
Oct. 4 level of 265,675 a.f. at 4,318.5 ft. elev.
The more probable lowest level is something like
280,000 a.f., at 4,320' elev..

Monday, July 16, 2007

Heron Lake Marina, July 14, 2007

Heron Lake Marina view of B dock north, C dock beyond.

A dock of Heron Lake Marina.

A and B docks of Heron Lake Marina.

Connecting walkway and marina pavillion. In the far background can be seen the Willow Creek boat ramp.

A and B docks of the Heron Lake Marina.

A dock and marina pavillion. The pavillions houses seven picnic tables and a couple of gas grills; it's a great place to relax and watch boats and wildlife.

Marina pavillion, A dock, and The Narrows. Beyond The Narrows is the main body of Heron Lake.

Calendar update

So much to do, so little time to sail.

This week: ransom Expedition from Ford dealership mechanics, get new tires on Miata, discuss claim for totaled Cavalier with insurance company. Retrieve Etchells trailer from Elephant Butte and bring north to Heron Lake, OR bring MacGregor 26 north to Heron Lake so Syzygy can serve as a committee boat for the Rocky Mountain Buccaneer Rodeo.

Next Wednesday (25th) -- Rio Grande Sailing Club fleet social, 6:30 at the JB's Restaurant on Hotel Circle in Albuquerque. Morning service appointment for the Miata. Tad's string bass lesson.

Soon: Take "Black Magic" to Dillon for the Dillon Open.

"Facilities" near Heron Lake Marina

Showerhouse and bathroom at the Blanco Campground near the Willow Creek boat ramp. It has full facilities, including hot water showers. The facility is about a 1-mile drive from the marina, but closer via boat and trail.

Vault toilet adjacent to Heron Lake Marina, on the point overlooking Willow Creek Cove.

Generic update...

Heron Lake, Monday, July 16, 2007. 11:00 a.m.
7,154.29 ' elevation, 238,014 acre feet.
Up 0.03' (1/4 inch, 133 a.f.) in 24 hours; up 0.08' (1 inch, 352 a.f.) in 71 hours.
Azotea Tunnel flow 69 cubic feet per second (35 - 148 cfs).
Willow Creek flow 109 cfs (48 - 177 cfs).


Today I took "Tadpole" to his string bass lesson, where he also was briefed on his cat-sitting assignment. Mocha will be left behind while her regular staff is out of town, so Tad now knows what to do to meet her basic needs. Crystal, the service lane manager at the Ford dealership called with the diagnosis for Babe, our Expedition; it seems that the "carbon canister assembly" and "evaporative canister vent solenoid" need to be replaced. $ 505 (same as our area code) will be the bill. The carbon canister filters the fuel tank vent system; with it clogged the car was over-revving on startup and the engine was not running at full power. The mechanic will have to remove some body panels near the driver's side rear wheel to get at the carbon canister and solenoid, which are also adjacent to the fuel tank.

Yesterday (Sunday), Tadpole tried to sail a Sunfish, but didn't have much luck. Winds were very light, oscillating between light breezes and calms. Tad would take a boat out when the breeze came up a bit, only to become becalmed. This happened three times. Eventually, we did some kayaking and I began bolting some boards to three encased marina floats, making the beginning of a raft. The raft will be used to support an old gangway and provide a base for the long gangway when it is re-installed to the south of, and lower than its old location.

Saturday Tad got a tow out into the main body of the lake and sailed the rest of the way to the Ridge Rock courtesy dock, delivering signal flags to decorate the New Mexico Sailing Club exhibit at the Osprey Festival. He then got to sail back most of the way across the lake, but it was very slow going in light breezes. Several of the rest of us talked to occasional visitors. Unfortunately, although the Heron Lake State Park Osprey Festival was successful as a whole, with many hundreds of visitors at the visitors' center, only a small fraction of the attendees made it as far as Ridge Rock. So, the odds of winning a free sailboat ride or discount on a sailing club membership for the small flock of Osprey Fest visitors who registered at our exhibit are very very good.

Saturday evening we ran up to Chama, saw the train, got groceries, and visited with Roger, of the Shamrock Hotel and gift shop. Roger is of course a great enthusiast of the historic Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad as well as motel proprietor.

In the cyberseas, I spent time working on a Notice of Race and logistics for the Rocky Mountain Buccaneer Rodeo, to be held this Labor Day weekend at Heron Lake. The regatta will in a sense be a dress rehearsal for a bid to host the Buccaneer North American Championship regatta in 2009. That's also the year that our in-laws will be having an eclipse trip and anniversary party in the South Pacific near Tahiti, so we'll have to block off a couple of weeks or so for that, including perhaps a possible sailing charter after the week on the ocean cruise ship.

Willow Creek boat ramp, Heron Lake, New Mexico, NMSC

Heron Lake, in northern New Mexico not far from the Colorado border, is a "no wake lake"; motors are restricted to trolling speed except in special circumstances. Wake is defined as any white white visible off the bow or sides of a boat. The lake now has about 7 square miles of surface area, and about 9 square miles when full. The marina is located within the protected, almost landlocked confines of Willow Creek Cove near the northeastern end of the lake and adjacent to the mouth of Willow Creek, which fills the lake with water from the San Juan-Chama Project.

Close-up view of the end of the Willow Creek boat ramp, showing part of a turn-around, courtesty dock, and Heron Lake Marina in background.

Willow Creek boat ramp with a lake level of about 7,154 feet above sea level -- about 30 feet below maximum elevation and about 29 feet of water under most of the marina.

Courtesy dock and marina.

Zoom view of Willow Creek boat ramp courtesy dock with the New Mexico Sailing Club's marina in the background.

Pull-through parking spaces at the top of the Willow Creek boat ramp at Heron Lake State Park. On one of the busiest days of the year, 10 of the 20 pull-through spaces and most of the regular parking spaces were vacant. The mast-up storage lot beyond is about 1/3 occupied. It is operated by Heron Lake State Park, whereas the marina is owned and operated by the New Mexico Sailing Club. NMSC members take half-week turns serving as "dock masters" during the marina season, which runs usually from early May until mid October.

Heron Lake, mast raising pole and Willow Creek boat ramp

"Tadpole" sails a Sunfish dinghy on the west side of Heron Lake on Saturday, July 14. Most of the weekend featured very light air, making it a good weekend for small dinghies, kayaks, and fishing boats. Many of us spent a good part of Saturday staffing the New Mexico Sailing Club information booth at Heron Lake State Park's Osprey Festival.

Mast raising pole, with the Willow Creek boat ramp boat trailer parking area beyond and Heron Lake Marina in background.

Mast-raising pole with marina in background.

Heron Lake State Park administers the mast-up boat storage lot adjacent to the Willow Creek boat ramp.

One side of the mast-up boat storage lot, boat ramp parking, mast-raising pole, and marina in Willow Creek Cove.

Another view of the mast-up storage lot at Heron Lake State Park.

Close view of mast-raising pole with Heron Lake Marina beyond. The Heron Lake Marina is operated by the New Mexico Sailing Club and has volunteer dockmasters on duty during the marina season, which usually extends from May through October.

Vault toilets such as this one adjacent to the Willow Creek boat ramp are located in all camping areas, and one is located adjacent to the marina. In addition, full bath houses with hot showers are located in the Blanco Campground near the boat ramp and in the Island View/Salmon Run campground on the south shore of the lake.