The plans were finalized and the great reunion of 2015 was underway. 10 adults and 7 children were to relive memories from the 80s and 90s by descending on Heron Lake en masse and with a new generation in tow. We reserved two campsites ahead of time (each allowing for two vehicles according to the website), and made plans to meet up.
When we went way back when, there were no online reservations of course, no reservations at all. We had a go-to spot and met up there for good old fashioned primitive camping sans outhouses, picnic tables, and trash cans. Alas times have changed and so have the preferences of our group. My protests were overruled and we elected to remain at our civilized reserved sites instead of the wild shoreline I had sniffed out at the far end of the lake. (Pictured above)
(For those whose tastes align with mine: follow the road until you cross the river, wind back around to the lake and take the last park marked right. This will take you on a pretty rough road through some nice tree’d camping spots in the hills above the lake and finally down to a wide open shoreline with plenty of room for primitive camping. Be forewarned that the receding water line has given way to scratchy weeds that have taken root where the water used to be.)
For those who prefer modern amenities such as tables, grills, and outhouses, the reserved spots of ‘brushy point’ and ‘island view’offer all that plus tidy parking spaces and some potential views. The sites are in the piñon trees, offer some privacy, and are about a ten minute walk to the shore.
The lake is low. So much lower than before thanks to drought and a thirsty Albuquerque. However, the area is as beautiful as ever and the drive is stunning. A ways after the reserved spots, there are some easily accessible primitive shore spots that we may try next time. There will always be a next time for Heron Lake.