The Río Hondo Valley in Taos County of New Mexico is known for its picturesque setting and the stunning valley floor stretching from Valdez on the eastern edge downstream to Arroyo Hondo just before the Río Grande gorge on its western boundary. Above the valley is a plain known as Des Montes. Each of these communities was settled in the nineteenth century coincident with the building of acequias to sustain village agriculture, the only economy of the time. One of the irrigation systems, La Acequia de la Cuchilla, often is said to be “the ditch that runs uphill.” From a view at Valdez, at a low point in the valley floor, the path of La Cuchilla appears to run uphill along the south wall of Hondo Canyon. This side of the canyon is characterized by thick vegetation and rocky soils, a condition that requires an annual flushing of the ditch early in the spring to clear debris that has accumulated during the winter months. Based on field notes and photographs taken on April 6, 2013, this article documents the process of flushing led by the Des Montes mayordomo and ends with a history of the Archuleta family and their love for and attachment to the plains of Des Montes.
Rivera, José A. Ph.D and Thomas F. Glick Ph.D. "La Acequia de la Cuchilla: The Ditch that Runs Uphill." (2023). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/arch_fsp/7