Having spent a couple of days at camp it was time to ‘do something’. Palm Canyon in Kofa Wildlife Refuge had been recommended. (Kofa comes from King of Arizona)
Palm Canyon is in a small range of mountains in the centre of Kofa, there is a rough trail into the canyon which cuts deep into the mountains. This is the only place in Arizona where native palm trees still grow, ironically they are California Palms.
The official trail is only half a mile long and stops at the view of the palms but many people have gone further, the trail was sometimes hard to follow and involved scrambling over damp rocks in places, I managed another half mile.
After visiting Palm Canyon I drove further southeast in Kofa and up King Road. There was some nice scenery and great camping spots so I decided to move my camp here in the morning.
I was having a lazy day but Biff has a way of letting me know he’s ready to do something
The camping web sites mention numerous places to camp right by the Colorado River but also talk about homeless people and litter, I thought I’d take a look anyway. We drove down the Arizona side of the Colorado River south for about 15 miles. There were quite a lot of places to camp and almost no people, the first few sites at the north end nearest Blythe had some glass and other litter but a few miles downstream they were fine. They were not as interesting as the desert sites though because the ground was covered with brush and a lot of dead trees. The Arizona side of the river is not farmed at all but the California side has continuous farms growing cotton and lettuce.
I decided to head over to Quartzsite to check out the scene but Biff needed walking first so I stopped at another potential camping area, Dome Rock Road. There was nothing special about the camping there and the phone signal was weak so I crossed that one off my list. We found a canyon on the north side of the interstate and after driving up it a way took to our feets.
We walked up the canyon for about a mile and half, passing many mine claims, there were a couple of people working claims at the bottom of the canyon, I assume they are looking for gold.
As I was walking back down the canyon I looked around at the slopes, they were covered in cholla cacti, not a Joshua Tree in site. At that point I began to realize that I was actually in the Sonoran Desert rather than the Mojave, oops. Saguaro and Ocotillo are more common in the Sonoran and the absence of Joshua Trees is a giveaway.
After the hike I drove into Quartzsite, the traffic was backed up on the freeway ramp and then it started to rain, so I just drove through town and back to camp. There are going to be too many people in Quartzsite for me!
The what mountains? Amazing how many unknown places there are down here in the Mojave, I stopped on a gravel patch next to US95 and discovered these!
It was so nice at Sand Mine Road this morning I had a hard time leaving and almost stayed another day, but I have a couple of weeks and can get further south with that much time so off I went. The drive through Lake Mead National Recreation Area is fantastic, if you like barren rocky desert with rocky mountains, which I do. I definitely need to get back there and explore a lot more. My intended destination was the Dead Mountains, the BLM web site showed a single camp site north of the wilderness area along a dirt road. What they didn’t say is that the road is really a narrow sandy two track unsuitable for The Caravan. I pushed on trying to find another boondocking spot but there was nothing close, I ended up continuing on south of Needles on US95 and pulled over in the gravel spot.
Biff and I went for a short walk around camp to see what could be found, I found cactus and succulents, he had other interests…