Mojave Snowbird Trip – Tank Arch

I am camped on King Road which continues up the hill from my site and through a gap in the mountains to the east, I had to see where it went.

As I drove through the gap I happened to look over at exactly the right moment to see a tiny arch high on the ridge

Tiny Arch Tiny Arch Closeup Desert Range

I drove about 10 miles east of the tiny arch on King Road but it crosses a large expanse of flat and fairly featureless desert so I turned back. This area is marked on the map as part of the Yuma Testing Grounds used for live fire but I don’t think they use it any more as all the signs were covered up. On the western side of US95 there are signs on every road telling you to get a range pass before entering.

Discovered Arch

When I was exploring the area for camp site possibilities I noticed a small road heading south just before the gap so I decided that would be a good place for a walk with Biff today. We walked down the road then took a detour to avoid a camper and there it was, another arch!

Tiny Arch

This one looked like it might be accessible.

Tiny Arch

Climbing up to the arch I came across this cactus growing out of the vertical face of rock.

Tiny Arch

Almost there.

Tiny Arch

Since it’s not marked on the map I’ll call it Biff Arch

Tiny Arch

Rare selfie, getting a bit shaggy after a couple of weeks on the road.

Tiny Arch

Looking back the way we came.

Tiny Arch

Last view of the arch, the angle of the canyon on the other side made it invisible from that direction.

Tiny Arch

The way down from the arch, it was a bit of scramble in places.

Tiny Arch

Lots of desert flowers in bloom.

Tiny Arch

An Ocotillo sprouting leaves, they pop out of the stems after a rain and fall off as the area dries out.

Tiny Arch

Looking back at the exit canyon, the arch is in the shadow in the middle of the picture.

Mojave Snowbird Trip – Kofa Arch

Nothing much happened in the middle of nowhere today. I thought about going to Quartzsite where the Gem & Mineral Pow Wow started today, but by the time we had walked it seemed too late, maybe tomorrow.

On one of the maps I have of the area there are several natural arches mentioned, one is just up the road from camp so we went to find it. We walked along an old road, number 0029, to the beginning of the hills through lots of ocotillo, cholla and rock. Turning around I suddenly saw the arch – way up there on top.

Look carefully at the skyline on top of the ridge.
Nasty zoomed in picture taken with the phone.

That was about the extent of our exploring!

As we arrived at camp I liked the way the Caravan looked through the Ocotillo.

Mojave Snowbird Trip – King Road Camp

Up early this morning to get to King Road before all the other people, my plan worked pretty well and I found a nice spot with a good view, right after I got set up 4 RVs pulled into the spot next to mine! They are about 200 feet away so not terrible.

Biff approves.
Biff likes the view, later in the day we walked up to the valley in the centre of the mountains
Looking back towards camp, The Caravan is just visible.
We are actually just outside the refuge
Sunset from camp was magnificent.

Mojave Snowbird Trip – Palm Canyon, Kofa

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)

The rain had left some large puddles on the road out of camp.
All the humidity after the rain made it slightly hazy in the desert, Kofa Wildlife Refuge.

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 palms are in the crevice on the far side of the canyon, apparently there are a few more dotted around but the majority are here.

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.

Looking further up into Palm Canyon.
Everything in the canyon had sprung to life with the rains.
The end of the trail for me, it was completely overgrown and rocky.

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.

Mojave Snowbird Trip – Wet Desert

The forecast couldn’t make its mind up over the last few days, would there be rain, when, maybe…

It did start to rain at sunset on the 14th and rained lightly on and off all night, I awoke to a very different desert

Foggy Sonoran Desert

The rain got harder as the morning went on, judging by the amount in the cup holders of the cooler we got about 3/4″ (great rain gauge!)

View from the caravan door after the fog cleared.
My ditch scheme worked quite well.
Perhaps I should have extended the ditches a little further.

The rain slowed down later in the afternoon so it was time to go for a walk.

Quite a lot of water about and some nice little streams flowing, Biff seemed bemused by it all and sat down several times requiring a biscuit to move again.
You could almost hear the desert plants sucking up the moisture.
Some nice flowers about

The rain stopped while we were walking and by sunset the desert had returned to sunshine, we are promised sun and a high of 68F tomorrow.