After a week gathered with friends outside of Quartzsite it was time for the 2017 Blogger-Fest then off to the KOFA desert for a well earned quiet retreat.
Friday morning, even before coffee, I have to go outside into the bitter 31°F cold with wind to switch propane tanks. Seems it’s always poor timing. Yet I’m happy that five gallons of propane lasted two weeks. And that with six days of heating mornings and evenings with the oven, and yes a window cracked so I don’t kill myself. Two of our group moved into the Holiday Palm RV Park in town for a couple nights to recharge their tech, dump, fill, shower, and laundry at $65/night which is way out of my budget. But we planed to camp together again out on the KOFA in a few days. My plan A was to get up early so I could find a parking space by Tyson Wells and take a walk about, then hit town for chores. But the chill wind changed my mind. Will see what tomorrow brings.
Saturday I was on the road to town by 10am and it was almost 50°F. After getting propane and diesel I enjoyed that $7 for 20-minute shower of ultra hot water at the Main St Laundromat. Then off to find the Blogger-Fest located at the LTVA La Posa South, only a few miles from where I’ve been parked all week. I think the turn out was a little smaller this year. I’d guess 30-40 people plus dogs. Thanks to Lorne and Sue for organizing, and Shadowmoss for helping as well.
Met a few bloggers I’ve known and followed for years plus a whole bunch of new folks. And although we all spoke about who we are, how long we’ve been RVing and blogging, I’m afraid I don’t remember many people’s names. There were a few in attendance that don’t blog but tend to read blogs, now newly called “blurkers” for blog lurkers. Most interesting to me was meeting Rhonda from Me the toad and the road who had found my blog the night before while looking for Blogger-Fest information. She taught choir at my Junior and High School while I was there. I don’t sing so never had her as a teacher, but still way cool.
Back to camp just in time for chili dinner made by Roy and Mary. Then a little time by the campfire before getting cold and going in.
No rush Sunday morning and as the sun rose so did the temperature, with only a light northeast wind. Turned onto Palm Canyon Road at noon with 5.6 miles of gravel to camp. I took it slow because the scenery was just too pretty to whiz past. John and Shirley had claimed a space the day before, not large or far from the gravel road that some folks do like to fly along kicking up rock and dust. Camping is restricted to pretty close to the road in order to spare the landscape of the KOFA National Wildlife Refuge. We’re only two miles from the end of the road where there’s a short trail into Palm Canyon to see the California fan palm, the only native species of palm tree in Arizona. Will be hiking that soon.
After parking and leveling with the most gorgeous of views I took a walk towards the KOFA Mountains, in and out of washes, past saguaros, avoiding cholla, and stopping for many photos. I found a semi-comfortable rock to just sit and absorb the sunny desert. Lovely warm almost 70°F and out of the wind down in the wash I was able to remove one layer.
The soft fuzzy looking jumping cholla shows buds. I think these are the mostly lovely, and dangerous, cactus on the desert. Sunshine makes them glow but the dense spines have barbed hooks that require pliers/tweezers to remove. Well named for the little arms that lay scattered around just waiting for an unwary walker. As they die the interior skeleton is an interesting hollow wood full of holes. Ocotillo are just starting to push out leaves all along their twisted branches. A good sign there’s been a little rain.
The saguaros are few and spread far apart. They seem very young with not many arms as it takes 75-100 years before the first arm grows. The anatomy is fascinating with wood ribs their skeleton. I can only hope this is normal for the area and that we are not loosing a SW icon.
Late afternoon I saw a crazy shadow darkening Palm Canyon. Doesn’t it look like a dragon ready to eat whomever gets to the end of the road. I read that sunlight only gets to the Palm oasis briefly during mid-day.
I didn’t actually walk very far from camp, but that’s OK. I am literally surrounded by a spectacular desert garden as far as I can see.
And today dawns sunny and calm, so far. My friends went to meet another mutual friend in Quartzsite. She will be camping with us a few days. That will give us a car to pile into and drive up to the trail. Saves wear and tear on the truck campers we both drive. And in the meantime, I’m enjoying this warm, quiet desert retreat.
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