February 3 – 6, 2017
I tried to leave the Phoenix area as quickly as possible and headed south, almost to the border, to boondock on Darby Wells Road just south of Ajo, Arizona. Gotta’ love the BLM land for a free 14-day stay on the simply divine Sonoran Desert.
Also stopped when I saw a sign for the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. Although the visitor center is small this third largest (in the lower 48) 860,000 acre refuge protects a vast Sonoran Desert landscape most of which is designated wilderness. Due to the rugged terrain and extreme climate an entry permit is required along with 4×4 which I don’t have. But I learned a lot at the visitor center and figured I’d be camping on the same desert without out all the requirements.
So I continued south of Ajo turning right on Darby Wells Road and in about 1 1/2 miles found a side road to the left and a nice secluded place to call home for a while. The gravel road is in pretty good condition and I saw some very big rigs scattered across the landscape, nobody too close to each other. Just how I like it. It is in sight of the sloped walls, I assume tailing piles, of the open pit New Cornelia copper mine.
Except my second night when a group of three caravanning RVs decided to park what I consider too close, and basically at the road junction. They ran generators and had barking dogs. And one late afternoon I heard shooting out on the desert behind me which I didn’t care for a bit. Thank goodness they quit after a Border Patrol vehicle went flying by but did not stop.
Three and a half days over a weekend, worked out perfect to get some blog posts written, and lots of photos taken and processed. The internet signal was speedy. It’s really too bad day light on the laptop screen makes it near impossible to work outside. So I’d sit inside during the mornings, then when the heat of the day hit at 70+°F outside and more inside I’d take myself out for either a walk in the desert or find a shady place for the chair and read. Current two books are, Interpretation: Making a Difference on Purpose by Sam H. Ham for a training program I’m putting together for our North Rim staff this spring, and Glen Canyon Betrayed: A Sensuous Elegy by Katie Lee. If you like Southwest landscapes, are a nature enthusiast, and an advocate for public lands I highly recommend the Lee book.
Sunday I met friend and fellow Ranger Cynthia in Ajo for breakfast then we went to the Country Club for the last day of the Fiddle Festival. Heard some great foot stomping music played by young and old alike.
Being surrounded by saguaro, ocotillo, palo verde, and of course cholla and creosote bush seemed dream like. I watched birds flit in and out too quickly for photos and hawks search for a meal.