ARIZONA’S RUGGED KOFA MOUNTAINS
After publishing our Christmas Eve post Pheebs & slipped outside under Arizona’s canopy of twinkling stars stretching from mountain top to mountain top. To the south could be seen a soft glow in the sky. Yuma. A smaller puff of light to our north showed me where Quartzsite was located. Dark skies to the east & west. But there in the east just rising over Kofa’s Palm Canyon was the mighty hunter of the night skies himself. Orion. What a beautiful sight on Christmas Eve & one to be remembered. Orion is my Aunt Jean’s favorite constellation.
SUNRISE OVER THE KOFAS
Guess it was bound to happen & this morning I fell out of my bunk. I was in the process of climbing down when I guess my sleeping bag slid or something. Lost my grip & tumbled to the floor in a heap. No damage & Pheebs was right there totally worried & concerned trying to help. Took me about half a minute to convince her all was well despite my crumpled state of affairs on the floor. Took me another half minute to get myself back up on my feet again. Close call & I will have to do things differently next time.
No TV channels at our location in the Kofas but we do have an excellent Verizon signal. We have a small emergency radio & it was with this radio playing Christmas Carols on the kitchen counter that we had our morning coffee & browsed around on our laptops. Our kind of Christmas morning. Quiet & peaceful right here in the shadow of the Kofa Mountains.
DRESSED WARMLY FOR OUR MORNING WALK
Due to a cool breeze this morning we shortened up our walk & piled into the Jeep. Scouted out a few campsites close by & headed up Palm Canyon road to the Palm Canyon trailhead. Been a few years since we had been here last & I had totally forgot the overwhelming beauty of this spot. Being it was morning the sun had not got round to lighting the Canyon yet & it was in shadow. That meant cool temps. We had already hiked up to the Palms a few years ago so we just rock scrambled ourselves around the trailhead area marveling at the grandeur. And then a most amazing thing happened. From somewhere up the Canyon we could hear someone playing a flute. The Canyon walls acoustically wafted it’s sweet music to our ears. Only lasted about a minute & it was gone. Two cars were in the parking lot so we knew people were on the trail.
UNFORTUNATELY PALM CANYON WAS IN DEEP SHADOW THIS MORNING SO MY PICS DO NOT DO IT JUSTICE
To see the day we hiked into Palm Canyon click A LITTLE MAGIC IN THE KOFA MOUNTAINS
From Palm Canyon we backtracked back down Palm Canyon road turning onto another gravely desert road at Ann & Bill’s trailer. A minute later we rolled by RV SUE'S place. Didn’t see her, Bridget, or Spike, outside but gave them all a big wave anyway. We were on a mission to find the big Rock Skull hidden back in the Kofa mountains somewhere.
HEADING OFF IN SEARCH OF SKULL ROCK
Definitely best to have a 4 wheel drive on these desert roads. Finally reached a spot where the road fanned out a bit & we thought maybe this was the area of the skull & sure enough Kelly spotted a big rock formation with what looked like a large skull on the northeast side of it. Maybe half a mile or more away. It was such an awe inspiring area we were in we decided to hike to the skull. We never made it…………
WE BOTH SAW A SKULL IN THIS ROCK FORMATION BUT THIS PHOTO FAILS TO SHOW EXACTLY WHAT WE SAW
Before I tell you why let me just say how overwhelmed we were by the beauty confronting us. Rock formations stretching into the crystal blue heavens like towering sky scrapers. Reminded me a lot of some hikes we did in the Ajo mountains near Why Arizona in our early RV days. Some folks like being by the ocean, some by a lake, others in forests of green while others in lands as flat as a pancake. For me it is being surrounded by mountains. If I can’t be enveloped in the mountains I want to at least be able to see the mountains. And today was a treat because we got ourselves right into the mountains themselves with towering monoliths all around us.
MUST SAY I WAS DISAPPOINTED WITH MY PHOTOS TODAY, THEY JUST DO NOT CAPTURE THE TRUE BEAUTY THAT IS HERE IN THESE MOUNTAINS
Between us & the rock skull we had spotted were gulley's, ridges, Saguaros, Ocotillos, Brittle Bush….and one of the deadliest cactus’s we have ever come across. Pretty as they are we have found Teddy Bear Cholla to be one of the worst Cactus plants to ever come in contact with man or beast. We were making our way along when I crossed a gulley through a patch of Brittle Bush. Pheebs was right behind me. When I came through & up the rocky grade a bit….Pheebs wasn’t behind me anymore. I called & could see her still in the Brittle Bushes. She seemed to be having trouble getting through so I called her several times. Her head slowly emerged but she was in difficulty & as she struggled free of the bushes I saw right away her paws were full of Teddy Bear Cholla spikes. I had accidentally led her into a nest of deadly Cholla thorns hidden under the Brittle Bushes. She couldn’t walk. Luckily I carry tweezers in my pocket & we spent the best part of the next 15 to 20 minutes painfully extracting barbs from her paws, legs, & mouth area. She came through the ordeal like the true little trooper she truly is but that was the end of our hike to the skull. We carefully made our way back to the Jeep stopping along the way to work on the barbs when needed. Pheebs got some out herself & we got the rest. By the time we reached the Jeep she was A-OK again.
WHEN I SAW PHEEBS HAVING DIFFICULTY HERE I KNEW SHE WAS IN TROUBLE
THOSE ARE THE DEVILISH TEDDY BEAR CHOLLAS AROUND PHEEBS
We weren’t exactly sure if the rock formation skull we saw was the one Ann mentioned or not so we decided to keep following the road deeper into the mountains. And it got rougher. At several points we debated whether to turn back but the beauty surrounding us just kept pulling us further & further into the mountains. Didn’t matter where one looked it was awe inspiring. We knew we were far enough back that we were actually behind Palm Canyon somewhere.
The early afternoon mountain shadows were beginning to creep across the rough & rocky trail we were on. Certainly couldn’t call it a road. And then we spotted something & said ‘WHAT’!!
Way back in the mountains where we figured no humans would be we spotted a van camper nestled into some rocks & trees. How could a van get in here?? But as we were to find out it was no ordinary van. As we came up abreast of the van Kelly said, “there it is”. “There’s what” I said. “The Skull”!!!! And sure enough we had found the big rock skull Ann had told us about & it was right where the camper van was parked.
We went about a hundred feet past & stopped. We certainly didn’t want to bother anybody but while standing by the Jeep deciding what to do we saw 2 hikers come over the ridge & approach the van. Turns out it was two very outdoorsy ladies from Phoenix. We approached & said we had driven out to see Skull rock & a cave. The ladies were very friendly & said come on over. And that’s how we met Pam & Katherine today. They showed us the tiny but fascinating cave. It’s blackened roof had seen many campfires. The ladies had stumbled across the campsite by accident a day before. In fact they hadn’t even known the big rock formation they were camped beside was known as ‘the Skull although they had both figured out it looked like something between a Great Horned Owl & a Skull. Had us a nice chat & decided not to go any further into the mountains. It was already a long journey back. Just as well because we later found out the road deteriorated very quickly just past the skull site.
PAM & KATHERINE FROM PHOENIX
THEIR HIGH CLEARANCE VAN IS SPECIALLY BUILT FOR RUGGED COUNTRY
AND THIS IS THE SMALL CAVE
We bounced, jostled, & scraped our way back down the wash from whence we had come, marveling all the way at our great fortune to be doing what it is we love to do in an area of the country we so much love to do it in. We plan to return to the Kofa Mountains more often. So much here to see & the Kofa’s are only a two & a half hour drive from our Congress house.
HEADING BACK OUT OF THE MOUNTAINS
SEE THE LARGE ROCK LIZARD CLIMBING UP THE MOUNTAIN
The rocky road leading back to Winnie The Bago runs right through Bill & Ann’s host campsite. We saw Bill, Ann, & RV Sue sitting out alongside their trailer so we pulled over for a chat. Sometimes conversations just roll & so it was with Ann, Bill, & Sue. It’s enjoyable when folks with a common interest get together & talk about what it is they are all interested in. No looking down, shuffling feet in the dirt trying to make small talk. I don’t mind being around people like that. Light hearted, easy going, genuinely friendly, helpful & caring folks. My kind of people. Not wanting to be intrusive we didn’t stay too long. Seems we never do.
HEADING BACK OUT ACROSS THE DESERT FLOOR
We sure were happy to travel the last quarter mile or so down the road back to our temporary campsite. We were tired from our 5 hour mountain Jeep scramble. And we were hungry because we had not packed a lunch today. I also knew I probably had a couple hundred photos to go through after todays great day in the mountains plus I had a blog to write. Ann & Bill had graciously invited us for supper with Sue but we decided it was best we get back on home. Thanks folks, perhaps another day, another time.
We were going to move the rig to a different location across the road this afternoon but decided to do it in the morning. We will then scout out a few more desert roads south of us & see what sights we can see & what adventures we may find ourselves in.
Welcome to our latest reader on ‘Friend Connect’. Lynne from OUR ROAD LESS TRAVELED has just joined us on our travels. You climbed aboard just at the right time Lynn while we are here exploring around in Arizona’s Kofa Mountains.
WE SURE HAD US A TIRED LITTLE DOGGY WHEN WE GOT HOME
And last but not least I have a correction to make about my Christmas Eve post. I put the wrong link in for Pronghorn. It is actually the Desert Big Horn Sheep (not Antelope) that Ann & Bill have been helping with as part of their many volunteer duties here in the KOFA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE.
GROANER’S CORNER:)) And my last Christmas joke for the year………….
It's a romantic full moon, when Pedro said, "Hey, Mamacita, let's do Weeweechu."
Oh no, not now, let's look at the moon!" said Rosita.
Oh, c'mon baby, let's you and I do Weeweechu. I love you and it's the perfect time," Pedro begged.
"But I wanna just hold your hand and watch the moon." replied Rosita.
Please, Corazoncito, just once, do Weeweechu with me."
Rosita looked at Pedro and said, "OK, one time, we'll do Weeweechu."
Pedro grabbed his guitar and they both sang.....
"Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year."
- Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.
- Home is where your pet is:))
- "If having a soul means being able to feel
love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals
are better off than a lot of humans."
- The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails -William Arthur Ward
- The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...AL.
- It is not so much having nothing to do as it is not having the interest to do something....AL.