Archive for January, 2012

Jan. 31 – Lizard Territory

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

On Friday, Jan. 27, Mavrik and I walked around a big hill we call Chocolate Mountain. The hill is covered with big smooth chocolate colored rocks that don’t seem to occur anywhere else in the area, quite interesting. As we traversed a seemingly barren sandy area around the base a lizard darted in front of me (Mavrik missed it, thank goodness or I never would have gotten the picture!).

I suspected it is a Zebra-tailed Lizard and an internet search confirmed it. It’s either a female or it’s not mating season yet otherwise if it’s a male the dark bands on the tail (hence the name) would be more prominent as well as the green coloring on the sides of the belly. Today Robert and I took the same walk and the same lizard darted out in front of us.

I could tell it’s the same one from the pattern of peeling skin on it’s head. Check out those super long toes on the back feet!

Jan. 25 – Surprise!

Monday, January 30th, 2012

We explored our newest campsite area, walking a jeep trail into the mountains. The trail narrowed to a quad track then disappeared as the terrain became more rough and steep. The promise of a view from a pass above spurred us onward and upward and we were rewarded with a surprise. We had discovered a short cut into Tumco! (Check back to Jan. 15, 2008 blog when we visited the same area) It was a new approach that brought us into the old gold mining area via the sand dunes created when a huge storm disgorged the sandy contents of the huge cyanide leach vats.

Robert and Mavrik approach the huge vats.

What’s amazing is that a picture on a reader board along the trail through the ghost town shows the vats standing on wood scaffolding at least 30 feet feet high! It must all be buried in the sand!

Jan. 23 -The Bridge to Nowhere

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

We moved our campsite back to the Yuma area and stopped at a u-pick farm stand on the way. It is located at “the bridge to nowhere”, the original McPhaul Bridge over the Gila River on highway 95 in Arizona. The highway was rerouted and the bridge stands, decaying, over the trickle of the river. Ironically the ‘new’ bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1993, while the abandoned old bridge withstood the waters!

Built in 1929 it was abandoned in 1968 when the road was rerouted.

Robert's keen eye spotted this huge beehive in the ironwork of one of the towers.

Jan. 22 -Rock and Plant Views

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Interesting objects encountered on our long walks.

Maybe an indigenous peoples grinding stone, but probably just an erosion pattern.

The skeleton of a saguaro cactus.

A bunch of tiny versions of the previous erosion pattern in a soft desert rock.

A hummingbird bush in bloom.

Jan. 20 -Kofa Wildlife

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

The main attraction in terms of wildlife in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is the Desert Bighorn Sheep. We were privileged to have a pair observing us from the peak of Crystal Hill in the northwest corner of the Refuge. We camped in the same area several years ago and had several sheep watching us then too!

The male gave us a great profile pose.

Two days later we climbed the hill, where Robert and Mav posed at the peak.

Jan. 13 – Yuma Tour

Friday, January 13th, 2012

It was so windy in the desert we decided to head to town hoping the wind would lessen. It did, so we enjoyed several hikes in the Yuma East Wetlands where Mavrik could run and even swim in the Colorado river. We were camped across the river at the Quechan Indian Casino and were able to walk across the Ocean to Ocean Bridge to the wetlands area and even into town. We toured Main Street in the historic old town and even picked a mandarin orange to enjoy from a tree in a parking lot!

A picture of a picture of the Ocean to Ocean Bridge!

Detail of the interior of the restored Yuma Post Office, now a commercial building.

Jan. 11 – Mexico Sunrise

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

The sunrise this morning was gorgeous. We are only about 5 miles from the Mexico border, the city lights we see at night are in Mexico!

Jan. 10 – Happy Birthday Mav!

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Mavrik turned 4 today and got a special treat, a beef neck bone, to chew on while we enjoyed a campfire.


Jan. 8 – Tortoise Hill

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

When we returned from a hike on Friday, Jan. 6 we were pleased to see our neighbors the desert tortoises. The reason we named this site we’ve camped at before is because we met these two, probably the same, tortoises we saw 2 years ago. They were busy grazing on the sprouts growing in the wash between our campsite and the hill.

The male eventually wandered off down the wash, grazing between spurts of rather quick hiking.

While the female finally had her fill and hiked up the hill to the same hole she retired into when we saw her last.

Jan. 7 -Good Morning World

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

For some reason I bake double chocolate biscotti only when we are out camping for an extended period of time. It is a great accompaniment to a beautiful sunrise viewed from our ‘deck’.