KOFA National Wildlife Refuge

On Saturday, January 6th, I leave Tucson bound for Kofa NWR. The distance is more than I like to travel in one day, so I stop for the night at Harrah’s AK-Chin Casino near Maricopa, which is just over 100 miles away. Many of the casinos in the west permit RVs to park overnight.

Sunday morning I continue west on I-8. In Yuma, I make a quick stop for groceries and fuel at Fry’s. From there it is about 50 miles to the campsite. Last January, I attended an RVForum.net mini-rally at Kofa. We all had a great time and loved the camping there. I was glad when a rally was planned for this January.

p1020045w2

An awesome campsite!

There were a few people back from last year as well as several new attendees. It is very informal, but everyone usually gathered around late afternoon. Then after dinner for a campfire. The weather was nice – a little cool at night but not bad.

The mountains behind us would turn red in the setting sun.

p1020127w2

What a backyard view!

And some evenings the sky would be pink and blue.

p1020139w2

My rig

Desert Hike

One morning, I hiked from camp across the desert, heading north along the west side of the mountains.

p1020054w2

Brittlebush was blooming everywhere

When sunlight hits a barrel cactus its red spines seem to glow. I love seeing them.

p1020044w2

Pretty barrel cactus

With all the rain there are some plants in bloom.

p1020056w2

Blue phacelia

People seem to have a penchant for building cairns. I came across this one is at the top of one of the hills.

p1020057w2

Cairn in the desert

p1020061w2

And an old car

p1020068w2

From a cave above the rusted out car

p1020072w2

An old snag

Each day we would see C-17s flying around the area at low altitude. Sometimes parachutists would drop from them.

p1020075w2

C-17 transport

North Star Mine

Another day I drove east thru the refuge to North Star Mine. It’s a nice drive across a basin surrounded by jagged mountains. The North Star Mine is located about 2 miles north of the King of Arizona Mine, from which the area gets its name.

p1020088w2

Mountains near North Star Mine

p1020084w2

A lot of ocotillo in bloom. And many had their green leaves from the recent moisture.

p1020093w2

It is so much greener than last year.

The mine is up on a hillside at the end of Road 65. I parked and walked the last half mile. It operated from 1907 to 1911, producing primarily gold, as well as some silver.

p1020097w2

North Star Mine

p1020099w2

I saw three different tunnel entrances

p1020104w2

Old foundations

p1020105w2

More ruins

p1020116w2

Antares Mine cabin, the only remaining structure

p1020118w2

It was late afternoon as I was leaving the mine

It was great to be back at Kofa again. This is one of my favorite places to camp. The dark skies are superb for stargazing. Most nights were clear and the Milky Way was visible. It was nice to see the people who returned from last year as well as meet some new folks.

One night there was a spectacular sunset, but I was lazy and didn’t get my camera out. So I just have these photos of the last night’s sunset. 🙂

p1020138w2

Oh my gosh!

p1020140w2

Sunset on the evening before I leave Kofa

 

4 Comments on “KOFA National Wildlife Refuge

  1. Saved the wonderful barrel cactus shot for my desktop slideshow – thanks !! Great shots as usual.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: