Joshua Trees remind me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book 🙂
We drove out to Temple Bar Marina on Lake Meade. The campground is pretty but they don’t have any with electric hookups. Since it’s cold, we don’t want to use up all our propane on heat.
The pinnacle on the right is Temple Bar.
Here’s our view from our full hookup RV site. Not the most scenic, huh? But it was only $18.50 for the night. The AZ resorts are saying there aren’t as many RV’ers this year. Maybe they’re staying put because of the weather? It makes for pretty sunsets though!
Death Valley sounds like it would be warm. Let’s go there!
See, we really did go to Death Valley.
Here’s the Devil’s Cornfield, in front of the sand dunes. We stayed at Stovepipe Wells. They had a few RV sites with electric hookups ($30 – no table, no firepit). The entrance fee is $20 and you’ll pay $1/gallon more for fuel if you don’t plan ahead. The second night we did without electricity (it was warmer) and camped at Sunset Campground for $12 (no table, no firepit).
I did a little research on these interesting trees with green bark.
The Yellow, or Little Leaf, Palo Verde tree has green bark. Palo means wood or stick. Verde is spanish for green. This variety of Palo Verde has tiny, little, leaves and the spring blossoms are yellow. It can photosynthesize through its green bark, an important adaptation for a tree that will drop its leaves during the warm season and in response to fall cooling. The tree will also drop stems and branches during a drought so it doesn’t waste what water it does get.
Palo Verde trees serve as nurse plants for Saguaro cacti by providing a canopy – in effect, a microhabitat – which offers warmth in winter and shade in summer. The slower-growing, longer-lived cactus will eventually replace its one-time protector.
Burros were brought to this area in the late 1800’s by the miners. They were used as pack animals. Some burros escaped captivity and others were abandoned by the miners when they moved on to other areas to mine. They have adapted well to the Sonoran desert and continue to multiply faster than the environment can feed them. In order to keep the wild herds healthy, the BLM rounds up a certain number of them each year and allows people to bid on them to adopt them. Bidders have to meet certain criteria in order to adopt them (to make sure they have the means and the land to house and feed the burros).
We could occasionally hear a donkey braying in the distance from our campsite. One morning the sound was really close and I was able to see him just as he walked over the hill, down into an arroyo. Arroyos are creek beds that only have water in them during the rainy season or during flash-floods. Anyway, we heard another Hee-Hee-Hee-Haw-Hee-Haw-Haw-HAAAAW and decided to go on a hunting trip. With camera and walking stick in hand, we headed out into the Sonoran Desert. The skies are blue and we had plenty of daylight left before we’d need to head back. We also made sure we could always see the campground when we came up out of an arroyo. We knew they couldn’t be far from the campground, though it was a little bit of a challenge to find the easiest way to go from peak to peak. Some of the arroyos are, maybe, 30′ – 40′ deep and the sides are pretty steep with loose rock. We followed the burro trails. They look the same as the deer trails in other parts of the country, zigzagging across the terrain, with the occasional footprints and “road apples” (smaller than a horse’s but looks the same). Burros usually don’t go straight down an embankment; they’ll take a diagonal. Don wanted me to have the camera lens cover off at all times. He just knew we’d startle them as we came up on top or looked over the edge. Sure enough, there were the 3 Amigos! They saw us before we noticed them of course. The 3 of them quickly gathered, trotted away for a few seconds and looked back.
We watched them for a while. Then, as we started walking away, another one startled. He was the scrappy one (Zoro). He held back from the other 3 and huffed at us. I’m pretty sure he was trying to scare us off. Don, as usual, imitated his threat back at him. I don’t think the burro was impressed. They kept their safe distance from us though. When we got back to the computer to look at the pix, we could see that Zoro has one short ear. Maybe he got huffy with a puma? I bet he feels even braver now, since he survived whatever he tangled with. Zoro is the one in front. If you can zoom in, it’s his right ear that’s damaged.
We had a really clear sunset last night. The colors reflecting off the cliffs were incredible!
This is a golf course near Parker, along the River Rd. Looks like you could be a pretty crummy golfer and the ball would just roll back down the hill back onto the green. 🙂
We decided to see what Alamo Lake State Park looks like so we packed up camp. We’ll head south on Hwy 95 to Parker, turn east on Hwy 72 until we hit Hwy 60. Then we’ll turn left at Wenden, AZ. It’s a couple hours drive by that route.
These Saguaro cacti were few and far between until we started climbing in elevation. Some kinds of birds nest in those holes in the cactus. We went over a 1900′ and a 2500′ pass to get to Alamo Lake State Park. It was in the low 60’s today. It is a little overcast this evening and, I think, the expected low is around 40F.
Campground C has electric and water hookups for $22/night. There are about 40 sites here. Campgrounds A and B also have some hookup sites. They are closer to the lake but we liked the view from Campground C best. The full hookup sites cost a little more but I can’t remember how much. There are a lot of toy haulers with ATV’s out here. The fishermen are talking about today’s catch of catfish and bass.
Here’s our view of Alamo Lake from site 39. Our Verizon internet is picking up National Access on the Extended Network. We have 3 bars but are only getting an average RX speed of about 40 – 70 kbps. If it sounds like I know what I’m talking about, I don’t. I’m just reading it off the VZAccess Manager window. My point is that it’s not lightening speed but it’s doing the trick. Some RV’s have their dish antennas out and one had a regular TV antenna up but we haven’t tried ours yet.
Don pointed out these holes under most of the bushes here. He says they are scorpion holes. I think they are tarantula holes :-} Maybe they come out at night? EEEeeeewwwww!!!!
This little hawk scattered a bunch of little birds before he landed on the tree limb. He sat there for 10 minutes, or so, while there was not a bird making a move or a sound. Then he then took off after another small bird. A few seconds later I saw a small bird flying towards me at lightening speed. That hawk was right on his tail! They were only a couple feet above me but I don’t think either one even noticed me. They were pretty focused!
Watchin’ the wildlife at River Island State Park along the Colorado River, near Parker, AZ.
These wild burros showed up on the ridge across the river from our campsite.
Not sure what kind of ducks these are.
A heron decided to fish from the island.
A kid went out to the island in a kayak to fish. He beached the kayak, got out and scared a beaver out of his den as he walked up the beach.
The beaver ran out to the water and started splashing around, slapping his tail on the surface, to draw the kid away. It worked, the kid made his way back to his kayak and paddled back across the river. As soon as the boat headed away from the den, the beaver quit splashing and disappeared. Animals are so smart!
The Needles Ward had their Primary program this week. What a great bunch of kids! I couldn’t believe how loud they sang out. It was a great program. We continued south on, I-40, into Arizona. This is rugged country!
We turned south, onto Hwy 95 (AZ). There is a Hwy 95 in CA, also, to go down the lake on the California side but we wanted to be in AZ. Lake Havasu is a really long, deep, lake. It is downstream of Lake Meade. There is a Lake Havasu State Park, just south of Lake Havasu City. That wasn’t our first choice because it doesn’t have electric hookups. But we’ll use it as a fall-back if the others are full. We don’t know quite what to expect the week before Thanksgiving.
We stopped to look at Cattail Cove State Park, on the south end of Lake Havasu. It was a little crowded, and we couldn’t get a spot on the water, but there were some sites available if we needed to come back here. They were running a special: stay 5 nights and get the 6th and 7th nights for free. The Host was also offering a pot luck Thanksgiving dinner – hahaha. We decided to get a look at River Island State Park before we decided.
We went a little further south on Hwy 95 and around the south end of the lake but the Hwy doesn’t cross the Parker Dam. River Island State Park is another pretty campground with hookups and hot showers. This one is not crowded at all and we found a spot overlooking the river for $23/night.
Don is looking forward to NOT driving for a couple days. I can see why the snowbirds flock here! Although, I am very confused about what time zone we are in. All the maps I look at say we are in the Mountain Time Zone. But our phones must be picking up the signal from the other side of the river, which is California. Maybe we don’t care exactly what time it is. 🙂