Saturday, March 20, 2010

Picacho State Recreation Area

Saturday: (03/20) We had maple and brown sugar oatmeal with yogurt and peach preserves. We finally were on the road to the Picacho State  Recreation Area North of us along the river by about 10:30 not too early but plenty of day left. We had to return most of the way back toward Yuma then turn off S24 toward the park. There is about 20 miles of dirt and gravel road. The road was almost too much for our poor little Volvo. The washboard section for about the first 3 miles was no problem. After that though there were several very long 1/4 mile sections of deeply rutted sand which we barely made it through dragging our bottom along. We only have 4-5 inches of ground clearance. After that couple of miles of intermittent worrisome sand the road was fairly nice all the rest of the way. Since I was cruising at about 25-30 miles per hour to slide through the bad spots we made it to our destination in no time.

Bunny At Picatio SRA Lower Dock Picatio SRA
By 11:30 we were having an early lunch of ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches at the Lower Dock of Picacho SRA. We were the only vehicle there which did worry us a little since we have to return through the bad section again and it would be nice to have some big bruiser of a 4x4 behind us on the way out to offer us a tow if needed.

Lower Dock Picahio SRA Lower Dock Picatio SRA
There were about 20 canoes and kayaks tied up at the dock and the tour boat from Fisherman's Landing at Martinez Lake. The canoes and kayaks turned out to belong to a Boy Scout Troop on a multi-day camping trip down the river.

Picacho Peak Cactus Flower
I call this Picacho peal since it's the tallest thing around and rises above the old mine site. Of course the flowers were all around.

Cactus Flower Lower Mill Site
We hiked the Stamp Mill Trail to a couple of old stamp mills. Frankly the trail toward the mill site isn't too inviting but once you are up a ways the views over the river are great. It was rather an interesting hike of about a mile out through some colorful hills with different colored sections of rock. Like an artists paint pallet. The mills are very ruined including the Lower Mill Site. Nature is reclaiming the area.

River Otter River Otter
We got a special treat at the Lower Stamp Mill which was just above a small channel off the river. A group of what we think were river otters were playing in the pond. unfortunately we only got partial looks of a couple. The others were just playing and splashing behind the reeds. Definitely made the hike worth Lou's extra effort to hike out.

Lower Mill Site Upper Mill Site
Lou watching  the river otters from the Lower Mill Site. There is some old equipment remnants including these gold wash tubs on the right above.

Upper Mill Site Trail From Mill Site
The Upper Mill Site above left had some rusting equipment around it including an old boiler. Lou starts back on the trail from the Upper Mill above right.

Railroad Canyon trail Railroad Tresstle Pier
I also took a side trail to the Railroad Canyon while Lou made here way back. There was an old narrow gauge railroad that ran from the mine to the mill and the grade is still there. In fact it's too bad it isn't used as the road instead of the wash because it's on rock rather than sand and, even though an maintained for over a hundred years is in excellent shape with no washouts, unlike the road in the wash. There is only one problem. It ends at the site of a missing old tresstle that brought the ore to above the mill. There is no way down now so the old roadbed makes a nice trail.

About 3:00 we started back. While on our way out we didn't pass any vehicles coming or going. On the way back we passed dozens. There were so many coming out that I didn't always get my best choice of ruts from either side of the road. I had to settle for the right side ruts. We slipped back through with almost no trouble except for one spot where we almost ended up at a stop which would have meant we were stuck. We barely inched through. Next year I intend to have something with more ground clearance and 4x4 drive hooked behind the RV for trips like this.

After we got back on the paved road toward home I thought how nice these bumpy old paved roads really are.

We stopped at the imperial Date Farm for date milk shakes on our way home. A nice topper for the afternoon. Fortunately, again today the high temperature didn't reach the forecast high so it was a really nice day. Tonight we had leftover spaghetti and sausages for dinner.

Sunday: (03/21) Lou fixed strawberry pancakes with sausage for breakfast. Another easy day at home. Lunch was left over ham and Swiss sandwiches from yesterday embellished with pickles and avocado.

Trail From Skunk Hollow To Kripple Kreek
About 3pm we took a walk by the beaver pond and up to the Senator Wash Lake then back home via a burro trail. Today wasn't too hot but it was very smoggy and a little muggy. Why smog here in the empty desert? It does get around.

Lou fixed coleslaw, brown rice and chicken for dinner. After dinner we had a nice campfire using some very slow burning logs we picked up at an abandoned campsite. Now we know why the left them.

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