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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.