Monday, February 5, 2018

KOFA Queen Canyon

Didn't sleep well, so I was up this morning before sunrise. That usually works out well, and it did this morning.

It was much warmer when I started my morning walk, no jacket required. I looked back west and admired the lighting on the Granite Rock Mountain just west of Tyson's Wash.

When I got back, we put together some snacks and water, loaded up, and headed south to drive the KOFA Queen Canyon. About 15 miles south of our campsite, we turn east off highway 95 on the Palm Canyon Road.

The jeep tires were already aired down, so we headed east toward the KOFA Wildlife Refuge, which includes the KOFA Wilderness. The roads we drive are excluded from the wilderness, and easy to find on the maps. We turn off the Palm Canyon road at the KOFA sign and head south on the Queens Canyon road. Later this week, we will come back and hike the Palm Canyon trail. We are hoping for a cooler day for that. Today, its already near 80 at 11am.

In our view ahead is the south end of the New Water Mountains and the KOFA Wilderness.

Behind, across the Castle Dome Plain are the Yuma Proving Grounds, the Chocolate Mountains, and the Middle Mountains.

Before we turn the corner into the Queens Canyon, we stop and take a break along a wash. This looks to drain some of the runoff from the Queens Canyon area. A mix of Sonoran desert flora is getting enough water here.

Further ahead, we drive around a big guarding rock into the KOFA Queen Canyon. First photo, looking back (west) at the rocky ridge that separates the Queens Canyon.

And, to the north west, the other ridge of the canyon which looks to have a large limestone seam up high.

Looking east up the canyon, the ridges on both sides are very jagged and sheer.

We stopped part way up the canyon to cool off ourselves, and the jeep.

The mesquite trying to shade the jeep had residents in the past. Wonder what?

In the wash, an agave and a baby saguaro compete for water. And, in a dying tree the mistletoe is blooming and has berries.

We end our trip up the Queens Canyon at Skull Rock. The trail continues beyond this point for a couple miles, and dead ends up there. It is narrow and scratchy up there, so we called it good here. Skull Rock is aptly named.

The glow of the sun in the spines of this prickly pear caught my eye.

The only cloud in the sky today, was man made. This contrail just hung out over the canyon and did not move much.

After skull rock, we headed back to town. It was a hot ride, with almost no wind. Not at all complaining, as it is snowing back home today and we are enjoying the warmth while we can.

We cooled off in the shade of the camper, and then I grilled some chicken strips while my dear wife made up salads. We dined alfresco in the glow of sunset.

Tomorrow, we have been invited to join a ranger guided trip to a mercury mine south west of Quartzsite in the Dome Rock Mtns.

1 comment:

  1. We did that Queen Canyon drive a few years ago and I loved the rugged scenery back through there to the Skull and a wee bit beyond. The Kofa Mountains are probably my favorite range for their jagged jarring peaks. It's fun finding out where the various water tanks are located in there. I think friends of ours 'Bill and Ann' might still be camp volunteering in the Kofas. If you run across them they are a wealth of information having been working in there for few years now and they know where all the natural water tanks are. That's how we found them.