Approximately 20 miles south of Q on Hwy 95 in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge lies a canyon within the barren volcanic Kofa Mountain Range. Tucked away in this canyon are a grove of California fan palms the why and how of how they got there unknown, but speculation abounds and has over the years since they were discovered.
The boys and I head out in the late afternoon to drive to the refuge with the intent of staying the night and taking the short half-mile hike up to the palms the next day. The sun only shines in the canyon slot for a very brief time, and probably less this time of the year with the sun farther south. Photography requires light, so this is important.
It’s about 7 miles of pretty decent dirt road to reach the parking lot situated just below the trail head. The mountain looms upward dwarfing the lot and the vehicles parked there. We are one of three who decide to go ahead a stay in the parking lot and wait for morning.
A bitter wind is whipping itself into a frenzy and it’s darn cold when the inevitable walk is needed for the boys to hike a leg. We don’t dilly dally around; it’s down to business and we scurry back inside.
The inside of the van is unheated, but comfy and warm enough as we snuggle under the covers listening to the wind poke and prod at the mountain and the van, sounding angry over something, voicing its mournful objections. It makes me sad, and my mind wanders to Burger. I miss my Boo. I try to imagine him running in a field of green, happy and well … fortunately sleep comes fairly quickly.
Morning dawns bright and clear, and although still on the cold side, the wind has moved on. Coffee, another chapter in my book, a walk around the parking lot for the dogs, and then a bit of breakfast while we await the sun to get a bit higher and the air a little warmer before we head out. I check over my camera, make sure I have bags in my pocket for dog droppings, and we’re ready to go.
It’s a short hike, but it’s not a level hike. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, but the trail does climb a bit, and there are a few places where it’s a bit tricky to navigate, especially with two dogs on leash who have their own idea of which way is the best way to go.
The palms are across a ravine from the trail, tucked away between the small canyon’s wall, protected from the elements. The conditions surely must be perfectly right for them to continue to thrive and grow here.
Plams at the top of the canyon
Canyon from bottom to top
You can read more about these palm trees HERE.
I decide to spend an additional night within the refuge enjoying the cholla (pronounced choy-ya) cactus, the saguaros and other desert plants that look fresh and clean without the coating of dust that covers most of the Sonoran Desert. I spend the afternoon picking out things in the mountain range where the palm trees hide. A mole, a seal, a monster, a snake’s head. Can you see them? Click the photo to enlarge.
Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs. Hugs, Shawna
CAMPING: You can camp within the refuge, free, for up to 14 days. This is a boondocking area and there are NO amenities whatsoever. Come prepared for that if you plan on staying more than a night or two. There is a narrow strip along the main dirt road where you can pull off to park. with signs telling you where the boundaries are.