Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hiking the Desert Around Yuma, Arizona

While here in Yuma we were lucky to meet Steve, a Master Naturalist, who offered to take a group from the RV park where we are staying on a guided hike on the Painted Desert Trail in the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge located just north of here:
Our fearless. and very knowledgable, leader:
When he retired, Steve went back to school to become a naturalist and conducts hikes like this on a volunteer basis. A very interesting man - we meet so many interesting people living this lifestyle.

We started out walking up a wash between the mountains:
A wash is an area or channel that is created when flooding occurs in the desert. This part of the desert was formed many millions of years ago by volcanic activity. The different colours in the rock are caused by the lava hardening at different rates.
Volcanic Rock Mountains
The narrow rock column in the photo below is a lava tower. It was formed when lava shot out of a vent in the volcano and cooled and hardend very quickly and plugged the vent.
We climbed up the mountains with a running commentary by Steve:
Which wasn't easy with such diverse levels of hiking skills (Steve is in the centre of this group). He did a great job.

Eventually we reached the two peaks you see at the upper right in the photo above:
And up and over we went.

At the top
And down the other side
Do you see the little people down in the wash?
All in all a great morning.

A few days later we learned the rangers in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in the Kofa Mountains were conducting a moonlight hike on the night of the full moon:
Kofa Mountains in the distance
It was dark, of course, and my camera does not take good pictures a night so I will just add a couple:
It was a rare cloudy night in the desert but the moon did peek in and out of the clouds.

The park emloyee who conducted the hike did an excellent job telling us about the wildlife and plants in the desert.
But mostly we just walked for about 2 miles and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the desert at night.

At the end of the hike I learned that Bill and Ann, Kofa Wilderness hosts, were at the back of our hiking group. I've read so much about them on several blogs, most frequently on the The Bayfield Bunch and RV Sue, and felt like I already knew them so I introduced myself and spent a few minutes chatting with them. They conduct hikes in the Kofa Refuge every Saturday and we planned to head up there the following Saturday to join them. Unfortunately I got a cold that lingered and lingered so we missed that opportunity and we are leaving Yuma shortly so it is an opportunity lost for now. Perhaps another year.

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  1. so good to see you both having a blast !!! xo

  2. How very cool to have a guide on a hike! I am really looking forward to spending time in this area next winter. Looks like some wonderful hiking. Thanks for taking us along!


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