Monday, February 28, 2011

Butterfield Stage Coach Stop, Coronado National Forest, Arizona

backroads destination—Butterfield Stage Coach Stop, Coronado National Forest, Arizona

This is one of the more interesting sites that I have found on National Forest land. 

The Butterfield Overland Mail Company used this stop to deliver mail from St. Louis to San Francisco in 25 days in 1857.  The rock walls of the stage stop are still visible today.  The stage coach company made 40 runs and then moved operations north to Utah due to increased hostilities with the Apaches, the start of the Civil War, and competition from the Pony Express. 

The stage stop was a dangerous place with the following meeting their deaths:  three construction workers in 1857, and two US Army Regulars in 1862 and Four Confederate soldiers in that same year.   Click on the picture below and it will be displayed full sized so you can read it.

The US Army and Confederate soldiers died at the hands of the Apaches.  Click on the picture of the interpretive sign below and it will display full sized so you can read it.

Growing up in the western US the Civil War was always an abstraction in the history books.   During my teens it was the Spanish settlement of California that provided the link to history.  Moving to Idaho and Washington in my twenties the Lewis and Clark Expedition became a real part of history to me.  Places I worked, hiked, hunted and explore were all traversed by Lewis and Clark.

So it came as quite a shock to see the Bars and Stars next to graves on the Arizona desert along with the initials CSA for the Confederate States of America.   The War between the States was no longer only in the history books.

The impact of this site is much stronger since it is just out on the National Forest.  The interpretation is minimal.  When your here it will probably be just you with the graves and the ruins of the stage coach stop.  
Stage coach riders delivering the US Mail, soldiers from the Confederate States of America,  the US Army, and of course, the Apaches watching their way of life change and slowly slip away.

The middle of somewhere a hundred and fifty years ago.  I wonder what it will look like a hundred and fifty years from now.

The site is difficult to find.  Call the Forest Service office in Douglas, Arizona at 520 364 3468 for directions.   I drove past the turnoff and then had to double back.   You go past a gate that asks you to keep it closed since cattle are in the pasture.  Then you run into this sign which shows that you are on the right road.  

 From here the road heads east for another mile.  I love the old Forest Service entrance signs to National Forest lands.

 You finally reach a sign that states “Road not maintained for Public Use”.  In this area, there is a interpretive sign with a couple of arrows strached into the wood pointing east. 

Follow the unmarked trail east and you will go through a fence and quickly come to the Stage Stop and the graves. 
The springs are up the “road not maintained for public use”.  You can walk or drive up there for look around, but the stage stop is really the most interesting stop.  I think what the "road not maintained for public use" means for most people is that if you get stuck and need a tow your insurance will probably refuse to pay.

You can camp in this area, but remember the special Arizona camping regulations regarding water sources.

If you decide to camp in the area, you might want to move a 1/4 mile away from the spring.  At the springs we found this cistern with the date of February 1943.  Remember everything you build will have archaeologists wondering about do them a favor and date all your work!

Take only pictures.  This is special spot in American history far from the crowds of tourists.  You will most likely have the site to yourself when you visit.  Make sure those that follow you will also be able to enjoy the site and setting.

The sign might say "unmaintained for public use", but the land still belongs to you.  Take care of it and keep exploring.  The best stuff usually does not have a sign.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cochise Stronghold, Coronado National Forest, Dragoon, Arizona

Backroads Destination—Cochise Stronghold, Coronado National Forest, Dragoon, Arizona.

The Dragoon Mountains of the Coronado National Forest were home to one of the central figures in the Indian Wars of the mid-to-late 1800’s.  Cochise was the leader of a group of Chiricahua Apache and this was his hideout.  It is a perfect landscape for a hideout.  The rocks provide an overlook of the surrounding desert for approaching troops and shelter from both the elements and the troops.

See the following web site for a history of  Cochise and the Chiricahua Apache.

When Bugaboo gets bored after a day or two of inactivity his eyes glaze over and he runs up and down the 5th wheel all 30 feet of it.  At that point, we look for BLM or National Forest lands to give him a chance to run a bit.  So we decided to explore the Dragoon Mountains for that reason and hike the Forest Service trail system.

We drove up the eastern side of the stronghold to the Forest Service campground and trailhead.  The sign at the mouth of the canyon is quite clear that there is no boondocking and the stay limit is 14 days in the campground.  The speed limit is posted at 15 mph, but some of the locals that live in cabins on private property within the National Forest view that as advise only.

The road is limited to trailers less than 22 feet in length.  The road is fine until just before the campground at which point the reason for the 22 foot restriction becomes very obvious.  So plan on staying somewhere outside the National Forest if your over 22 feet.   The campground spurs are also limited to 22 feet.  We saw one little Casita in the campground and the rest were tents.  There is no water at the campground.

At the trailhead that is a ½ mile Interpretive Trail that identifies most of the plant species found in the Dragoon Mountains.  From the interpretive trail you can get on a Forest Service trail system and hike over to the west side of the stronghold should you wish.

We hiked up one mile to Cochise Spring   and found an old spring box and newer plastic piping at the one mile marker.  We think that was the spring. 

The drive into Cochise Stronghold makes for a good one day trip from Benson.  So if your looking for a place to stretch your legs and walk a bit this is the place for you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Sierra Vista, Arizona

backroads destination--San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

Last year we visited the San Pedro area at the ghost town of Fairbanks.  See our usbackroads blog:  San Pedro Riparian Area.  The town of Fairbanks is a cultural resource and interesting place to visit.  However, when Bugaboo found out that ten miles south there was a "birding trail" he insisted on going there this time.

I am not sure what he thought about a birding trail, but I am sure he noticed that we had a camera and binoculars instead of the shotgun.  BLM requires that dogs be on a leash in developed areas and under voice control on trails and open areas.  So we put on Buggy's "good citizenship" collar to insure that he would be on his best behavior on the "birding trail".  Please use a leash if you cannot control your dog "remotely".  We always put him on the leash, when people or other dogs approached.   

The Friends of the San Pedro River have a bookstore and run trail hikes out of San Pedro House.  The house is located just south of Arizona Highway 90 where it crosses the San Pedro River.  We saw a sign for loaner binocular if you forgot yours.  These groups that help the BLM in the management of public lands make a huge difference in the quality of the visitor experience for the public.  So we always try to buy something to support them.  This trip it was a cook t-shirt, a book on the natural history of butterflies, and a cookbook??

Look for the edge.  Remember our previous post about Living on the Edge.  Along the trail there are several "edges" with grass and cottonwood forest,  but the most important one is the stream and surrounding riparian vegetation. 

This is a shallow pond next to the river.  And Buggy was running full speed to get a stick.  There were a couple of ducks at the other end of the pond doing the spring mating ritual, but he was more interested in a stick.

I guess for a working dog, this must be a vacation for him.  No shotgun, no work.

Like most areas in the west this area was grazed and abused during latter part of the 19th century.  The land recovers and looks natural once again.  However, we do not know what we have lost and how much the landscape has changed.  The San Pedro River landscape has lots of cottonwoods.  But the beavers left prior to 1900 and now with the help of the BLM they are back.  Wonder how this landscape will change in ten years?

We saw a Vermillion Flycatcher on our walk.  A common bird, but unusual for those of us that live in the west.  For binoculars we recommend this Canon Image Stabilized Binoculars.  You will see much more with stabilized binoculars.  You can read the complete review here:  Image Stabilized Binocular write-up.
If you cannot afford these binoculars a simple garage sale tripod will hold regular binoculars steady to see fine detail.

These binoculars are great for star gazing at night and even reading the exit ramp sign.

The San Pedro River area is noted for birdwatching, but there is a lot more going on!

This is the book we use to identify birds.  However, if your not interested in birds there is the Murray Springs Clovis Site, The lehner Mammoth Kill Site, Rock Art Discovery Trail, Fairbank History Site, and the Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate.  

Lots to do an explore in the area.  We will be back next year to continue our exploring.  Here is the link to the BLM web site:  San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

The only downside is that there is no camping allowed, except for backcountry.  It would be nice for BLM to have campground among the 56,000 acres of public land.  There is something magical about dusk and dawn in these areas and the best way to experience it is by campging.  Contact the BLM and tell them you want a camping area!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cave Creek, Portal, Arizona

Backroads Destination--Cave Creek, Portal, Arizona

One of the advantages of working for the Forest Service or the other natural resource agencies is that people tell you about cool places.

A friend went to fire training in Marana, Arizona and then on the weekend drove throughout southeastern Arizona.  He came back and raved about Cave Creek on the Coronado National Forest.

Now Cave Creek has a great reputation as a birding center during the winter months in Arizona.   However, most of this part of Arizona is famous for its birding areas.  Cave Creek is one of the few areas in the United States that you can spot the Elegant Trogon.  Now for me living in the west it is just as exciting to see a “red bird” like a Cardinal or Vermillion Flycatcher.  

This web site has additional information on Cave Creek:  Desert USA.

So if you are into bird watching this is definitely one of those areas to visit. 

This part of Arizona and New Mexico is undergoing a boom in developments catering to amateur astronomers.  There are currently three area developments for folks that would rather have an observatory out their back door instead of a golf course. 

This is what got us to drive here from Benson and take a look around. 

Campgrounds are limited.  There is a nice RV park in the area called Rusty's RV Ranch.  Nice friendly people with big camping spurs.   It is like much of this country out in the wide open. If you want to camp in the Cornado National Forest you need a very small rig or tent.

We had lunch at the Portal General Store.  Hamburger was excellent with fries.  Pass on the Mexican food options.  The store appears to be for sale, so if you ever had a hankering for running a business in the middle of somewhere this could be your opportunity.

The Coronado National Forest has campgrounds up Cave Creek, but they are very small with very small spurs.  Here is the link to their campground site:  Coronado National Forest Campgrounds.  Check for trailer length for the campground.  Most are limited to trailers less than 16 feet!!  The road up Cave Creek is not recommended for vehicles over 41 feet.  We traveled the entire road in our 21 foot Dodge Ram Truck.  Some of those curves were tight in four-wheel drive.  More on this later. 

The road up Cave Creek has overhanging trees probably less than 13 feet high.  If you have a larger trailer scout this road and campgrounds carefully before driving. 

We drove across from Cave Creek to the Chiricahua National Monument.  A friendly Chochise County Deputy Sheriff told us the road was closed halfway up the mountain.  However, as we drove up a sign merely declared that the road was not maintained in winter.  So we pressed on.  I was a little worried about snow closing the road, but we only saw snow on the edge of the road.  I was a little worried about trees blowing down and closing the road with the high winds we had that day.  I was even a little worried about the Forest Service deciding to padlock the road somewhere along the route.  We just kept going and saw only one set of tracks from the past couple of days. 

Pretty soon we were headed downhill and I put the truck into 4wd to better control it on the downhill stretches with washboard.  After a hour or two of driving we finally encountered a road closed sign, but fortunately it was closing the portion we had already driven.

Now on most Forest Service roads the most interesting stuff is in the middle.  On the Cave Creek Road it is at the beginning.   It did help us get back to Benson early, but I think I would wait until the Forest Service officially opens the road before driving it again.

If you are into birding or astronomy you will probably make the trek to Cave Creek sooner or later.  This is an interesting part of Arizona and New Mexico.  Worth the long drive to look around and see part of the west without crowds of people. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson, Arizona

backroads destination--Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson, Arizona

There in the right center of the photograph is the cave entrance.  Now this park has trails, a campground, visitor center and of course the Cave.  The cave was first discovered in 1974 and kept secret until its purchase by the state of Arizona in the late 1980's.  The cave tours opened in the late 1990's.

Now I have been in caves in the west on National Forest land.  Those have tended to be rather mundane caves.  I have not visited any of the major caves managed by the National Park Service.  This cave is worth the visit.  Camera's are no longer allowed on the tours so you will have to cruise the net for photo's of cave features.  Here is the official state park photo page:  Kartchner Caverns Photo's.

The construction of the trail inside the caves is a story in itself.  The trail meets the 1990 wheelchair accessible standards.  There are a series of airlocks and misting areas to maintain the air quality inside the cave and prevent degradation of cave resources.   The cost of the trail system in the cave was 28 MILLION dollars with an additional 4 million for the remainder of the park.  It is an expensive park to maintain and run and so with the realities of government funding in the 21st century pretty stiff admission fees are charged to enter the cave.  You need reservations and the cost for adult is $22.95.   Cave tour information can be found here:  Cave Tours.

If you know somebody in a wheelchair or that has difficulty walking take them on this tour.  Most of the times places like this are not accessible.  The state of Arizona invested lots of money to be sure that everyone could take this tour.  The tour guide makes a big deal about feeling closed in on the tour.  It actually is quite spacious.  I do get claustrophobic, but this tour was just fine.  

You can save some money by buying the Tucson Attractions Savings Passport.  It cost you $15 and gets 2 for 1 admission to many places including the cavern.  So you save $8 dollars, plus get to use the passport in other locations.  In Benson, the only place that sold the Passport was Butterfield RV Resort & Observatory.

The tour is worth taking.  I am use to caves being damp and cold places.  This cave since it is in the desert and takes on the ambiant ground temperature is WARM and damp.  So forget the jacket for the tour.  You won't need it.  Ditch you cotton sweatshirt.  The state is trying to preserve the cave environment and lint from sweatshirts just won't do.  So leave yours behind.  Allow some time for the visitor center.

There is a interpretive display of plants just outside the visitor center.

One tip if this is your first visit to the southwest desert and you want to remember the plants.  Take a picture of the sign and plant with your digital camera.

From then on you will have a record that you can refer to when trying to remember the name of that plant!!

In the desert, virtually everything sticks, bites or otherwise causes pain so be careful where you walk.

People are always afraid of the forests, however, to me the desert has always been way more dangerous than the forests of the west.  The first time I tried walking more than a 1/4 mile in summer told me that the desert is much more dangerous than the forest!

The state park has a 60 unit campground complete with electric and water hook-ups.  There are restrooms with showers and flush toilets!  There is a dump station just outside the campground.  The stay limit is 14 days.  Be sure to read the state park camping information here:  Facilities.

There are great views from the park towards the east.  This following view is sunset, but I suspect the sunrise view from the location is probably worth setting the alarm.  Well,  maybe you can position your camp such that you can view sunrise from you bed.

Kartchner Caverns State Park is worth a stop on your backroads tour.  Expensive, but worth the money for the tour.  
Our next stop will be about the birds and stars as we head for the Coronado National Forest. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fishing the Lower Colorado River

Backroads Information- Fishing the Lower Colorado River

The lower Colorado River has great fishing the Grand Canyon downstream.  At Lake Mead giant stripers cruise the waters providing cheap thrills and great tasting fish. 

When I worked at Lake Mohave the waters from Willow Beach up to the base of Hoover Dam had giant trout in the teens feeding on fish that went through the turbines.  These trout generally measured in the teens, pounds that is rather than inches.  It looks like those days are gone, but I am sure that a few of those fish still survive today.

Lake Mohave also has bass, crappie, and giant carp in addition to the trout.  The surprise for me was the catfish.  Now in most places catfish is a bottom feeder and has a muddy taste reminiscent of the Mississippi River.  At Lake Mohave, the catfish fin in clean, clear water and taste great.  I forgot about fishing for bass or trout.   Those catfish went from the boat to the frying pan in a hurry.

There are plenty of places to fish along the lower Colorado River.  If you're a resident of either California or Arizona just get a state license and a Colorado River stamp and your good to go as they say.

For non-residents it is a bit tougher.  California non-residents fishing licenses are $116.90 for a year and the Colorado River stamp adds another $3.09. 

If you're a winter resident only the Arizona four month license is a deal for 39.75 and includes the trout.  The Colorado River stamp for fishing in California is only $3.00 for a total cost of 42.75 for four months.

Now for the lower Colorado River this is a real deal since you can fish from shore in California or Arizona.  You can also fish the following areas:  Mittry Lake, Senator Wash Reservoir, Squaw Lake, Martinez Lake. 

With a California license you can fish West Pond and the All American Canal. or the Gila Gravity Canal.  

With a Arizona license you can fish the Gila Gravity Canal and Fortuna Pond.   Fortuna Pond has trout and your four month license includes the trout stamp.

So if your tired of golf break out the fishing rods and plan a catfish fish fry!!

If you want FREE fishing spots here is how to find them:  Free Fishing Spots

We have left Phoenix and are headed for Portal, Arizona.  But we have first made a stop at the Escapees Park in Benson, Arizona.  We will spend a few days here and then head for Portal.

Here is a picture of the Andromeda Galaxy taken from Phoenix.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Boondocking, Phoenix, Arizona

We left Yuma and headed for Phoenix, Arizona.  Now as the fifth largest metro area in the United States Phoenix is not exactly known for its boondocking opportunities.  Though there are more of them close to Phoenix than probably any other metro area in the United States.  We landed at a friends house and are boondocking in their backyard.

The objective in Phoenix was to take some astronomical pictures with my new telescope and my friends new mount and camera.  The secondary objective was to get rid of those colds we picked up in Yuma.  Nasty, nasty bug.  It has been years since I had a cold and this one made handwashing an obsession!!  Susie caught it first and passed it on to me!!

Here is my telescope on top of Frank's new mount.

Now the addicting part of Astronomy as a hobby is that it can be as difficult or as simple as you want to make it.  You can just use your eyes, or binoculars, or a telescope, or computers and CCD camera's to take pictures of deep sky objects.

We are still working the bugs out of the mount, camera's and software.  But here is a picture taken through the mount and telescope combination of the Orion Nebula M42.  The pictures you can take through simple camera's these days rival those taken by the largest telescopes in the 1970's.  Technology is a wonderful thing.....most of the time.

So here is the equipment needed for this picture.  The telescope cost $299 from Astronomics.  It is a telescope made for astro-photography.  For a discussion of telescopes for Astronomy please read this posting from last spring.  Telescopes and More.  There are plenty of good, honest telescope dealers throughout the country.  You should buy a telescope through them rather than a department or discount store.

Now the most important part of a telescope is the mount.  This is a excellent quality, Japanese made telescope mount for this size telescope.

Notice that the mount is several times the price of the telescope.  A good quality mount is always more important than the telescope.  Now this mount is expensive because it is computerized and tracks the stars as they move through the sky.

The computer built into the mount will automatically move the telescope to any object in the sky and center it.  There are cheaper computerized mounts that also work well.  This mount is a dandy and you will probably never replace it.

If you are only going to be using your eye.  There are very well made, cheap mounts called Dobsonians with telescope will run somewhere between $300 to $600 dollars.

Next you need a digital single lens reflex camera.  If you already own one of these camera's use it!!  They will work for most beginning efforts and then you can buy a better camera for astronomy when you know exactly what you need.

Right now I would say this is the best "astronomy" camera at a reasonable price.  It is also a well made digital camera for everyday photography.

The final piece in the adapter to mate the camera to the telescope.  This is called the t-ring adapter.  Opteka T-Mount Adapter for Canon EOS Rebel T3i, T3, T2i, T1i, XS, XSi, XTi, XT, 60D, 50D, 40D, 30D, 20D, 7D, 5D, & 1D Digital SLR Cameras

That's it for a $1800 telescope mount or cheaper.  A $300 dollar telescope. A $800 camera.  You can take pictures that rival the professional observatories.  And you can make and view them in seconds. 

If you know kids that are interested in computers and science a computerized telescope mount and camera will provide plenty of challenge and interest.  They might give up those video games.

I got interested in science when my parents announced to me at eight years that they would buy "educational" toys.  Toys that were not educational were my responsibility to buy.  Anyway, several chemistry sets and microscopes, film processing equipment and other "education" toys I finally got a telescope.  The rest is history.  I still have that darkroom equipment, though.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hidden Shores Village, Imperial Dam Road, Arizona

In the same area as Senator Wash and Squaw Creek Campground is Hidden Shores Village.  This RV and summer home development is under permit from the Bureau of Land Management.  The development is right next to Imperial Dam itself.

If the wide open spaces of Senator Wash do not appeal to you or the lack of services at Squaw Creek Campground.  Then maybe Hidden Shores Village is the ticket.

The Village has a pool, small store and restaurant.  There is a boat launch and a small 9-hole par three golf course for guests that is free of charge.  It does appear to be a popular place so getting a place to stay is probably best done sooner than later. Here is the Google Earth view of the place.

You can see how close the sites are next to each other.  But notice the golf course, sandy beach, and boat launch.  Here is the link to Hidden Shores Village

We stopped and had lunch here.  I took a look at the little par 3 golf course.  Rather small, but the price is right.  It is free if you stay here.

There was one other attraction for us.  I noticed on the store and pool area that all the outside lights were shielded.  I asked at the store and the lady said that there are NO lights in the area at night.  So this should be a wonderful place for star-gazing at night and is enough to get my seal of approval.

However, has anybody stayed here that can confirm this statement?  I know that DAM areas tend to be fairly well lighted so while the RV park might be dark, the BOR might have pretty strong lights around the dam.

We intend to come back and stay awhile in this area.  Probably at Senator Wash LTVA, but we might spend sometime at the RV Park for that little golf course and quick and easy access to fishing.
Our next posting will be fishing on the Colorado River.  Things you need to know.  Wish I had known this before we drove down from Washington!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Senator Wash, Imperial Dam, California

Backroads Destination-Senator Wash, Imperial Dam, California

Right  next the Squaw Lake Campground is the Senator Wash Long-Term Visitor Area (LTVA's) managed by the BLM.  I have heard about the LTVA's throughout my professional career and even drove by Quartzite last year.  This year we went to check out the Senator Wash LTVA.

RV'ers can thank their lucky stars that the BLM came up with the concept of LTVA's.  They are unique in the managment of public lands in the United States.  I did get a chance to talk for a long-time with one of the originators of the idea way back in the early 1980's.  It is a special recreation opportunity that is provided by BLM and be sure to thank EVERY BLM employee for the opportunity.  Take care of these lands.  In all the western public lands there is nothing like the Long-Term Visitor Areas.

Here is the official BLM link to the Imperial Dam Long-Term Visitor Area.  I have to laugh when BLM refers to the area ".....campground is approximately 3,500 acres in size,"  I am not sure that I would refer to the Long-Term Visitor Areas as a campground.  To much "official" baggage with that term!! 

Where else can you stay for months for just $180?  But wait, as they say there is more.  How about four lanes of dump stations.  Dumpsters for garbage and potable water.  There is also a campground host on site with maps and other information.  

When you look at the pictures you wonder if this really is a "backroads" destination.  Well, maybe the best way to look at it is a Rainbow Family gathering for those of us of retirement age.  Hopefully, the taxpayers get a better deal from the LTVA's.

The Imperial Dam Long-Term Visitor Area is composed of several units or neighborhoods.  We did see one sign that identified the "official mayor" of the small area.  Yes, the BLM map has Quail Hill, Lonesome Ridge, Kripple Creek, Skunk Hollow, and Hurricane Ridge among others.  If you have a wind generator you might want to check out Hurricane Ridge.  

You should visit a LTVA even if you have no intention of ever camping in one.  The solar and wind generation systems coupled with the RV's shows a determination to make life comfortable in the desert.  You will get lots of ideas for your just plain old camping trips.  Above the lake we had four bars for voice and four bars for data on our Verizon phone.  So even 24 miles from town in the desert you can stay connected.  

There is also a emergency system set-up using CB's with the hosts monitoring channel 12.  I know many people have switch FSR radio's, but it looks like one more reason to keep an old CB radio around. 

LTVA's a different way of camping.  Well, maybe not different way of camping, but a different way of living!  

What a country! 

Be sure to thank the BLM for their outstanding management of these areas every chance you get!!!

Well, if they are Long-Term Visitor Areas it only makes sense that you would have newspaper delivery!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Squaw Lake Campground, Imperial Dam, California & Arizona

Backroads Destination-Squaw Lake Campground, Imperial Dam, California & Arizona

Squaw Lake is a BLM campground and day-use area on the Colorado River.  The BLM  advertises 125 RV sites right on the Colorado River as well as numerous dispersed camping sites in the area.  In addition, the facility includes paved parking, restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic areas, swimming area, and boat launch ramps.

The area is also a day use site.  Fees are $10 a day with a 50% discount for the federal passes.  You can also buy an annual pass for this and other areas for $75.  The camping fee at Squaw Lake is $15 a night with a 50% discount for the federal passes.

The day use site has a host.  And an artifact from the past.  A pay telephone complete with a bench seat for making phone calls!

We were hoping for wide open campground with long spurs fronting the Colorado River for fishing and kayaking.  What we got was a parking lot with 125 parking spaces. Unless you have some sort of floating craft I would probably pass on this campground.   The campground is right next to the Senator Wash Long-Term Visitor Area that we will cover in the next posting.  I would camp up there and head to the lake whenever the mood strikes me.

Here are the rules and regulations for the area from the BLM and here is the link to the official BLM web site on Squaw Lake Campground.

The desert and water is a great combination was we noted earlier in  posts about the eastern Washington desert.  There is a lot less water in the Arizona desert and the BLM and other agencies do charge premium prices for access to water.   The good news is the crowd in the winter is much more sedate and law-abiding than the crowd in the summer.  Having worked in Lake Mead National Recreation Area for the Park Service in the late 1970's that summer crowd does party hard!!  Where did all that energy of youth go??

The hosts in the Senator Wash Area monitor CB channel 12 for emergencies.  Be sure to get an external CB antenna.  Remember it is all about the antenna in radio's.