Wednesday, March 24, 2021

2021.03.24 Quartzsite and KOFA , Arizona

    Quartzsite is the most popular place to boondock in the west of the US. Many full timers spend winter season here and every year in January various groups of full time travelers meet to share their experiences and celebrate the lifestyle. The whole town transforms into a huge flea market and you can buy a lot of funky stuff here. It's quite unusual and unique experience.

KOFA National Wildlife Refuge
    The name KOFA comes from the King of Arizona mine located somewhere along the mountain range. Nice and very peaceful boondocking place, but not much to do, except for The Palm Canyon, the most famous attraction in the area. It is the only place in Arizona where native California Fan Palms can be found. The trees grow in a steep, narrow ravine which is in shadow nearly all of the day. Fairly easy hike gets tricky up in the ravine off the main trail, which we of course had to try. Luckily, we have survived.
    The second attraction we found in this area was "Koh-Kopelli Spiral". A spiral labyrinth scraped out of the desert floor, leading to a pile of rocks in the center, along with some trinkets left by people who visited. No one knows who made it, some speculate that it was built by a French artist. The unknown makes it even more interesting. And I have to admit that it was a lot cooler than I expected it to be.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

2021.03.18 Valley of Fire, Nevada

    This was our first visit to The Valley of Fire State Park which is known for its stunning red sandstone rock formations. The impressive landscape glows red for miles and is especially beautiful at sunset. Proximity to Las Vegas makes this park very popular and quite busy. And because we couldn't get a campsite at the park campground, it was unfortunately a fairly short stay. Nonetheless, we really enjoyed hiking through the beautiful and colorful slot canyons, desert vistas, and even a historic movie site where the 1966 Western film The Professionals was shot.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

2021.03.13 Owens Valley and Alabama Hills, CA

    Alabama Hills was on our radar and on my bucket list for a while. Because of the relatively short window you can visit due to the rough climate there, it requires some planning. Now, it is almost spring time, so we decided to give it a try. Lone Pine, a funky little town, is the gateway to Alabama Hills and the Mt. Whitney trail. Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in California and the highest mountain in the lower 48 states at 14,505 feet. The mountain has also become one of the most popular hikes in the state. So popular, that you need to enter a lottery in order to win a permit to hike Mt. Whitney during the summer months. But this is not the reason why we're here. Our main interest is to spend some time at Alabama Hills, the place we know from many impressive pictures of our fellow travelers. The place did not disappoint, it was as beautiful (and as crowded) as we thought it would be.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

2021.03.09 Death Valley National Park, CA

    This was our second visit at this incredible national park. But first, before the park boundary, we made a stop at the "Pads" boondocking place. This is a large dry camping area with several concrete pads that are apparently leftovers from some temporary housing. Many RVers stay here for a day or two before they head to the national park.
    Later, in the valley, we got lucky and were able to secure a spot in a campground at the Furnace Creek Village. By the evening, the camp was completely full. We feel a little bit uneasy with so many people around us but that's the way it is in all national parks these days. Camping became very popular during the Covid pandemic mainly because that's the only thing people can do. And you can already see the impact on the public lands. After three days of hiking we decided to continue our journey to the next destination, Alabama Hills in Owens Valley, CA.

Friday, March 5, 2021

2021.03.05 Mojave National Preserve, CA

    We planned a short stop at Mojave Desert on our way to Death Valley and Alabama Hills. First time, when we passed through this place a few years back, we were not very impressed. This time though, it was a totally different experience. The place was very quiet, almost deserted, just a handful of people at the Hole in the Wall campground. So we have decided to stick around for a few days and explore the area.