Where in the World is KofA Arizona?

By January 11, 2020 January 30th, 2020 Campsites, Excursions

With Kingman Wash and Lake Mead behind us, we charged into the desert, sprung on the idea of hanging with the flocks of snowbirding blue-hairs in the peculiarity that is Quartzsite, AZ.  We drove straight through that monster flea market, and south onto the incredible, 660,000 acre Kofa Wildnerness.  Sure, we missed bingo hour, but instead had a couple days of outstanding scenery and invigorating desert hikes!

It was a long drive day out of the Vegas area and southward, out of desert that basically had no thorns and back into more familiar, pricklier country.  We found a site adjacent to the Wilderness’s entrance and settled in.

That night, the full moon blazed a path skyward up and over the Kofa Mountains.  Named for the King of Arizona Mine that once was a profitable hole-in-the-ground, the boxes would arrive labeled KofA, which eventually gave rise to the place name. Teddy Roosevelt designated this space a wilderness and its unspoiled beauty is evident everywhere.

After nearly six months on the road, we’ve practically run out of things to talk about.  Here I am whispering sweet nothings in Rebecca’s ear.  I am literally saying nothing, sweetly.

Done with our early morning turtle-dove-ing, we set out on a hike up Palm Canyon, and into the heart of the Kofa.  This, the last and only stand of native California Palms in all of Arizona, lay in a near-vertical slot, deep in the canyon’s shadowy recesses.

If we wanted a view of the palms, it was going to take a scramble,  A cut in the rock wall led to a rock tumble that was vertical enough for Denver to wait patiently below.

On the way up, Becca and I took separate chimneys.  Mine dead-ended in a slick-rock wall, but my rock-hopping monkey of a soulmate made it to the palms!  Scraped from all places but this one spot by ancient glaciers, it must have looked like an oasis out of proper places.

With the day dying around us, we stopped for a fat minute in the crisp shade of the rhyolite wall behind us.   We were perched 200 sheer feet above the valley floor, and with the wall opposite closing its shadow curtain, we scrambled down and out.

As we clambered down the canyon wall, I turned to the west and cast a glance across the vast desert pan.

The next morning we loaded the truck and drove miles and miles down a bumpy wash into the Kofa Queen Canyon.  Felt pretty heavenlike with Sirius XM pumping in liberal talk radio and my lady nodding in affirmation.

On the way up, I was struck by the ocotillo pushing out its early pink blooms.  An indicator plan of the Chihuahuan desert, it seemed out of place to this Texas boy next to the Sonoran Cholla.

After hours in 4-lo, it was obvious we weren’t going to be summitting today.  Instead, we stopped by the aptly-named Skull Rock for an MRE lunch and a moment’s repast.  The face was so massive the brave could spend the night in the cave of its mouth.

Above Skull Rock dangled a precipitous balancing boulder that looked so ephemeral I was thinking about moving the truck.  Here’s a shot at the desert we’d rolled up through one of the windows in the rock base.

In lieu of a scramble up the scree to the peak above, we rolled out the astroturf and had a fantastic desert yoga session. I think I saw buzzards circling while we were in corpse pose.

Looking back over my shoulder as we pulled into camp, I was stunned to see dusk’s crimson cloak dragged across the Kofas, to the east.

With the day well-done, Denver’s thoughts turn again to monster naps in the backseat, as by the hitching of our trailer that evening, he knew that more moves were in store for the intrepid trio!