Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Campsites”

One Confused Camper

The new campsite in the daytime. The “trail” is actually a camping loop.

I resupplied in Flagstaff yesterday, and on the return decided to check out the “dispersed camping corridors” in the Cononino National Forest, using the MVUM (Motor Vehicle Use Map). According to the map’s instructions and those on the Internet for that forest:

“When dispersed camping (or “car camping”) on the National Forest, refer to the designated camping corridors shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map. In these designated corridors, visitors may drive their vehicles up to 300 feet from the road to car camp. Also, visitors may park alongside any designated road’s edge and walk to their campsite anywhere on National Forest System lands, except where specifically prohibited as indicated in closure orders. When parking along a designated road, drivers must pull off the travelled portion of the roadway to permit the safe passage of traffic. These rules only affect motor vehicle use. Forest visitors can always hike to campsites at farther distances from the roads.”

Officially, these “corridors” seem to be the only permitted locations to camp, and doing otherwise Read more…

North of Flagstaff

Ahhh, trees, sky, and mountains.

Since I was too busy to post during the Overland Expo West (including nice naps to recover from all the walking around), I’ve been looking through the scores of photos I’ve taken in order to build a post. I’m writing this from a fine campsite about 15 miles north of Flagstaff, a Coconino Forest road called Schultz Pass Road (NF 545), on the opposite side of the highway from the entrance to Sunset Crater National Monument. Getting a cellular data signal in this area can be problematic, but after my cellular data modem came up completely blank, my iPhone was surprisingly happy to provide a working hotspot. Usually, the iPhone is the gimper while the modem is the producer. Go figure.

This is a true forest area, with the campsite itself at 7,490′ elevation. The “heat wave” is apparently over, the daytime temps for the rest of this week expected to be Read more…

Backtrack!

A forecast heatwave moving into Cottonwood, Arizona made me chicken out and climb back to the cooler air of Mingus Mountain yesterday, something like 6.5 miles away, but 16 on the road.  Cooler, but probably not cool. Mingus is more problematic to get accurate temperature forecasts about, so you get what you get. This time, the trip was all climb, so the Mighty Furd burbled its way up the serpentine that is 89A. I’m not the only one who deserted Cottonwood’s 3,500′ elevation, which is expected to hit 90 degrees today and head for the mid-90s until Sunday. My location at 7,300′ should knock that down by perhaps 10 degrees. Of necessity, I’m not conforming to my pre-planned travel itinerary, but the time prior to the Overland Expo consists mainly of mucking about at various unfamiliar sites onroute, their elevations being unknown but certainly not as high as Mingus, so forget it.

This pastoral scene is at the campsite just south of Cottonwood. Moo.

The talk among vanners and RVers is that Cottonwood has some great campsites, but with my interests, I’m just not seeing it at this time of year. The town itself is a great place to Read more…

Mingus Mountain, Ho!

Ahhhh, now THIS is camping. Ground solar is out and to the left. (You can barely see them.)

Mingus Mountain (the name source is uncertain but is from a last name in the late 1800s) is a serious climb, with AZ 89A as its high launching point. 89A itself is a great drive from Prescott, winding and climbing with some exquisite scenery. Midway between Prescott and Cottonwood, the turnoff to FS104 is well-marked, being noted as the Mingus Mountain Recreation Area. I had expected a no-go here, since FS104 is closed a couple of miles in due to a late snow, but not before FS413 branches off to the right. To my relief, 413 has oodles of unoccupied camping sites before it dives back down to where I decided to turn around. No point in going needlessly far, although the dirt road is graded and fairly smooth. The goal is solitude after all, not four-wheeling adventure. No rain is forecast, but there’s no point in needlessly complicating the possibilities. The climb up to reach 413 is also wide and smooth, making this trek a simple drive.

I finally camped on a nice level spot where I have a pretty good shot at lighting up the solar panels, and I deployed the ground panels too, just for good measure. Most sites here offer at least Read more…

Trailmania

One of two branches of a trail heading back to where I’d originally planned to camp. Pretty nice back here. Very pleasant.

I decided to walk the same trail I’d driven last year while attempting to get back to a strange little area I’d scouted on the e-bike and hoped to camp in one day. On foot, I couldn’t get very far in because of the energy-draining meds I’m on, plus the full sun and heat.

I call these The Three Amigos, and have walked past them enough times that I now (quietly) ask, “How ya doin’, boys?” They’re about as tall as I am.

But I did make it just past what had stopped the Intrepid last year, and found another challenge to wonder about. Good thing I went when I did, though. The wind came up after Read more…

3:10 to Wickenburg

Ahead, some nice hills. Off to the right, a mild drop-off into a valley. Above, a beautiful sky.

Since the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was going to be too hot for my tender sensibilities, I decided to stay the one night and the next morning, and then move on to my principal stop at a higher, cooler elevation. I was surprised that the overnight low at 60 degrees felt cold to me, and realized that I’d need to break out a wool blanket or two when I camped in cooler Wickenburg. The warm sweats and flannel sheet weren’t cutting it in the way I’d expected. Maybe it was just me.

I had noticed some guy in a new Toyota pickup wandering up and past my site on the trail to Queen Canyon fairly early in the morning, and was pleased to find him driving past on his return just as I was finally wheeling out in late morning. See, I knew I’d be going back down the trail much too slowly for anyone following, and areas large enough to pull the 27′ Intrepid over are far and few between on this trail. As predicted, he quickly put Read more…

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

This is near Queen Canyon.

And so it begins. Buttoning up the Defiant TT took awhile, so by the time I finally hit the road after a replenishing trip to a supermarket in Yuma, it was 4 o’clock. I had anticipated just such a problem, and drove about an hour to turn in to Palm Canyon Road at the Kofa National Wildlife Preserve. The name Kofa was derived from King of Arizona Mine, one of the principal mines in the area. There are reputed to be bighorn sheep and a unique breed of pronghorn here, as well as one of the few groves of native palm trees. Many level campsites can be found on the right side of Palm Canyon Road, suitable for all types of rigs. The Queen Canyon side-trail is very different in character from the broad dirt road in, and it took another hour to get to my current campsite along it – almost 5 miles.

The Queen Canyon trail in from Palm Canyon Road is a rough one not suitable for Read more…

Change of Pace

A walking path.

A walking path.

I’m temporarily in Columbus, Ohio as a diversion while I wait for the wheels of medical assessment to turn, but here are a few shots of a walking path very close to where I’ve been staying in Indianapolis. As with every other place in the country, the weather has been markedly warmer than usual. In practical terms, you’re out of the hot sun while you’re along this path, but on a hot and humid day, the air is so still and humid that the heat you produce by walking will make you grateful for the invention of air conditioning by the time you get home. In cooler mornings, the path is a rewarding retreat.

A little farther along.

A little farther along.

This path goes along the shoreline of a small lake, so now and then the Read more…

The July 4th Crunch

Early Friday bliss.

Early Friday bliss.

Holiday weekends are a big time for locals, who pack up and then pack into any camping facility around. Rock Cut was no exception. Because of a fully booked park, I had to move a hundred yards into the site that I’d originally reserved for that weekend. It was far from level, but my weird Anderson levelers got the camper into the “acceptable” range when placed under the front tires – even though they sank well into the soft ground. I did have to cheat and run the Furd forward between a BBQ and a picnic table to find less sloped ground. My end of the camping loop was Read more…

Movin’ On Up

Semi-secluded, almost.

Semi-secluded, almost.

I’ve been at Chain-O-Lakes State Park for the maximum two weeks, so a move was required. Rock Cut is quite different, the major items being electricity and higher prices. Many of the sites are fab, while others are badly improvised on slopes that defy leveling spacers. I chose blind by the online map, since I’ve never been there. I assumed that all sites would be roughly the same in usability. When I rolled in a few days ago, I found out that my site was one of the most disastrous in the park. The slope is such that rain will require 4WD and a little tire churning. Going past the bottom of it offers decent leveling, but is in a water collection area. Backing in offers a superb view of the outhouse. It’s also in nearly intimate contact with another site.

I took a look at it and headed back to the check-in booth to ask whether they had the capability/authority to override my online ReserveAmerica reservation. To my surprise, they Read more…

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