Saddle Mountain

Back At/In The Saddle Again! (Escape From Yuma!)

So happy to be back out boondocking in the Arizona desert where there are fewer people and more nature!

After leaving Yuma, we spent a week in a favorite location just an hour or so away – Palm Canyon road in the KOFA Nat’l Wildlife Refuge. We spent over a week here January of last year. The striking KOFA mountains and sprawling desert landscape provided Patricia with endless photographic opportunities. For me, there were hills to summit, washes to explore and geocaches to find! Well, 2 out of those 3 anyway. Very few geocaches in the vicinity and I found those last year.

Refreshed from this return to Palm Canyon, we moved on to a location I have been anxious to show Patricia ever since my “batching” visit a year ago – Saddle Mountain BLM dispersed camping near Tonopah, AZ. The photographic draw is yet another prominent and rugged mountain rising out of the flat sonoran desert with a wide variety of cacti and other vegetation, including wildflowers.

The dispersed camping area is nearly 1000 acres south of the east/west oriented Courthouse road paralleling the nearby I-10 freeway and is accessed by several side roads meandering southward to the foot of the mountain. We found a nice spot to stay on what I consider to be the best road. The site I stayed at last year was taken so we settled for a spot a little closer to the paved Courthouse road. The number of rigs staying in the area ebbs and flows but I estimate it was in the 25 to 35 range. With just under ten different access roads, it wasn’t too hard to find a spot that allowed sufficient “personal space”.

Campsite at Saddle Mountain

Our campsite at Saddle Mountain

My love of hiking, exploring and geocaching was satisfied almost daily. I had already found every geocache within a five mile radius last year but it was nice to see a handful of new ones placed since then. A couple of them proved tough to locate and required three different hiking excursions to finally find. I still left one cache for next time. Maybe. It required a sketchy climb up a rock face and I wasn’t willing to risk life and limb attempting it alone. Next time I will bring someone along who could call 911 when I fall!

Saddle Mountain View

Saddle Mountain View

On days the sky looked promising, Patricia grabbed her camera gear and we headed out across the low slopes seeking great photo compositions.

Because this nomadic life isn’t always about scenic places and freedom to roam, our stay was slightly interrupted by a failing hard drive in Patricia’s older (read six years – ancient, in other words) MacBook Pro. Fortunately, she was able to find a great independent computer professional based in the nearby community of Laveen, AZ on the western edge of Phoenix. The Computer Guy AZ had great Yelp reviews and was willing to drive out 50 plus miles to pick it up for repair! We met halfway instead (at a truck stop) and handed it off to Don for assessment and repair. This felt a little strange but so many great reviews couldn’t be wrong – right? All ended well. She had it back within a few days, fully functional with a brand spanking new hard drive for waaaaay less than the cost of a new computer!

We were enjoying our visit here so much that we stayed the full 14-day limit (plus a couple more, don’t tell!) We even had to break camp at one point and go empty tanks and get potable water. Thankfully, there was a nearby ranch (Saddle Vista Ranch) that was just starting to promote his sewer dump and water services. I think we were one of his first customers! He should do well because he is only ten minutes away and the nearest dump is 30 miles down the freeway.

Mike & Saguaro Cactus

Mike & Saguaro Cactus