Saturday, November 13, 2010

KOFA National Wildlife Refuge

Saguaro Cactus (background) near Crystal Hill

I spent a couple of days with a friend and his wife driving around the King of Arizona (KOFA) National Wildlife Refuge, located south of I-10 (near Quartzsite, AZ) and east of I-95. Crystal Hill is home to a long vein of quartz that runs up the side of the a couple of hills. I couldn't get a good photo to come out, but we spent some time there looking for specimens.

Little Horn Mountains

There wasn't sufficient time to see it all in the time alloted, so I concentrated on the northern part of the Wildlife Refuge. The animals and birds didn't seem to be much concerned with people. There were a lot of desert quail and I would have taken some photos of them but I didn't have a telephoto lens suitable for the purpose.

Palm Canyon -- yes, there are palm trees here. 
They're up in the canyon. 
I took photos but because of shadow, they didn't turn out.

The mountains are mostly Rhyolite, a volcanic rock that is rich in silica. The eruptions in ancient times also sent gold upward and there are veins of quartz bearing gold. The King of Arizona Mine produced tons of gold. There are still active mining ventures in the area.

KOFA Queen Canyon  The canyon road runs due east from the Palm Canyon Road for about 8.5 miles. The road continues beyond that but was closed. The unscrupulous can keep driving on the closed road around a blood colored butte to De Le Osa well, where there are Desert Big Horn Sheep because there's water and seepage from Tunnel Spring (a mine that struck water).
Overgrown Road

The road is overgrown in many places and it's difficult to determine where the road is/was. This is a photo of my friend, Gary, squeezing through an area I just drove through.

Skull Cave

In KOFA Queen Canyon, there is a cave that one may opine had been used by aboriginal people. The rock containing the cave is dome shaped (like a skull) and the area inside the cave is large enough to shelter several people. The roof of the cave is heavily carboned from fires over the years/ages.  There are not many visitors here.

The Scorpion (famous Toyota FJ Cruiser)

The KOFA Cabin can be used by visitors on a first come - first served basis I am pictured here, wearing my Oathkeeper t-shirt. The cabin is very old, made of stone and the iron window shutters can be opened.  We found the cabin clean and well taken care of, but didn't spend the night there.


WoFat said...

Cool. Looks like a good time.

LL said...

WoFat - it's better to be in the middle of nowhere than any other place on Earth.

darlin said...

I thought you were in Hawaii, you're tough to keep up to LL and I wouldn't even attempt to.

Sounds like you had a fabulous day, and you went the extra 8 miles I'm guessing from the photo of the sheep. I love your comment, "it's better to be in the middle of nowhere than any other place on Earth", very well said!

AmandaFienPhotography said...

Looks like you had fun! I especially like the picture of you and the skull cave!

LL said...

The skull cave was something out of a Disneyland thing. The mountains around it reminded me of the Big Thunder Railway at Disneyland. It's amazing what you see once you leave the road less traveled. I'm just biding my time until Griffin is old enough to go with me!!

LL said...

Darlin - Hawaii is SO last week...

darlin said...

LL it's a good thing that I have you to keep me posted on the latest, between paint cans and text books I'd be totally out of touch with what's going on in the world this week.

That's going to be so much fun to take Griffin with you exploring, children are the best company in the world, all big eyed and inquisitive.

Opus #6 said...

I agree, the cave is intriguing. I picture men and women huddled over the fire trying to keep safe, healthy and warm.

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