Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Yuma, Imperial and KOFA NWR's

Yuma Crossing is a site in Arizona and California that is significant for its association with transportation and communication across the Colorado River. It connected New Spain and Las Californias in the Spanish Colonial period in [2] and also during the Western expansion of the United States. Features of the Arizona side include the Yuma Quartermaster Depot and Yuma Territorial Prison. Features on the California Side include Fort Yuma[3] which protected the area from 1850 to 1885. (Wikipedia)
The Crossing was the narrowest part of the river for many miles in each direction, and as such was used to traverse back abnd forth as necessary.  As to who owned the Crossing and the right to provide concessionaire services was disputed, violently at times over the decades.
Quartermaster's residence

Lookout tower from the yard of the Territorial Prison; we didn't go in as they wanted to charge us $5 each and we only had 25 minutes left in the day.

Part of the Imperial Canal works that was developed as a part of the Yuma Reclamation, desalination and irrigation system that turned the Yuma Valley into an agriculture mecca.

Spring is right around the corner

End of a beautiful day in the desert

Castle Dome Mountain in the early morning, inside the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge (NWR); The Colorado River is just to the left.

Miss Nancy blazing the Painted Desert Trail (1.3m) inside the Imperial NWR and the commentator as well using the brochure/trail guide.

There are many different colored hills and formations that reflect the many minerals that abound in this part of the desert mountains.

We read where Yuma has 350 days of sunshine every year.  Figures!  We were here on one of those 15 cloudy days.  It rained later in the day and evening (Saturday), a welcome event in these parts.

One of the many rock formations.  Any rock hounds out there have any idea what this is?  We later happened upon an old mine (in KOFA NWR) that carved wulfenite out of the rock.  Not sure what wulfenite is used for but was told it was very valuable at one time.

Be careful walking in here, you can twist an ankle real easy.

The might Colorado River looking north torwads Blythe, CA.  They have a number of concessionaires offering all kinds boat rides, from jet boats to paddlewheels and dinner cruises.

Just an abundance of never ending colors and formations out here in the Imperial NWR, and very rugged.

We attended services on the Yuma Proving Grounds (YPG) Base chapel on Sunday and we stayed on the Base and just took it easy as Nancy's knee was a little tender from the hiking on Saturday.  So, on Monday we were up and at 'em as it would be our last day in Yuma (actually 25m from Yuma proper).  Just outside Yuma is the "bridge to nowhere".  From RoadsideAmerica.com: 
This 800-foot-long suspension bridge spanned the Gila River when it was built in 1929, and was named McPhaul Bridge in honor of Henry Harrison McPhaul, "the only Yuma resident who ever became an Arizona Ranger." But it was considered to be too flimsy for modern traffic, and when a dam was built upstream in 1968 the river was diverted and the highway was rerouted over a much smaller bridge. This ultimately proved unwise, as a flood in 1993 destroyed the new bridge while the Bridge to Nowhere, with its broad span and high clearance, probably would have been just fine.

We walked out and had a look.  The Gila River once flowed under this span, but the big reclamation movement diverted the river in a different direction to aid in the irrigation systems for agriculture advances.  Just across a big veggie field and in sight from this bridge is a little small church building.  We had to go check it out.  It was built by a farmer on the edge of his fields, in honor of his wife. It measures roughly 7 ft. x 12 ft. inside. A sign on the dirt road that leads to the church reads: "Stop, Rest, Worship."

Yours truly getting ready to go inside.

Amen Brother!  Only three pews on each side.  Capacity is 12 people and the preacher.

We then decided to make a trek up to KOFA NWR which is about 40m north on AZ 95 from the the little church building.  But we wanted to see what Martha's Gardens was all about.  It is off highway 95 just up a couple miles from the bridge to no where.  Turns out that Martha owns a very large date palm orchard.  They grow and sell millions of dates every year.  We had us a date shake and bought a pile of dates.  YUM!

Seems all the snowbirds have these little ATVs and dogs of course.  We don't have either, but just might wind with one of these on our return visit next year, Lord willing of couse.  And it won't be a dog, not that we don't love doggies mind you.  Anyone who knows us knows we do love them.  And this little Pug was standing guard in the jitney while Mom & Dad were lapping up a shake.  Oh well, a doggie's work is never finished.

One of the date palm orchards

On the road inside KOFA NWR and on the way to Castle Dome Mountain; pretty rough road in places, but Miss CRV had no problems, but she had to use all four paws on occasion to make it up a couple of inclines.

Castle Dome Mine, where wulfenite was mined.  You could drive Miss CRV in here; It was that large an opening.  By the way, we weren't supposed to be in here as these mines are dangerous, especially the many vertical shafts as they are prone to cave-ins, and they are very deep.

Just outside the mine, an old rusted out shell of a truck, and some piles of low grade ore deposits.  There many large piles of this stuff all around.  Along with wulfenite, copper and lead ores were also mined all along the Colorado, including here at Castle Dome.

A better view of Castle Dome today as there was no clouds.

Part of the KOFA Mountains

Yours truly at Castle Dome Mine entrance

Well it's Tuesday and moving day.  One would need spend a month here, at least, to see everything this area has to offer.  After our stay in Goodyear/Scottsdale in March, who knows where we'll wind up.  We do know that it starts getting real warm here real soon.  I have many other photos and they all can be viewed at our Picasa webite: https://picasaweb.google.com/home
 So, until the next time, from Scottsdale, Joe & Nancy