Kofa Palm Canyon
Trip Leader: Jay Lawrence
Saturday morning of the Rondy found our merry band heading for the west side of the Kofa National Wildlife Preserve, south of Quartzite. Our intrepid explorers included Bruce Barnett; Leonard, Rebecca and Hannah Friedman; Brett Henrich and me.
The day was rather spectacular. The desert was well watered and the ground flowers were in bloom. Larger plants like Ocotillo, Barrel Cactus and Saguaro were showing signs that they would be blooming soon as well. After some easy navigating on graded dirt roads we found the Kofa Palms information kiosk, paused to soak up some knowledge and then headed east to the palm canyon trailhead.
The first half of the trail was clear and well marked. The second half needed a bit of scouting. The palms turned out to be tucked into higher canyons on the north side of the trail, visible in the deep shadows but challenging to hike to. We stayed on the trail going east until we ran out of canyon, finding another lone palm on the southeast end of the canyon. Definitely a fine morning walk.
Opting to put off lunch until we reached our second destination (since it was so close...), we headed out by vehicle back to the kiosk turn and headed north and east onto what is left of the Kofa Queen Canyon Road.
This leg turned out to be a bit less used, more overgrown and more washed out by flashfloods. Fewer tracks, bigger obstacles and looser sand. Still no problem for any of us except for one minor hitch. When we stopped at our lunch destination, Rebecca was nowhere in sight. Leonard thought she had snagged a ride with Bruce, Hannah said no, Bruce said no. Our head count was one short and everybody knows we are only allowed a 10% loss on any trip. Since there were only six of us, we figured we had better find her. Leonard reversed course and picked her up, still waiting at our last photo stop. He may not hear the end of that episode any time soon but Rebecca was in good spirits and everybody grabbed some shade and some lunch.
I am a map addict and had noticed a tinaja marked Cereus Tank on the topo so we took off on a quarter mile hike to find it and find it we did, full of water with a small concrete dam above it and a game camera watching over it. Two benchmarks were on a ledge a few feet away. There were no game tracks but the ground was so rocky any signs would have been hard to spot.
With that mission accomplished, we headed back to Rondy HQ for a swim and dinner. This time everybody was accounted for and there were no losses or caualties. Good trip!
Great photos: Leonard Friedman. Others: Jay