|If you leave Yuma going north on 4th Avenue and turn onto S24 you will drive through the Quechan Indian Nation. We did just that yesterday and our destination was the Picacho State Rec. Area at the Colorado River. Ever since we have been visiting that place 7 years ago we fell in love with the place. The quiet serenity, the river, the small birds sitting in the high grass, the rustling of brightly colored fall leaves in the cottonwood trees --- it all ads up to the special feeling I get there. |
Reinhold and Jenny had left their rig along the road down to Algodones,MEX, from where we picked them up for the trip.
Eventually the S24 runs off to the east, but we kept going straight ahead leaving the pavement behind us.
The first 8-10miles on that unpaved road was washboard. We slowed to 15mph, trying to minimize the rattling throughout the van. Once we were got close to the mountains the washboard stopped and the road turned more into a normal gravel road. There are some bad parts and some better ones, but soon enough we forgot to think of the road as the scenery turned into a most
wonderful mountain landscape. This IS the south-west as you won’t find it any nicer anywhere. Our German guests jumped out, taking pictures and I followed them.
We paid the entry fee of $5 at the self-registration before we finally got down to the river. There it was, deep blue and embedded in lush green vegetation – the beautiful Colorado River. The area boasts many picnic sites, very clean restrooms and a campground with downright idyllic sites. Some are shaded by huge salt cedars, others are more in the open.
After some lunching we went for a walk. Picacho was once a thriving busy village, the reason being the mining activity and paddle wheelers were bring supplies into the remote village. However, when the Laguna dam was built it meant the death sentence for Picacho. As ships couldn’t reach the village the supply route over land became too much of an obstacle. When also the mines were running out of water all activity came to a grinding halt.
All buildings disappeared and finally the State of California made it a Rec. area.
The campground has a host and a few rangers are present to watch over the area.
For history buffs a visit to the beautiful cemetery should be a must. The youngest grave is from 1986. The man was born in 1902. Looking at the grave I have to think about what Picacho must have been like in those days. I see the white fence surrounding the cemetery and I feel a deep peace.
This is a sacred place. A place of pristine serenity. Over there, behind that white fence are people who once have walked the ground here, they might have worked the mine, or as a deckshand on a paddle-wheeler. They are still here, where they had their work and where their lives unfolded.
We climbed up on one of the many gravel hills to have a better overlook.
The ride to Picacho is 18 miles of dirt road. While you are driving it the thought of turning back might hit you. Don’t do it! It’s well worth it.
Riding into the sunset just like a coupla of oldtime cowboys. Difference is: We are on Interstate 8. Before we went there we stopped at Date Gardens for a Date Shake.
Thanks for ridin’ along here!