Saturday, December 11, 2021

An Exciting And A Bit Disappointing Day

 You may know the feeling: You have been visiting in a beautiful place years ago, and suddenly you have the chance to go there again, but when you get there, you notice all the changes that have happened and you feel disappointed. 

Since we started this journey just about one month ago I wanted to go back to Picacho State Recreation Area. It's an 18-mile dirt road starting from Winter Haven, running mainly north to the banks of the Colorado River. There is a camp area, and space for day use. Quite beautiful, and the road to it, even though being a dirt road used to be very drivable for just about any vehicle, maybe except bigger trailers and motor homes. 

It's looking much better than it is. This road has been criticized by many users on TripAdvisor. Most of it is a terrible washboard with deep sandy holes. Users have noticed shredded tires and even a broken axle along the road.

The next 3 pictures are from earlier years showing the beauty of the area

Today, any camper would have fallen apart, if such an attempt would be made. The road is so unbelievably bad and rough that after 5 miles in on it, we decided to turn around. Our van has All-Terrain tires, but I got afraid we could lose stuff from the vehicle if we would continue the remaining 13 miles - and have to go back that way. It just wasn't worth it. A sign recommending 4x4 vehicles should have served us as a warning. That sign has never been there before. While we were still jolting down the road, we met a convoy of fast-going Jeeps. All of them with huge tires. We also saw ATV's of all kind. It is obvious that it is that kind of traffic that has destroyed the road. The off-road people's demand must have been valued higher than regular visitors who came for enjoying the peace and tranquility of nature. So sad. It is a shame that the State of California does not maintain this road.

But, once out if the area, we continued to a better destination. We went to Squaw Lake and the beautiful area of the campground and boat launch. 

Beautiful Squaw Lake

Bea photographing birds.

Right away I noticed the very few campers around, and the boat ramp was totally deserted. We parked close to the ramp and set out chairs for a relaxing time at the water's edge. Home-made sandwiches are always my favorite lunch food and I had coffee as well. Bea did a lot of photographing birds. There were all kind of ducks and she even saw a Great White Egret. As a birder she is eager to add more first sightings to her ever-growing list of species.

This was definitely the highlight of our day.

But eventually we had to move on and our next goal was the Mittry Lake Wildlife Refuge. Along the way we passed the CLOUD MUSEUM. It's a pretty wild-looking collection of Model-T Fords. 

We camped at Mittry Lake many years earlier and wanted to see the place again. It is a dirt road as well, but in much better shape than the one to Picacho. And the scenery is beautiful!

Where our van is parked was our last campground years ago
Since it was Saturday, we saw a lot of human activity here as well. Unfortunately, again it was the noisy off-roaders throwing up the dust. I just have to shake my head about so much stupidity. How can such traffic be permitted in a bird sanctuary???

Eventually, we found our old campsite, but now camping was not permitted there anymore. Instead the administration had made a huge parking area on the other side of the road. Noisy people there as well. Again, so sad.

Looking across the water the peace is still there, but with the traffic on the road, this would be no place for us.

Leaving Mittry Lake Road we ended up in the City of Yuma. Yuma is a buzzling city which has grown a lot over the years. Traffic is terrible here but gas is a lot cheaper here than in California so we had to take advantage of it. A few groceries were also purchased, before we found ourselves heading west on the I-8 again. Made it home 30 minutes before sunset. I whipped up a nice salad with tuna and we had it with fresh toast.

PS.: Remember to visit "SIDEWALK", Bea's blog. She is the photographer behind many of the images you have seen here as well.

1 comment:

  1. You can't go home again because home has ceased to exsist except in the mothballs of memory.


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