If you feel the urge for a remote getaway, then the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is for you Located pretty much on the road to nowhere, between Yuma and Quartzite, in Arizona, Kofa offers seclusion, desert solitude, hiking, wildlife, and the history of a miner’s past.

We arrive at dusk watching shadows move up the mountains facing west. At dawn, the fiery sunrise tips-off the hillside. A hummingbird hovers over the kitchen space, and is not interested in the breakfast skillet. He moves along.

I wish he didn’t.

Our friends arrive in the morning too, and I admit, while loved, would the solitude of yesterday be a memory? And I know better because they are here for the same reason.

We are camped at the entrance to the canyon and enjoy a walk in. There are rumors of Big Horn, and the ridgeline we followed showed evidence of their sure footedness.  

The ridged terrain crunches underfoot. It is scattered with pulverized rock and speckled with Teddy Bear Cholla.  Newcomers to the desert quickly learn they are not so cute and cuddly.  I have always called them Arizona snowballs. What do you think?

The inside of a Jumping Cholla is a work of art. But its role in the desert is two-fold. It’s a major food source for desert wildlife, and it’s wooden skeletal system will act as a nurse plant for the tender landscape.

The brittle bush in the desert arroyo/washes show evidence of the recent rains. And a walk along side big horn prints make it hard to turn back. I have an Edward Abbey moment. 

This is the most beautiful place on Earth. There are many such places.- Edward Abbey.

I get it. The solitude you can immerse yourself into, no matter where you are, wakes up the mind. – And the soul and the senses. 

Today it is the desert.

And there is another reason for our visit. The name Kofa is an acronym for King of Arizona, an old mine. The miners at the turn of the century called it the K of A and eventually it stuck as Kofa, for the wilderness area too.

Exploration of the mine was a lesson in Arizona history for us.

And after exploring the mine, which was complete with core samples as if they would return to work in the morning, we discovered the camp, and what appears to a stained glass mosaic on the desert floor.

And remember that message in the bottle I was looking for last week? Maybe I’m not supposed to find a message in a bottle and instead grab the whispers from the mine, and it’s camp to share messages of the past.  

Wind Kisses, Donna

RDP Optimist/Crunch