Monday, February 27, 2017

Buenos Aires and beyond

That would be Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in south eastern Arizona. 


I had been camping there for a few days, enjoying the novelty of grass and thicker vegetation after the somewhat sparser areas of desert.

Ernie & Deb and their dog Moki joined me for a bit and we hiked and explored some of the trails in the area.


Being close to the border, it is a busy area for undocumented travelers on foot.  We found this water station marked by a flag about 1/4 mile down a side road.  Not sure if it was placed there by border patrol, the refuge, or some other group?


Yep, there’s agua in there all right!


Ernie & Deb departed back north for Tucson, and Hailey and I were on our own again, just in time for the air show!  There were occasional fly-bys of border patrol helicopters, and a few high flying jets, but on this day there were a couple of A-10’s and what I assume are blackhawk helicopters that were doing slow, low level circuits in the area.  I was able to pull out my camera and take a few shots before they departed again.


Even got a wave from the pilot of one of them!image

Meanwhile back in camp, I was curious what type of wildlife might be inhabiting these mounds of dirt with multiple holes in them.  I guess I should have been paying more attention back at the reserve HQ, as it might have been explained there.  In any case, I put my camera out one night to see what might be around.

Here’s the daylight view of the dens.


And here’s what showed up at night.  At first I had no idea what type of creature this was (I was hoping for a coatimundi), but a bit of research showed that the skunks down here have distinctly different colouring than the ones back home.  I suspect the skunk was just as curious about the contents of the den as I was?


When it was time to leave, we headed east through Arivaca along the very twisty turny scenic road and out to I-19.

We headed south towards the border then turned off on Ruby Road out to Pena Blanca lake.  We found an overnight spot not too far past the end of the pavement.  The scenery in the area is quite unique and spectacular, but it seems the camera did not document it this time ;-(.  In spite of the great scenery, the camping options did not overly impress me, so next day it was back in to Nogales to regroup and restock the pantry.

I couldn’t resist taking a few photos of what was for sale at Home Depot!  Pretty sure the stores back home have snowblowers and shovels on sale!


I think this might be my first occasion of urban boondocking this trip, but there is a nice little dead end road behind the Home Depot in Nogales that backs onto brush land, and it served well as a place to spend the night.  How often can you find a place where you can pick up free wi-fi and still hear the coyotes howling close by at night?

I’d passed through Patagonia several years ago, but did not have time to investigate the camping options in the area.

As it turns out, the Bayfield Bunch may have been checking out the town of Patagonia at the same time I was …

So this time, we headed out down Harshaw road to see what we could find.  The road goes in and out of national forest land.  We found a nice spot near ghost town of Harshaw about 2km past the end of the paved area.


After reading the Bayfield Bunch blog, I sent them a note, and sure enough they were able to find me and paid a nice visit.  We have had several close misses this year, but finally connected this time.  We wandered around the old cemetery, and exchanged ‘intelligence’ on camp spots and scenic drives.  You can read all about it on their blog!

For a change, the blog is right up to date!


  1. Those are great shots of the A-10's and helicopters. And a wave too. Sorry we missed talking to Hailey and we forgot to go look at the old Harshaw school house too. Nice seeing you Ivan and all the best to you and Hailey.

  2. Great pictures Ivan! Too bad we left before the military airshow! You saw a Kara Kara! I've been looking to see one of those and a desert tortoise since we got down here! Lucky!

  3. Love the cameo of the spotted skunk!

  4. Glad you got together with Al and Kelly.