Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Yuma Proving Grounds and Cibola National Wildlife Refuge


After Ernie and Debbie packed up their dog Moki and headed for the cold northern wilderness (or at least Vegas for starters!), I had to come up with a plan.  After spending a while on the maps and Google earth, I decided to try the 45 miles of gravel connecting Hwy 95 with the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge over on the Colorado River.  This passes directly through the northern area of the military’s Yuma Proving Ground where they test high and low tech weapons and machinery.ProvingGroundEntrance

imageA sign at the entrance said that you must phone for permission and be prepared to provide information on your vehicle, persons, and intentions.  I did so, but the person answering sounded disinterested and said that as long as I stayed on the road and went straight through, nothing else was required.  And they didn’t say I couldn’t take photos …

Everywhere were warning signs.


There were white trucks on many of the small hilltops.


I’m guessing they were laser equipped, but I didn’t hang around long enough to get targeted!IMG_0472

There were villages straight out of Afganistan or Iraq.IMG_0471

I looked for Osama’s house, but didn’t see it!


The road varies a lot on the way across, from fairly wide and fairly well maintained, to well, rather rustic.  Several sections of prime washboard made it interesting and it was dusty throughout, but traffic was very minimal. Nice country; been there, done that, don’t have to do it again!

The ‘entry’ sign on the west side says nothing about phoning, and permits, etc …!


I thought I was seeing wild burro poop along the road – till I spotted these horses hiding in a draw.


Eventually made it out to pavement again (!), and very shortly found the HQ of the Wildlife Refuge.  Checks for armed militants proved negative, so we carried on to the wildlife areas.  IMG_0516IMG_0515

First, there were many gooses.


And ducks.IMG_0479IMG_0478IMG_0476

IMG_2705Leaves were falling along the trail – as in a beautiful ‘fall’ day – in mid January!IMG_2704

Then, out to the fields.



Sandhill cranes were out.IMG_0490IMG_0497IMG_0496

An egret.IMG_0506IMG_0512

And another yodel dog.IMG_0514

We crossed the Colorado again into California, and returned the long way to camp via Blythe.


Next post: My first visit to Mittry Lake.


  1. We left Mittry Lake yesterday. Sorry we missed you!

  2. Interesting drive. Great birding.

  3. We went to Cibola a couple of weeks ago and are going again this weekend. Such a dramatic contrast to everything else in Quartzsite, it is nice to see some trees and water!