Saturday, February 18, 2023

Read the Fine Print

Temperatures have been much below normal the last couple of weeks in southern Arizona.

While camped in Ironwood Forest National Monument, we did not hear any rain overnight, because it was falling as – Snow!  Most of it melted on the ground, but quite a bit was on the roof of the rig, which quickly melted in the morning sun, making mud puddles front and rear.


Night time visitor.WGI_0016

This only delayed us a little as we packed up and prepared to move on down the road. We headed further south, onto highway 286, which leads down to the border at Sasabe.

There was quite a group of Border patrol trucks pulled up along the side of the road, and a large bus – which indicated to me that they must have just  apprehended a rather large group.


Further south down the road there was the regular BP checkpoint, but they weren’t interested in us headed south.  We still had to slow down to bounce our way over the speed bumps.


Photos from dash cam …


We entered the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, which would be our home for the next few days.  Camping is free, with the usual 14 day limit, and you must camp in designated camp spots.  But unlike any ‘normal’ campground, these sites are spread out over many miles of primitive roads.  The closest sites might be 100 yards apart, but some might be a mile or more from the nearest neighbour!  My kind of camping SmileIMG_0800IMG_0801

We picked a spot we had scoped out last winter, just for a change of pace.


There were lots of options, as we only saw 2 other campers in the whole area.IMG_0784IMG_0785


Lots of primitive roads lend themselves to biking and hiking, while watching for wildlife.

The refuge was established in 1985 to protect several endangered species.  The land was formerly ranched and there are numerous remnants of that era visible all over the refuge.


Some of the former ranch buildings are still used by the refuge, but some are sadly abandoned relics of the former ranch operations.


This particular ranch facility has been given some modern infrastructure.  There is a solar powered well at this place, with a convenient tap available for thirsty travelers!

It is marked by a blue flag so anyone lost or thirsty knows where they can get  some drinking water.


I think this was a cattle watering trough for the cattle that once roamed here.


Moving right along – one of my pet peeves is signs that don’t really mean what they say …

For example, these signs are posted at refuge entry points and all along the boundaries.


They say that unauthorized entry is prohibited, in other words ‘no trespassing’?  But clearly, it is public land, open to hunters, hikers, campers, bikers, and anyone else that happens by!  Perhaps it is NOT open to undocumented aliens?


In an other area of the refuge, it adjoins Arizona State Trust Land.  It clearly says ‘No Trespassing’.  But, read the ‘fine print’!  Trespassing is just fine – if you are hunting, have permission, or get an easy online permit!


The second sign clearly indicates ‘No Camping’.  Most of us would conclude that that means NO CAMPING!  But that is not the case.  Read the fine print.  It is only illegal to camp ‘within 1/4 mile of a water hole for wildlife or cattle’!

Sure hope my entry to the National Wildlife Refuge is ‘authorized’ or I could be in big trouble Winking smile.

What’s with this unseasonably cold and wet weather?  I mean, it’s not quite like the –22 temps at home, but I’ve had to wear long pants, and socks even, for most of the last few weeks.  That’s not what I signed up for.

( I wonder if Google will publish, or hide this post? )


  1. Anonymous5:57 am

    I've hiked all over Arizona Trust Lands with no problem, but yes they do require an online permit, good for one year. I think the signs are just to get your attention. If you are "legal", you will probably read them. Otherwise it may deter some illegals. I love the signs over the cattle guards that tell bicyclists to be careful. I don't know of anyone who has biked out there!

    1. Well actually, I HAVE biked over quite a few of those remote cattle guards! But I agree that the warning is somewhat redundant after you've braved miles of rocks, mud, washboard, loose sand, and wildlife! At the speed you're traveling, pretty sure the cattle guard won't sneak up on you! Other favourite signs are the ones saying 'pavement ends' when it's just a gated turnoff from the highway, or leading to untracked desert! Or the 'bridge ices first' (in southern Arizona) for an old wooden bridge!

  2. You do find some interesting contradictions.


  3. Signs, signs! Nothing but signs. They ought to make a song about signs. Hopefully, a warmup is coming to a prairie near you.

  4. I like the looks and remoteness of that area you are in. We never did get down that way. In one of your photos of the landscape there is a mountain range on the horizon with a higher knobby looking peak and I think I recognize that peak as the one that is clearly visible when one is heading east on highway 86 from Why Arizona to Tucson. That is really too bad for everybody having the colder southwest weather this winter and the usual big winds to go along with it. Still better than back home for sure. Thanks for the email by the way. Do you ever hear anything from Wandering Willy or how he's doing?? Keep on trucking and say hello to Hailey for me and don't forget to give the next big Saguaro you see a big hug:))

  5. I hereby authorize you to camp wherever your Kitty wants to, no charge$..
    signed B.K. ( Barn Kat)...Up the Columbia on #97.....Meow!