Monday, May 1, 2017

Picacho Peak and Dateland, AZ

March 2017

After we left Tucson, we spent two nights at Picacho Peak State Park, about halfway between Tucson and Phoenix. The park has 85 camping spots with electricity in three loops, several day use areas, hiking trails, and lots of saguaros -- all at the base of a distinctive peak that has been used as a landmark for travelers “since prehistoric times,” says the park brochure.  

We hiked with and without dogs and explored by car. The area is the site of the westernmost Civil War battle, and a reenactment was held the weekend we left. 

After the state park we spent one night at the Oasis RV Park in Dateland, Arizona, about 135 miles further west. A private RV park, it can't be seen from the highway. It’s clean, well-run, had a pool and -- more importantly for us -- lots of space to walk the dogs.

Our car and always-present-in-case-we-find-some-water kayaks nestled among the saguaro at Arizona's Picacho Peak State Park. People in this area of the country look at us and our boats like we are nuts.
Our camp site at Picacho Peak State Park near Eloy, Arizona. We got the last campsite available for the time frame we needed. It cost $30 a night.
Jim on his way to Picacho Peak. We didn't do the entire hike. It was way too hot for us, so we stuck to short walks. The actual hike to the peak has metal cables along the path  to help you get to the top -- and wearing gloves is advised. The day we arrived a rescue crew had to help a hiker make it back down.
Sun set as seen from our Picacho Peak camp site.
Waiting for the Civil War to start:  If you look closely -- or click on the photo to enlarge -- you can see Civil War reenactment on lookers. On April 15, 1862, a union cavalry patrol from California skirmished with Confederate troops from Texas and three men were killed including the Union leader, Lt.James Barrett. Not sure why the reenactment is done in March.  Too hot in April?  Conflicts with income taxes?  I should have asked.
Union reenactors getting ready for war.  During practice, they pointed their guns, the lieutenant said fire, and the soldiers said "boom." If only.
Brittlebush was in full bloom at the park and all along I-8 from Picacho Peak to Dateland. Brittle bush is a common shrub with silvery gray leaves found all over northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S.  The name comes from the brittleness of its stems.
Our rig at the Oasis Campground in Dateland, Arizona.  The manager met us at the entrance and lead us to this spot.  If you are ever in the middle of nowhere just east of Yuma, it's a great campground.
The Dateland RV park was $25 a night and had a swimming pool, hot tub and club house.  Instead, we walked the dogs. 
There were several pioneer-era buildings at our Dateland RV campground. The one on the right had to be a water tank.  Guessing the other was a home.