We’d packed as if we're heading on an arctic expedition, but what would you expect from a couple of Arizonans. Instead, the night was a downright pleasant 50 something degrees Fahrenheit.
Coffee, eggs and bacon for breakfast. Steering old Tonto with aired down tires and no power steering made for a good workout. First off we headed up a side canyon I’d been meaning to explore. I knew there were some good petroglyphs so I had to see them for myself.
At this point in the trip Tonto was a pig. 30 Gallons of fuel, 9 gallons of water, and too much fire wood meant that I was giving the new suspension a real test. The trail wasn’t hard, but it was tight and I had to remember that not only did I have smaller tires and therefore less ground clearance than Goose (Our newer Land Cruiser FZJ80) I also had U-bolts and mounts hanging down even further. After one good hit on a rock I had no trouble remembering the rest of the trip.
The petroglyphs were impressive. Many images looked familiar to what I’d seen before in the southwest and others were unique. I found myself wondering about all of the different generations of traveler to have left their mark on this spot. "Is that a man with a cowboy hat and gun? Did the Native Americans record what must have been their first sight of such a human?"
It was interesting to see the writing of different travelers from over the years. The 1800's and the early 1900's included. It was a brutal area to be sure and the tiny natural spring nearby would have been the only hope of survival during the dry months.
At the top of a nearby peak we saw what looked like a nice ledge to build a kiva and hiked up to it. There may have once been some evidence of Native Americans using it, but now only the elusive Bighorn Sheep left sign behind.
We kept moving along as we had a lot of ground to cover. We headed onto a section of trail appropriately named the hogs back which would take us further south and further from people.
Kelsey did a great job driving down it as I tried not to crash our drone. She enjoyed watching me try not to fall while carrying the controller and drone down after her.
From here we kept heading south until we were at the border of the KOFA wildlife preserve. Just before entering there is an area called Livingston Hills. It’s got a few mines and the modern day Livingstons even have a nice swath of private property with a small ranch on it nestled on all sides by the wildlife refuge. Not a bad spot to call home. Until it’s 115f in July anyway.
If you do enough research you'll find that this area is believed to have a lot of gold still left in the ground. It's enough to make you consider staking a claim.
We took a trail right into the heart of Kofa that I’d somehow overlooked on other trips. I was hoping that meant others did as well. It's this random dead end trails than most people overlook, assuming that they aren't worth the time. We got to the dead end trail and decided to hike a bit further. About a mile up the wash was a higher tank and a dam that looked to be from the late 1800's and there was a good amount of water in it. Considering we haven’t had rain in over 100 days that’s impressive.
Within the immediate area of the tank the canyon bustled with life. Many different types of birds were swooping in and out, daring to take a quick drink before rushing back to their perch. They seemed to be eyeing us and wondering what we were and whether we'd lunge at them if given the chance.
In this canyon the temperature was a good 10 to 15 degrees cooler that outside in the flat country. We decided this would make for a great campsite so we called it a day just before sunset. We got some good coals going, set up our bbq grate on rocks and put on a big tri-tip steak.
It had been a long day of seesawing the steering wheel in low range and we were exhausted, or so I thought. Tomorrow we had a lot more ground to cover if we were going to make it back to Phoenix by Monday.