On the way out of the South Mesa LTVA we stopped at the RV dump and trash facility. Of course with all the RVs parked in the desert it is a necessity, but it was amazing to see a 4–station RV dump, 6 trash dumpsters, and 3 water-refill stations. It was crowded and busy, but very efficient as everyone knew what they were doing.
From South Mesa we drove north on US 95 for about 40 miles to a turnoff for the Palm Canyon National Wildlife Refuge. There we found a beautiful area of the desert covered with many more cacti (mostly cholla and some saguaro) than we have seen in a while. It is also home to one of the last stands of desert palm in Arizona. It is believed that these palm lived here during a wetter, cooler age, but now live only in the microclimate of the deep, cool valleys of the rocky mountain.
On the trail we saw evidence of the desert bighorn sheep that inhabit the refuge, but never saw any sheep.
Camping is permitted along the access road to the mountain trail, so we found a spot and plan to stay here for a couple days to wander around in this interesting desert. Unfortunately, rain is expected tonight and tomorrow.
-- Janet (text) and David (photos)