February 24, 2017
While I was in Ajo I learned about a super bloom of Mexican Gold Poppies that was going on a few miles up the road, in the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range.
This was one of the first of many spectacular super blooms to happen in the southwest in the spring of 2017.
In order to have permission to go into Area B, a visitor had to go to the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and watch a video that explained how the Air Force used the area, and how to recognize unexploded bombs and other weaponry, and what to do if you spotted one. After watching the video, I had to sign a waiver, and show proof of residency, and was then issued a map with a code to the locked gate, and a pass. One pass I had to keep on me, and one had to be displayed on my dashboard.
The other requirement was that I had to call a 1-800 number at the Air Force when I went in, to let them know I was there, and call them again when I left the area. I was also told to call a friend or relative and let them know about my trip in and out of Area B. You can download a brochure about the regulations for visiting this area here: Barry M. Goldwater Visitor Guide and Map.
As I was driving along the highway to get to my gate, I saw that the Air Force was dropping bombs on the west side of highway 85, and immediately understood why a visitor is not allowed in any of these areas without calling in first.
The lady who told me about the super bloom said I had to go in at least five miles before the flowers started to get thick, but I had to go further than that because the two track I was on didn’t have very many places to turn around on, and I didn’t want to drive on the flowers. I finally pulled over at about 11-miles in, in a spot that someone else had already driven on.
I spent a couple of hours enjoying the bloom and the surprising silence of this area. I only saw about two other vehicles and was checked on by an Air Force Patrol Vehicle once.
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This was my last day in the Ajo area, the next morning I visited the farmer’s market at the Plaza in Ajo then decided it was time to move on again. I felt very lucky to have witnessed this super bloom, and I’m really glad I took the time to drive in. There were many more spectacular super blooms in the spring of 2017, but I was nowhere near them. When the one happened in Anza Borrego State Park, I was 500-miles east of that location. This is why we have to grab these opportunities when they arise because we might not get another chance.
I hope you have enjoyed this installment of my travels during the winter of 2016/2017, and hope you’ll continue the journey with me. Please visit the HOME page to find more articles, and feel free to share, sign up and leave a comment. Also please visit my YouTube Channel. Until next time…remember to step outside of your comfort zone as often as possible and watch it grow.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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