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  • Writer's picturekaydee777

Parking at Parker Lake, Arizona

Updated: Mar 11

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When I arrived at my reserved campsite at River Island State Park, on the Colorado River just south of Parker Lake, I decided to sleep in the Red Pony (my Ford Escape) rather than put up my tent. Partly I was all out of energy exhausted, but then too what I had taken for a nice tent site on the river bank (from my reading of the map online when booking), was gravel and parking lot.

I did make good use of the picnic table for a field kitchen, giving me more space in Red Pony. In the absence of any bear warning signs, I wasn't too bothered with my cooler overnighting outside.

Though weather was gloomy for most of my stay, there WAS a sandy beach just down a bank from my parking place.

There WERE palm trees across the water in what I think is California. (A sandy beach and palm trees are all I want for my birthday every year)

Even with the cloud cover, that huge full moon lit the night.

Lights twinkled on the water. This was no dark sky park.

It seemed to take forever to get light enough in the morning for me to go play with ducks and gulls.

Brrrr the water was cold and smelled of marsh and wetland. The scent of soggy duck in the morning! In an overcast dawn twilight it was very beautiful. A million shades of grey and charcoal.

I watched gulls feeding until I got too cold.

Fortunately the campsite has wonderful ablution facilities with plentiful hot water in the showers, though the grassy area I had noted for a potential morning yoga spot turned out to be irrigated in the mornings. That's why it was green grass. Silly me.

Plan B: yoga in the parking lot, continuing the travels of the shwe shwe yoga mat bag.

The campsite setting was also, geographically speaking, very beautiful. It was fully booked with an array of very impressive recreational vehicles, many from northern states, including Alaska and Canada. I am thinking I shared the night with well equipped snowbirds in a rather different economic class from those I saw scattered across the desert around Quartzite and Yuma.

I breakfasted well on slices of my homemade lentil loaf, miso flavoured almond "cheese" spread, avocado, sweet pepper and masala chai.

My neighbors in the parking lot uuuuh....I mean campsite, were mostly slow to rise so it was very peaceful.

Before setting out on the road again, I took a stroll along one of the hiking trails in the park.

It was edged with what I think was flourishing Lycium berlandieri (Wolfberry, a relative of the Chinese Goji berry) with some scattering of flowers and last season's berries still in evidence.

This is the first time I have seen this southwestern native plant growing wild.

Pollinators and hummingbirds were loving the new flowers. My Lycium at the Shala has last year's berries but no leaves right now.

More million shades of grey in foliage on this walk.

Costa Rica it was not (vistas of palm trees and sandy beach notwithstanding) but River Island State Park was an interesting and mostly comfortable bivouac on what is sometimes called Arizona's western riviera (coast).

It was time to pack up the Red Pony and head west into California. I had Bagdad Cafe to find.

Arizona State Parks are completely funded by visitor fees. I can understand why they would focus on infrastructure to maximize RV parking spaces.


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