Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I'm tempted to keep this place a secret

In October, as Lesa, Lou and I drove highway 85 north from Gila Bend, I noticed a sign for Buckeye Hills Regional Park.

"Hmmm, what's that about?"

Then, a few days ago, I searched Campendium for a free campsite near Phoenix where I could stay a night to break up the drive to Roosevelt Lake.

"Oh, look! Buckeye Hills Regional Park. With excellent reviews."

So, here I am.

The road in is paved until just past the sheriff's training center and firing rang, but the unpaved road is in very good shape.

I thought the park would be crowded, given its proximity to Phoenix, and the fact that it's snowbird season. But it's almost deserted. A pickup & camper, two Class A's, a family of tent campers and me.

There are tables, shelters, barbecues and trash barrels set back from the road. There are no classic campsites, no pads, no hookups. It's more like a picnic ground, with camping. That makes me think the park is more crowded with day-use folks on weekends and holidays. There's another road, without tables, shelters and such, that probably doesn't get picnickers.

Besides the hills implied by the name of the park, there are flat areas with a naturally growing green ground cover I hadn't seen before in the Southwest. It's a very pleasant break from the rock and sand I've been living in.

There have been a couple of visits from low flying military jets, and there's occasional gunfire at the firing range, but it's mostly very quiet. The light pollution from the Phoenix metro area (about 25 miles away) is minimal.

So, if you need to be near Phoenix, or if you're on your way to or from Puerto PeƱasco/Organ Pipe Cactus National Park/Why/Ajo, I recommend Buckeye Hills Regional Park. But, shhhhh, don't tell everyone.

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