The Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range for Christmas…

We left Picacho with our friends Daphne and Charlie and headed to Gila Bend, Arizona,  where we fuelled up and ensured our propane was full as well. Then we headed down to Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Centre in Ajo to get permits to go to the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range to boondock. The process involves watching a video that explains all the hazards of the range and filling out a questionnaire that affirms that you understand it could be dangerous and they are not responsible for your safety. The ranger told us of some cool places to camp and hike.

BGAFR - gate 9 camping

On our way to the first camp about a mile inside the gate 9 entrance, we made the mandatory call to let officials know we were camping in the range and find out if there were any closed areas – we were fine to go in.

After dinner we discussed how in our next camp we can park in positions so both campers would have unobstructed views.

BGAFR - from gate 9 cool hike at sunset

We went on a hike.

BGAFR - from gate 9 our first boondock view

BGAFR -  gate 9 Ocatillo and Saguaro looking at camp


BGAFR -  groundhog

With a little critter hanging about, wondering about our commotion – he came out to check us out.

BGAFR -  gate 15 bullet

We found a large bullet, and like the instructions say, we left it undisturbed.

BGAFR -  gate 9 pottery chard

We also found this chard of what looked like pottery…and again…do not disturb.

BGAFR -  gate 9 view

The view as the sun goes down and the temperature drop are interesting.

BGAFR -  gate 9 hole in a rock


That night, the Air Force conducted exercises overhead and we were treated to flares and dogfights and planes circling the area. Great fun and they were far enough out that we weren’t in any danger.

After the second night, we left and headed for gate 15 and a 7 mile drive to Hat Mountain.

BGAFR - gate 15 hat mountain

BGAFR - one of the roads

One of the very rough roads we travelled.

BGAFR -  gate 15 roadway marker


This road was much rougher than the last one and I averaged about 5 miles an hour to get to our secluded campsite with fabulous views.


BGAFR - gate 15 campsite

Our selfie at the beginning of a nature hike.

BGAFR - Linda and Pierre selfie

BGAFR -  desert animails millipede skin

At the beginning, I thought this was a piece of plastic that usually goes around wires. Then…

BGAFR -  desert animals millipede

BGAFR -  desert cactus unknown

BGAFR -  desert cholla fruit

BGAFR - gate 15 cool Cholla tree with Ocatillo in the back

BGAFR -  desert animals snake

Find the little snake…lucky it wasn’t a rattler as we almost stepped on it.

BGAFR - deset plant with yellow flower


BGAFR - desert foliage with yellow flower

The headless cactus…

BGAFR -  gate 15 broken Saguaro

Our days were filled with a morning hike, lunch, an afternoon hike, if possible a nap then  dinner. By then it was bedtime.

BGAFR -  gate 15 fancy Saguaro with Cholla in the pic

BGAFR -  gate 15 campground sunset

More hikes…

BGAFR -  gate 15 more desert

BGAFR -  rock photos

BGAFR - cowboy pierre

We spent Christmas there with a morning campfire celebration on Christmas day.

BGAFR - gate 15 looks like a Saguaro gated community

There was a small cave beyond these two cacti and it made it look like a gated community.

BGAFR -  catus sunset


Then we tried out the awning and found there were some awning issues and the manual came out.

BGAFR - awning lean

I fixed it and then we went on more hikes.

BGAFR -  gate 15 hike photo

Seven days went by so quickly.

BGAFR -  gate 15 shell case or something

We found this nose cone…looked like people shot it.

BGAFR -  gate 15 sunset panorama

Yet another beautiful sunset…magnificent.

When we had signal we kept checking the weather and found that there was a warm window of opportunity to head north to Canada and Tofino. We decided to leave and head up – through Quartzite next…