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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cibola National Wildlife Refuge – a Real Treat

Burrowing Owl
On Monday we pulled in the slides, raised the levelers, hooked up our little Honda Fit. and headed East on I10  and then south on Hwy 78 and River Road to Cibola National Wildlife Refuge. Hal and Lois were in our rear view mirror the entire way.

We first heard about this refuge from Joe and Murlene, a couple who we had first met via our blog and email. We then met in person when they visited us in Glacier last year. They have now been full time RVers for 8 months. Last summer they were volunteer camp hosts at Quartz Falts US Gov Campground near Superior, MT. and now they are volunteering here at Cibola NWR.

As an aside, Joe does some amazing photography. You really need to check his work out here.

Joe - JoAnne - Murlene
Hal - Murlene - Lois - Joe
Our campsite
Originally we had panned on Boondocking on the BLM land across from the Refuge.

But when we arrived at Cibola we learned that Joe had received special permission for both rigs to camp with them in the volunteer area. After we got all set up, they piled us into their truck and took us for a private tour of the refuge. Then… they had us all over to their RV for an amazing Salmon dinner. Wow! To say they have been gracious hosts is an understatement.

Cibola has been an unexpected treat. It is made up of 18,500 acres located on the floodplain of the Lower Colorado River and is an important habitat for migratory birds, waterfowl and resident birds.

Clearly, the refuge is most noted as a birding mecca. Over 240 species of birds use the refuge but it is also home to mule deer, coyote, bobcat, and occasionally, mountain lion, kit and grey fox, and badger. Oh… and a herd of wild burros. About 2000 acres are also farmed.

There is a small but nicely done visitor center/headquarters building and an auto tour route that starts at the headquarters. There are several other roads leading to Hart Mine Marsh, Tie Back Levee, the Island, and Cibola Lake.

Jeeping with Hal and Lois

If you are not a birder – not to worry.  Besides the Colorado River, the surrounding BLM land, Trigo Mountains to the east and Chocolate Mountains to the west offer plenty of other options to keep you busy. We spent Tuesday jeeping into both ranges, exploring old mines and just having a ton of fun.

Tomorrow we head for Borrego Springs and Anza Borrego State Park.

Below are some of the sights from our visit to this special place.

View behind our RV

Sandhill Cranes

Old mine
Bye for now

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