Up on the ridge at Buenos Aires NWR, southern Arizona

Monday, February 5 (continued)

Roger and Reggie at Buenos Aires NWR, Arivaca, Arizona

The first walk from our new camp is an exciting adventure for the crew!  I can tell by the energy in their steps and the way they hurry from new scent to new scent that they enjoy this exploration very much.

After passing several campsites, we venture down a spur road.

It’s a two-track road that doesn’t receive the maintenance of our camp road.

Apparently this road is a popular trail for wildlife.  

Evidence of their passage through here is all over.  The scat looks like coyote, yet — not to be too graphic — much larger than coyote scat.  Also evident are hoof tracks, lots of them. Small, split hooves.

According to the refuge brochure . . .

“Resident wildlife include mule and white-tailed deer, javelina, pronghorn, and coyotes.”

I’m pretty sure the tracks we find are from javelina aka collared peccary.  The tracks show scurrying..  Deer don’t “scurry.”  Deer go gracefully forward.

On the other hand, javelina and pigs sniff and snortle the ground, moving here and there, and because of that their tracks are jumbled.

Yep, javelina is my guess.

“Hang on a minute, guys.  Let me take another picture of you.”

One of the many things I like about boondocking at the refuge is there isn’t much cholla threatening to inflict pain to paws.  Notice how much healthier this cholla looks contrasted with the cholla at our last camp south of Why, Arizona.

One is more likely to see prickly pear or this cactus (below) that grows under the protective boughs of the mesquite.  Is this barrel cactus? (It has yellow fruit.)

Whatever it is, at the refuge it grows very large, larger than I’ve ever seen it in other locales.  I found one that is four feet tall, over twice the size of this one.

Instead of creosote, ubiquitous to our recent  camps and travels, tall grasses and mesquite trees are the most prevalent vegetation at Buenos Aires NWR.

A pleasant change for us!

On the return walk to camp, play breaks out.

Whenever we turn for home, Roger receives a jolt of happiness which compels him to jump on Reggie.  Of course, Reggie gives it right back to Roger!

The sun is setting.

The boys remind me of my childhood days of summer when the best play was outside, running around on the lawn, laughing with my sister and cousins, until dark chased us inside.

The next photo shows one of the campsites along our road.  Like almost all the sites at the refuge, it is level and very big.

It’s a joy to watch my boys play and run like this!

It’s as if they know bedtime is soon and they don’t want to waste one bit of their remaining energy.  Kind of like licking the last of the pudding out of one’s bowl.

We’ll make it home in time to watch the final blaze of the sunset.

The photo (above) records the moment coyotes begin to yip and howl in the distance. Roger doesn’t bark.  He decides the wiser course is to hurry on home.  Reggie and I are right behind him.

I pop the boys inside the Best Little Trailer.  

While they drink water, eat kibble, and jump into bed, I take a few moments to photograph the sunset and thank God for another day.



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105 Responses to Up on the ridge at Buenos Aires NWR, southern Arizona

  1. tamra says:

    Gorgeous sunset! thank you!

  2. Hello Sue and Crew,
    I’ve birdied at Buenes Aires but we haven’t stayed there in the RV. The pictures are amazing as usual. Hope you and the boys have a quiet and peaceful time on the Refuge.
    That would be a very elongated barrel cactus.

  3. Rochelle in IN says:

    “Snortle” – that word makes me chortle. 😀

  4. Cynthia from San Clemente says:

    In the top 10 again 🙂

  5. Dawn in NC says:

    Ah Sue, I too remember running around outside at sunset, trying to catch fire flies! Those were the days! Love to see the boys jubulient and playing.

    • Deb in SC says:

      I loved catching fire flies as a kid, and with my kids as they grew up! Summertime is the best time!

  6. Cynthia from San Clemente says:

    I think you were probably right Sue about the scat being from javelina. The size of it and also, you mentioned there is prickly pear in the area and apparently they like to eat that. Found this when I googled: http://www.javelinahunter.com/feces.htm

    Reading this blog is like getting little mini-lessons in geography, animal husbandry, history, zoology, meteorology, boon-docking, and a gizillion other things. Much more fun than sitting in a boring classroom!!

    • ReneeG from Idaho says:

      Prickly pear fruit is delicious. When we lived in southern California my parents used to go to the desert or mountains and harvest Nopals – cactus, with thick leather gloves. My father would shave the needles off and my mother would dice and cook the cactus multiple times, draining and replacing the sticky residue liquid each time till the liquid was thin. The fruit or Tuna – is wonderful, each one a slightly different flavor based on its color – orange, yellow, or red.

      • Denise - Richmond VA says:

        Prickly pear margaritas are delicious! 🙂

        • Cynthia from San Clemente says:

          Hmmmm, I’ve seen it at the grocery store but never purchased it. The process described by Renee sounds pretty labor-intensive, but I love the margarita idea. Do you have to cook the prickly pear first for margaritas?

          • ReneeG from Idaho says:

            The only part you have to cook and drain, and repeat is the paddle part. The fruit can be eaten straight from the “vine”.

          • Denise - Richmond VA says:

            Hi, Cynthia,

            I believe the prickly pear cactus margarita was made with bottled juice. Last time I was in Vegas, I tried the ppc margarita….it was on my bucket list. 🙂

  7. Linda Rose, Molly & Midgy Carmichael, Ca says:

    Looks so peaceful there. Those boys are sure having a fun life! Love the sunsets in the desert.

  8. chas anderson says:

    Top 10 again, a miracle.

    We are heading for Organ Pipe next week .Somehow I have managed to miss that area over the years.Will then take a slow trip back home along the gulf to make it home by April.

    Buenos Aires looks like a pretty quiet area.Is there water and a dump there??

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      chas… I don’t know if there’s a dump station around here. Potable water from a spigot can be obtained behind Arivaca Mercantile in Arivaca.

  9. Pauline in Mississippi says:

    Your pictures and writing are so peaceful. The sunset picture is spectacular. I always enjoy pictures of the “boys”
    Hope you enjoy your new camp.
    Love and hugs to you and the crew.

  10. Diann in MT says:

    What a sweet recounting of a lovely day!

  11. Jean in Southaven, MS says:

    I won’t be in the top 10 or even 20, but I will be in there, jostling for a spot too. So pretty in its own way there. I love that photo of the sunset. It looks like honey flowing in a river of gold. Thank you so much for sharing. My sons dog, Sugar, would love to play with your boys. She looks very much like them and plays exactly like them. Our two old dogs just look at her. It
    is hard to tell what they are thinking, but I am think that I would love for her to go outside and run it off. Which is what usually happens. We are in our count down to retirement. April 30 is my husband and I’s last day on the payroll. We won’t be going full time RVers, but that is ok. We will be sometimers. Be safe and enjoy it all.

  12. Judy in East Texas says:

    Hi sue and the boys.
    What a beautiful sunset. Thanks for another wonderful chapter of your story.

    Stay safe out there my friend, Judy

  13. Connie and Lisa, arizonalizards.com says:

    Sue, you have found another beautiful site in the desert. The boys are so lucky to have this exciting life of new smells and experiences. I love watching for animal tracks and scat too. Last night I was grilling bacon and eggs and I saw a coyote track beside the grill table. Hahaha, must come by to lick the table. I’m lucky they didn’t push it over to get the grease tray. Always get a little chuckle from your blog.

  14. Calvin Rittenhouse says:

    This is a nice, restful post. I enjoy these exploration stories. Learning about the Southwest is fun and could be useful one of these days.

    The picture of the boys playing in the sunset is particularly nice, and the last picture of just the sunset is wonderful.

    That picture of the empty campsite intrigues me. Even something as big as a school bus could just pull up and park in that easily.

  15. This is lovely. What a peaceful and beautiful spot. Almost all your camps are places I wish I could visit. Though I don’t think I’d feel safe in a tent at some of them, including this one, not a fan of hearing coyotes when I’m sleeping in a tent! Don’t know why, I suppose they wouldn’t bother me. But still…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dawn…. I understand your feeling about camping in a tent. I wouldn’t camp in a tent in several of the boondocks we’ve enjoyed with the BLT.

  16. Nivrapa in AZ says:

    Sue, you are correct in your identification of the barrel cactus. That is a larger specimen and very elongated but a barrel cactus none-the-less. There are several varieties and some have red flowers but they are not as common. They may also be known as a fish hook cactus for the tough, curved thorns that grow on them.

    Did you know that the barrel cactus is edible? The blossoms can be picked and pickled/preserved or made into a chutney. The yellow fruit that remains after a bloom can be picked and made into a sweet treat using honey, ginger and cinnamon. The fruit also harbors tiny black seeds that resemble chia seeds. The seeds can be dried/roasted and used in breads , ground into flour, or used as a salad topping. The inner flesh of the barrel cactus is made up of 90% water and provided necessary fluids for the traveling native desert people. They would split open the barrel and cut out the flesh and chew on it until all the moisture was gone and nothing but the course fibers were left. With only very rare water sources available, this is how they stayed hydrated. AND if you’re a desert tortoise, the yellow fruit is a delicacy and a favorite food.

    There was a restaurant in the foothills of Tucson that featured unique edible items of the desert on their menu. Things like prickly pear salad, barrel cactus biscuits, cholla root tea, etc. It was a five star restaurant and very popular among the elite class of the area. I never ate there but I think it would have interesting to experience some of those items. Sadly, they didn’t survive the economic crash of about ten years ago and no longer exist.—Audrey

  17. Geri in the FL panhandle! says:

    Love it! Love it! Love it! Is there time limit there? I’m sure there is, but its so nice there! You are right, the foliage is so much nicer there! 💗 the sunset!
    Chucks blood tests all came back good, better than good…perfect! She sent him to get another xray of the lung to see if the pneumonia is finally gone! We should know by next week!

    Rusty….we are thinking of you and sending you healing vibes. Chuck had a stent put in years ago and he is doing great now! You will be back with Piper before you know it.

    Hug the boys from us. We love ya!

  18. The grassland is a nice change of pace from the desert, although I truly love the desert. Be on the lookout for the masked bobwhite quail. It is an endangered species being reintroduced to the refuge. Maybe you will be blessed to see them 😀

    Also Sue, I wanted to inquire if you or any of the blogorinos know of a place in Ajo that will receive packages? I have a few things I need to order from Amazon.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Debra… I’m sorry you didn’t receive any replies. I wish I knew a place in Ajo that receives packages.

      At one time I thought I’d suggest to a few of the business people that they consider offering that service for a small fee. I’ve seen businesses do that in other towns as a way to bring people into their store.

      • Geri in the FL panhandle! says:

        Isn’t there a post office in Ajo that would receive packages if sent General Delivery?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Amazon doesn’t let you choose the shipper. If it’s sent by a carrier other USPS, there’s a high likelihood the package will be returned to Amazon. Happened to me.

      • Thanks Sue, I’ve searched on the internet and didn’t find a place. So just thought I’d throw out the question. Since I’ve been in AZ, I’ve had difficulty locating this service. When I was in Tucson area I used Amazon lockers and that was great. They are only in larger cities though.

    • Ed says:

      I don’t know the name, or if they are still in business, but there was a general store kind of place between Family Dollar and Pizza Hut, across from the Laundromat that offered Fax service a few years ago. Perhaps they would?
      It is also worth a try to ask Olsen’s if they would!

  19. ReneeG from Idaho says:

    “the last of the pudding out of one’s bowl”! This is how I feel at the end of each blog episode, till the next one comes along and fills my bowl again!


  20. Barbara from Camano Island says:

    Hi Sue and felllow blogorinos. I am off to the border with Canada tomorrow to buy a van I found on Craig’s list. Went up and drove it Monday. My heart has been doing summersaults for joy and panic!!! It is a big step for me. I’m 75 and love to camp but when I went out with my tent last year, it was just too much work. Your blog has definitely given me the courage to follow my dream. I have been reading a few other blogs, but yours has magic.

    The van is a 2007 chevy cargo van, light tan, with a beautiful white high top added. There is a bed and some other built out cabinets, nothing special. Can’t wait to put my own touches on it. I like nesting and having something new to “make my own” is exciting.

    I will not be going full time as I live in a cabin my sons own and don’t have added expenses. I am very fortunate in so many ways. Anyway, thank you everyone, and I mean EVERYONE! for helping me follow a dream.

  21. AZ Jim says:

    Weather alert! Do not come to Arizona, the weather is horrible! Today as an example it is 79 with a very light breeze from the east. Terrible. If you are in snow country you are much better off, after all you can track a robber from the scene to his hideout by using tracks. You get to clear your driveway and sidewalk of that precious white stuff. Meanwhile we here in Arizona will have to suffer with an occasional sunburn, but now that you are avoiding us we’ll have less traffic….

    • AZ Jim says:

      Of course I am serious! 🙂

    • Calvin Rittenhouse says:

      Yeah, from here in Ohio (4.5″ snow followed by low teens), you just did that to motivate me.

    • Geri in the FL panhandle! says:

      Here, we had abundant sunshine, 73° and even had the A/C on for a couple of hours! Life is good!

      • Denise - Richmond VA says:

        So happy and glad that Chuck is feeling better! You need your partner in crime to help make your wind chimes! **hugs** 🙂

    • Denise - Richmond VA says:

      Thanks for the chuckle, Jim! 🙂 Your temps sound heavenly! Cold here, with a rainy forecast tomorrow through Tuesday! Please send me some sunshine! Hugs to you and Detta! 🙂

    • Krystina says:

      12″ of the beautiful white stuff here at my house in Vermont. It is suppose to snow mixed with rain for the next 5 days. Oh goodie!!

      • Denise - Richmond VA says:

        Hi, Krystina,

        Be safe when walking, driving, and shoveling. Snow is really pretty…it is the getting around that can make it a headache. Enjoy your snow globe scenery! 🙂

    • Don in Alaska says:

      Hey, Jim…

      How about I check back with you this Aug when it is hot enough to melt the parking lot asphalt?

      I say this – as I prepare to fly out to Texas to see real green grass

      I do miss the winters in Tucson, but not the summers….

    • Diann in MT says:

      HaHa, AZ Jim! Montana natives are encouraged to complain about the climate so as to make sure the tourists don’t get it in their heads to stay! Just sayin’.
      Always enjoy your comments.
      Diann in MT

  22. Such fun to see the boys enjoying their wonderful life on the road – in this case, literally :-))

  23. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Interesting campsite, hope you get to stay awhile. The sunset is just lovely. It is always fun seeing Rog a& Reg playing while they walk along.
    The weather has improved here for a few days, a little warmer slight chance of rain this coming weekend, but warm. Angel loves this kind of weather, she gets friskier on our walks.

  24. Joe in TN says:

    Hi Sue,

    I remember playing with my brother and our friends until way past dark. No IPads, video games, or cable tv. Those were some great days. Thanks for sharing the sunset with us, and enjoy your stay.

  25. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Sue, I just ordered a new Seresto collar for Angel through your site.

  26. Ed says:

    You correctly identified the barrel cactus as others have said. They have also provided a lot of other information about it. The one thing that I did not find is the Barrel Cactus is also called the Compass Cactus because they point south.

    Go take a look at this one again and see if it is not pointing south. It appears to be doing so in an explicit manner because of the shade that the mesquite provides in the summer.

  27. Virginia620 (AL) says:

    Gorgeous sunset!! Put a downpayment on a smallish motorhome. Bought my toad today. Selling behemoth Dodge dually next week. Next week is Mardi Gras, and we always left town to go camping during this week. Bittersweet indeed.

  28. Tesaje says:

    Those 2 dogs seem like a perfect match. Makes me smile.

  29. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Good morning, Sue!

    I love this camp! The BLT is snuggled in its own little patch of beauty! Enjoy the solitude and beautiful surroundings! Thank you for taking us along on your walk!

    Sending you, Reggie, and Roger love and hugs from me and Gracie pup! TGIF! 🙂

  30. Rover Ronda (WA) says:

    So glad the boys feet are not at risk for cactus thorns and free to run around on the long lead. Happy trails!

  31. MB from VA says:

    Lovely….just lovely. And I too have fond memories of playing outside on a summer’s evening. I can hear Mom’s voice now….”Uh, has anyone noticed that it’s DARK outside?”…with a laugh in her voice.

  32. weather says:

    It’s nice to see the differences between vegetation at the refuge and your other recent camps, I can understand your finding it to be a pleasant change. The more golden hues in the grasses, more colorful soil and more plush plant life are a lovely combination.I love desert, in all of it’s forms.

    It’s always a treat for me when you mention your childhood . This post had me remembering our front yard and what was near it. We had lilacs, daffodils and peonies growing around our house and lawn, beside the lawn a garden, and then a hill that led to the pasture where apple trees grew.

    Because I loved watermelon so much (it’s still one of my favorite foods) I tried to grow some by planting seeds. I thought they’d be ready to eat sooner if they didn’t have to wait so long for their roots to go deeply into the soil…so-o, with a four year old’s logic, I put the seeds on a large flat rock and covered them with just a thin layer of dirt, haha! No melons grew, but, it was fun playing in the mud I made while watering my rock 🙂 .

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Such a cute story of your melon-growing experience! Love it! Already at the age of four you showed signs of an analytic mind and a problem-solving disposition.

      Thanks for the enjoyable mini-blog! 🙂

    • ApplegirlNY says:

      Weather, That is the sweetest story. I love it.

  33. rvsueandcrew says:


    Thank you for your positive responses to this post. I enjoyed reading every comment. Yesterday was a full day for me and the crew so I missed being a part of your conversations.

    Congratulations to Barbara and Virginia on the Big Steps they have taken!

    I hope everyone who has been down with the flu is over that nasty bug and able to enjoy the weekend and beyond.

    Thank you, everyone, for blessing my life with your presence here….

    Prayers for Rusty and Piper!

    Bye for now,

  34. Diane Ely says:

    It looks like in one of the photos of the boys, you captured Roger with all four feet off the ground.

  35. ApplegirlNY says:

    Hi Sue, Crew, and Blogorinos. We had to make the sad decision to say goodbye to the last of our critters this week. Sparkie was a beautiful Springer Spaniel. 13 years old. We said goodbye to his brother Blaze early last summer. It’s been one tough year and a half. We said goodbye to beloved family members (my mom and father-in-law) and two well loved dogs. Sometimes I’m just tired of being sad. It’s my nature to be positive and upbeat, and I still am, but the wind has been taken a bit out of my sails this year. Some big holes, that will be filled, I’m sure with others to love. Anyway, I have much for which to be thankful. A wonderful family, home and a faith to sustain me. Blessings abound, even in times of loss. It will be so nice to get to Florida this year. Some time and distance will help with a fresh outlook for spring. Thanks for letting me whine.

    Sue, and blogorinos, you are sunshine in my day. Sometimes I just need to escape, and don’t feel like reaching out to friends or family, and here you all are. Thanks!

    Hey, Lisa and gang in NJ. I answered your question in the last post about our trip south. So, it’s there typos and all. LOL!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re name is Annie! I didn’t know. It fits you, Applegirl. 🙂

      I’m sorry for this latest sadness in your life. Even though we know the inevitable parting will come, it’s still difficult. And sharing your sadness is not whining, not here, not ever!

      Florida will be good for you, I agree. Sun, sand, and waves to soothe your hurt and give you that “fresh outlook.”

      Annie, Annie, Annie… I LOVE it! 🙂

    • weather says:

      Gosh, you have had to say goodbye to a lot of loved ones in a short period of time. My heart goes out to you, thanks for keeping it real with us. May a simply joyful part of your journey soon follow this one and last for a long time. Hugs and blessings to you and yours.

  36. Nice post and photos,,,

    Hi all from 1st day back home from the VAMC LOUISVILLE,,, ok , the Heart Cat found “No” Blockage problems in my System, the only things is that I have a weak heart and a Valve that doesn’t close all the way, a leaky valve, A Fib and I’ve been retaining water, but the meds I’m taking should remedy that and I need to “NOT” STRESS on nothing. I’m trying not to,,

    Other than that, I’m doing ok and Piper is so happy to be at my side once again and doesn’t wish to leave it,, Last night I came home 5 hours after the procedure and slept good for the 1st time in 8 days. Thank you all for your prayers and wishes ,,,, Rusty n Piper

    • JazzLover says:

      That is very good news Rusty. Meds will take care of those things, now as to not letting “stuff” upset you, easier said than done. What I do is ask myself Is this really worth getting all shook up about, and will it matter a month from now? Funny how that seems to put things in perspective. Hope you find something that works for you. Nice to sleep in your own bed. Be good to yourself.

  37. Anita says:

    Wow! Just Wow! for the sunset photo. Thank you!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Anita. The sunset was much more spectacular than in the photo. A few minutes later it was like the sky was aflame. I didn’t even take a photo for this blog because I knew it would look too unreal to be believed.

  38. JazzLover says:

    Love the pictures of the boys playing before bedtime and how they stopped in order when you asked them to hang on so you could take another picture. “Licking the last of the pudding out of one’s bowl”. I’ll be thinking of the boys having fun whenever I do that in the future. Now I’m going have to make pudding tomorrow…smile. Thanks!

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