Robert Witham

Nomadic minimalist, writer, and videographer

Tag: Arizona (page 1 of 6)

Spring in the Desert at Ehrenberg, Arizona

Spring is slowly making its appearance here in the Arizona desert near Ehrenberg. Unfortunately, it looks like I will need to leave for Wyoming before the spring bloom fully arrives.

This video provides a tour of the desert around my campsite in early spring. I hope you enjoy this desert tour.

Change of Plans on the Way to Wyoming

Heading back to Wyoming this early in the spring does not sound like a lot of fun, but I need to make it back by the first of April to register the minivan. The only other option was to drive up this winter and immediately head back to Arizona.

I had planned to leave Saddle Mountain and head up to Cottonwood or Sedona for a few weeks before working my way to Wyoming. An unexpected storm system prompted me to change my plans. The forecast for Sedona was calling for four days of rain and snow, while Ehrenberg was only supposed to have one day of rain. That made Ehrenberg sound rather attractive again!

As is often the case with nomads, plans can and do change rather quickly. The weather is a frequent impetus for these changes. These two videos cover my change of plans and how I consider weather when deciding where to camp.

Camping at Saddle Mountain BLM Area

After spending a few months in the Quartzsite and Ehrenberg, Arizona area, I was beginning to tire of the same views. I needed to meet a friend in Phoenix, and found Saddle Mountain BLM Area just west of Phoenix. The area appears to be increasing in popularity based on online reviews that I read, but still proved to be a wonderfully scenic spot to camp for a week.

I also spent one day hiking around Saddle Mountain. The hike included a few falls on loose volcanic scree, unfortunately, but was worthwhile nonetheless.

These two videos cover my time at Saddle Mountain and the hike.

Visiting Quartzsite, Arizona

Quartzsite is a sleepy little town with a population of less than 4,000 for most of each year. During the winter, however, the population explodes as RVers from across the U.S. and Canada converge in Quartzsite.

Why Quartzsite?

Quartzsite is located in southwest Arizona only 18 miles from California. It is easily accessible via Interstate 10 or Highway 95.

Quartzsite is in the Sonoran Desert. The weather, which can be unbearably hot during summer, is usually rather nice during the winter. Daytime temperatures are usually in the 60s during the coldest months of December and January, though nights can be cold. Most winter days are sunny and warm.

The town is also home to the annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show. In addition to this show, there are multiple vendors scattered across the city. The atmosphere is a lot like a giant carnival.

Where to Stay

While there are a few motels in Quartzsite, most visitors stay in an RV, camper, or van. A few even sleep in tents.

The desert around Quartzsite has numerous opportunities for free, dispersed camping on BLM-managed land. Many visitors head over toward nearby Ehrenberg to camp along either Ehrenberg-Cibola Road or Tom Wells Road. Ehrenberg is about 17 miles west of Quartzsite on Interstate 10, and it is easier to find a spot to camp during the winter.

There are two dispersed camping areas just outside of Quartzsite: Scaddan Wash and Dome Rock Mountain Camping Areas. A 14-day camping limit is strictly enforced at both of these camping areas during the winter months.

Visitors who wish to spend more than two weeks in Quartzsite stay at either the BLM-managed La Posa Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) or a commercial campground.

The LTVA is an 11,400-acre area adjacent to Quartzsite where visitors can camp for up to seven months for only $180. There are a few portable toilets at the LTVA, but utility hookups are not available.

Numerous RV parks and parking areas are located within the town of Quartzsite. Options range from parks with full hookups to “dry dock” camping. Prices are surprisingly affordable, with steep discounts available to visitors who rent space on a monthly or annual basis.


Quartzsite is located at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Highway 95 in southwest Arizona. The town is approximately 125 miles west of Phoenix and 18 miles from the California border.

Don’t Trash Our Public Lands

I have always loved nature. My favorite adolescent activities all involved escaping into the woods to explore, while my career plans pretty much centered around being a modern-day “mountain man.”

It’s probably no surprise then that I spend as much time as possible in nature as an adult. In fact, I spent several years building up a freelance writing business precisely to provide me with the freedom to be able to travel and spend time in amazing places. (Ironically, I now spend most of my time producing video rather than writing, but so go the best laid plans of mice and men.)

Since I spend a lot of time each year traveling and exploring public lands across the western U.S., I perhaps have a different perspective than many people. The sad reality? People are trashing our public lands far faster than the land can heal.

While I have seen this trend in several states, it is definitely more prevalent in the desert areas than in the forests. Why is this? while I have no empirical evidence, my best guess is the prevalent, if misguided, opinion that deserts are wastelands. After all, if an area is already a wasteland, it must be okay to trash it. Right?

Another fellow traveler recently observed that there are three common factors that she has observed that correlate predictably (if not causally) with illegal dumping and littering. Those factors are alcohol, guns, and ATVs/UTVs. That observation is quite precise, in my experience. Note that this is not a slam on responsible users of alcohol, guns, or ATVs/UTVs, but it is still reality. Public lands that are used for alcohol-fueled gatherings, recreational shooting, and off-roading also have the highest incidences of blatant abuse. So, if you are a drinker, shooter, or off-roader, please keep this in mind. Many who share your interests are actively destroying our public lands.

I recently made a new video that shows some of the ridiculous trashing of public lands around Ehrenberg, Arizona where I am currently camping. Please check it out (don’t worry, it’s short), and see if you do not agree that this is a problem that concerns each and every one of us.

To be honest, I am concerned that if this trend continues it may be difficult for me to find unspoiled public lands in my lifetime. As a father and grandfather, however, I am also concerned that my children and grandchildren may find it difficult to enjoy undefiled nature as I have for much of my life.

Please don’t trash our public lands!

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