Yuma, Arizona is 70 miles south of Quartzsite. A friend suggested I check out Fortuna Pond, a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) camping area a few miles northeast of Yuma.
Thanks to the Colorado River and an extensive system of aqueducts and levees, that area grows a huge amount of the vegetables feeding America. It is amazing to see what water can do to an arid, barren and unproductive region. I saw acre upon acre of kale, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, lime orchards and alfalfa (for hay) lush and bright green, right next to a brown, cactus-filled field. Numerous busses could be seen, having brought in the dozens of workers needed to plant and harvest some crops…back-breaking work I’m sure!
Even though camping at Fortuna Pond was not my cup o’ tea (too crowded and close together) it was a nice change of pace to see the sparkling water, ducks, herons and aquatic plant life among other things.
The U.S. 95 highway provided a direct north-south route for this short trip. It took us past the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (over 650,000 acres), the United States Army weapons testing range, and the General Motors Yuma Proving Ground, although very little could be seen from the highway except beautiful mountains and desert. Be sure to fill your tank and pack a lunch, since there is no fuel, food or lodging along the way!