Friday, September 12, 2014

Dome Rock - Quartzsite, AZ Sept 6-15, 2014

Hi everyone!  

From the North Vegas repair stop I made it fine down to Quartzsite, AZ  on Saturday, the 6th.  I stopped for provisions, gas, propane -- the "norm" and headed straight to the Dome Rock BLM (Bureau of Land Management) free desert acreage...just west of the town of Quartzsite, which is 125 miles west of Phoenix.  This BLM area is HUGE.  Still being quite warm for most folks (easily over 100*), I have the entire desert to myself.  I plan to be here until the 15th, although one can stay up to 14 days free of charge.  Here's my spot for this 10 the base of Dome Rock:

(It looks level, but it took me almost an hour to actually find a fairly level spot!) on photos to enlarge

Of course, there are no amenities at all...what you see is what you get...but that's what makes it impossible not to appreciate one's surroundings.

Dome Rock, which is part of the 30-mile long Dome Mountain Range, is a rock-hounds dream. Apparently there are many 'collectible' types of rocks here.  I want to learn more about that.  I could be walking on $$$'s!  The white quartz is more than abundant, so it is more than  likely overlooked, but I love it.

It is so prevalent, others have made little quartz shrines...this one is just a few feet from my site:

One of the most sought after minerals here is is quite rare. To learn more about it, follow this link:  All About Sapphirine.  I still probably wouldn't recognize it if I tripped over a big chunk, but it would be fun to find!  There are other rocks/minerals here that I found interesting, but I don't know what they are (yet).  I need one of those miners' hammers!

You may wonder what in the world there is to see at a spot like Dome Rock for 10 days after you've done the "once over" and seen a bunch of rocks, cactus, a few other native plants, and the actual mountains??  On the surface, that would take about 30 seconds.'s all about how you look at things, I guess!

That's Quartzsite, AZ in the valley....

There aren't as many saguaro cactus in this locale as I thought there might be...I've seen many more in other parts of Arizona.  But, nonetheless, the are quite interesting for many reasons.  They don't grow "arms" until they are about 100 years old.  A few here have little arms, but  most are still relatively "young".  By the time a saguaro is 4' tall, its roots have been growing for as many as 55 years.  The roots have special hairs that enable the collection, very quickly, of up to 200 gallons of water during a rainfall.  Quite beneficial as summer monsoon storms usually don't last very long.  At full size, a saguaro can weigh up to 8 tons!  Saguaros are protected by the Native Plant Protection Act.  It is illegal under AZ state law to move or transport any saguaro cactus from public or private land without a permit.  This is primarily due to the 'sprawling' of human takeover of land.

The first couple of days this week were overcast and relatively "cool" (perfect!) so to see it all from a different perspective, I climbed to the highest point of Dome Rock.  I didn't take the obvious path that goes straight up the face (you can see it in the very first photo).  It seemed a bit steep, but that's not why I took another route.  Other trails wind partially around the right side.  I really wanted to see how the area look from that vantage point.  All the trails lead to the same stopping point, tho'.  There are also many trails meandering through the surrounding mountains.  On the way up, I noticed different rocks that I hadn't seen down on the desert floor.

Some photos from the trek up the mountain...

Someone went to a lot of trouble to build a stone "fireplace"...


Almost to the top....

I finally made it to the leveled "summit".  It's not Mount Everest and it doesn't look so high from the straight on photos of the mountain, but once you are up there, it's pretty high!  See if you can spot the's a tiny speck from way up here!

I hung out on my 'perch' for a good 45 minutes or so, just taking it all in.  I mentioned it was overcast...I felt just a few misty raindrops and far in the distance I could see a storm...

so I scurried down the mountain, just in case the rain made it to Dome Rock in full force.  About 10 minutes after getting back 'home', it started raining.  Cats and dogs!  I would definitely classify it as an Arizona monsoon storm.  But there's something about rain in the desert that isn't like rain in the tropics or anywhere else I've ever been.  It is very welcomed!  It is so infrequent, that one might want to try 'rain dances' to see it more often.  It is quite refreshing and simply, a rare event.  It's great to just stand outside and get drenched!  I capture a few photos of the storm...

Wishing another would come along, but only sun, sun and more sun is in the forecast!

So, what is there to love about the desert??  It takes a little getting used to if you have been surrounded by "green" forever, but once you embrace the beauty of its relative starkness and vastness, appreciate the plant life that survives in its harsh conditions, take in all the natural, prehistoric-like elements that can only be found here, immerse yourself in the colorful sunrises and sunsets every day, feel the sun's penetrating, dry warmth, and sleep under a billion stars at night, you can easily fall in  in love with the desert!

Adios from Dome Rock....I'll catch with you next week from.......????  Have a great weekend!



OHHHHHH --- I forgot to mention, I discovered Noah's Arc getting to my site!  LOL!


  1. An amazing viewpoint I've never seen! The photos and narrative are so compelling! Thanks for posting today!!

  2. A wonderful insight into desert life, an understanding of learning to love the new terrain. I love rocks, sooo....!
    For sure, I will never see this in real life, so thank you for this post!

  3. Beautiful. The rain pics are my favorites! For us rural folks surrounded by woods and corn/bean fields, its something to see! Thanks!

  4. This was a wonderful post. Thanks for taking the time to share.