On January 24, during the Xscapers Quartzsite 2017 Convergence, we traveled with a large group of our new friends to the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge between Quartzsite and Yuma, Arizona to hike the Palm Canyon Trail.
On our way down the 7 mile graded dirt road to the canyon, we stopped at an enormous spiral labyrinth scraped out of the desert floor. Nobody knows who made it, but it’s been there for years, and it’s obviously maintained. A 60-foot-diameter spiral of gravel has been scraped from the desert floor, leading to a pile of rocks in the center with a likeness of Kokopelli, along with small beads and trinkets left by people who have walked the labyrinth.
Leaving the labyrinth, we drove the rest of the way to the Palm Canyon trailhead, then hiked up a rocky and sometimes steep path into the canyon. After about half a mile, the trail levels out and a wooden sign points to the stand of palms from which the canyon gets its name. The 40 or so fan palms, high above us in a side canyon, are the only native palm trees of any kind in the state of Arizona–all the others that you see in the southern part of the state were brought in by humans.
Although it’s possible to hike further up into the canyon, we chose to stay at that spot to take in the spectacular views of the valley below and the almost-sheer cliffs surrounding us on both sides, before making our way back down to the parking lot where we had started.