Saturday, February 1, 2014

2/1 McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Maricopa (Phoenix) County has some of the best campgrounds in Arizona.  They are reasonably priced, include electric and water, are well taken care of, and most importantly, are in some of the most scenic spots in this part of Arizona with terrific views from all sites.  In addition, campsites are spread apart so that you get a real feeling of privacy and can enjoy the desert flora and fauna, like the black-tailed rabbit I saw this morning.  All of the parks are sprinkled with the big saguaro cactus. 

Last year, I stayed in Usery Mountain Park, which is east of Phoenix and just north of Mesa, and Lake Pleasant Park, which is on a reservoir northwest of the city.  I am going to return to both of those places next week and the following week, but this week I am in McDowell Park, which is northeast of Scottsdale.  If I run out of places to visit, I can always come back here each year!

I will be taking more photos tomorrow when I go out for a walk, but here are a few "starter" photos:


Based on these photos, you would never know the campground is full, would you? And that we are only three miles from a large suburban city with multi-million dollar homes? 

OK, there are a few more RVs, but not too many.  Lots of room for rabbits and birds and maybe coyotes.

In desert campgrounds, the camp host sites nearly always have metal roofs and even sunscreens to keep the sun from heating them up too much.  Camp hosts are full-time campers who get a free camping spot (usually with full hookups) for volunteer working in a campground.  Some do make minimum wage, but nearly all do it to have a gorgeous place to live for a few months. 
Campground hosts clean up campsites after campers have left and sometimes clean restrooms, answer questions from people coming in, make sure campers do not get too noisy or rowdy, and in general act as low-cost employees for regional, state, and national parks.  Almost every campground I have been in has two or more camp hosts that take turns being on duty.  

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