Southern Arizona leisure travel van tour – day eight: buenos aires national wildlife refuge

On day eight of our tour we boondocked in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge east of Arivaca and on the border of Mexico. Many of our LTV owners had never wilderness camped before so we took them a little out of their comfort zone to experience something new, hoping to inspire them to unplug from electric and city water once and a while.

MaryAnn and I love boondocking, also known as dry camping, in national forests and on Beau of Land Management (BLM) land. Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is one of our favorite places to camp, it’s close by our home and it’s wilderness. There are designated campsites that are a half a mile or more apart from each other, nothing but peace and quiet.

Since many of our group had never done this kind of camping before, they’re were many questions about the house batteries, solar panels, and generator use.

Buenos Aires is one of those places where if you didn’t bring it with you, then you have to do without it. There are no convenient stores, no gas stations, no sewer or dump stations, nothing but you, your rig, and the wilderness…

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There are plenty of hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities at Buenos Aires.
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We stopped at one of the hiking trails on the way to our campground, this trail had a paved walkway for about a mile.
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Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is a great place for bird watching. We caught a picture of a Vermilion Flycatcher.
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One of my favorite areas of this hike. If this tree could talk I’ll bet it has some amazing stories to tell.
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Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by mountains.
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The view from our campsite.
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The views.
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This is camping at its finest!
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LTV owners – Tony & Maggie and Bill & Marge getting settled in at Buenos Aires.
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Circle the wagons at Buenos Aires. Camping here is free, no reservations required.
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Dirt road access to the camping area.
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Campsites are large enough to accommodate all 12 LTV’s and more.
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This is the only saguaro cactus I have ever seen in Buenos Aires.
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Out for an early morning hike.
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LTV owners – from left: Me, Nathan & Paula Rakestraw hiking in Buenos Aires.
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Some of the energetic people in our group hiking in the early morning or is it better described as speed walking!
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It looks dead and dry. That’s because the Mesquite trees haven’t woke up yet from the cold winter (temperatures in the 30-40’s at night still here) and this is the dry season in southern Arizona.
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Nothing like sitting around the campfire on a cold night in the middle of wilderness. Notice the lights under the rig in the background, the purpose is to discourage pack rats from coming around our LTV’s.
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LTV owners discussing the days adventures on the road.
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Looks rainy, but this time of year the best we can hope for is “virga” this is rain that evaporates before it gets to the ground because the percentage of humidity at ground level this time of year is as low as 5%.
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Our Leisure Travel Van at Buenos Aires.
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The hoods are open to discourage the local pack rats from climbing into the engine block and chewing on wiring.

In southern Arizona and throughout the southwest, pack rats are prevalent. Pack Rats are attracted to our RV’s because the wiring in the engine block are made from soy beans – they eat soy beans. To discourage the pack rat from coming into the engine block we open the hood and turn on lights under and inside the engine block area.

There are two things pack rats and other rodents don’t like – open skies above them, because of predator’s like owls and hawks and lights at night, the dirty rats prefer to lurk in the darkness.

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Our designated campsite. Here in Buenos Aires people just chose what ever site suites them, it’s first come first serve.
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Sunset in the wildlife refuge.
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Beautiful night in the wildlife refuge.
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Can’t resist a picture of southern Arizona sunsets!
Notice the sunsetting on the side of our LTV.
Nightfall is upon us, time for a bonfire!
I know it’s the third time I have shown you our bonfire, you have to admit it looks inviting!
No one else is here for at least a mile!

Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, the best kept secret of southern Arizona! Shhh… let’s keep it that way! Our tour of southern Arizona continues next time at Gilbert Ray County Campground in the Tucson Mountains.

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