Snowbirding 2018 Postcards: At Buckskin Mountain State Park

The original plan for my first two days away from the Quartzsite area was to stay in Parker, AZ, at the Bluewater Casino. There’s overnight parking there, as well as a boat ramp and marina. But when I got to Parker on Thursday, I realized that it was the weekend of the big Parker 425 off-road race. I didn’t want to be anywhere near that crazy event so close to the weekend.

So I continued driving up Route 95 in the Arizona side of the river until I reached Buckskin Mountain state park. That’s where I got a campsite in the “cabana” area right on the river. The cabanas are cinderblock structures, open on front and back, with a picnic table inside and a grill outside. You back into a parking space in front of your cabana and use it as part of your site. It’s not perfect, but it does make a nice, easy place to hang out outdoors in the shade. Best of all, there’s a power outlet, so I can enjoy little luxuries like my microwave and don’t have to worry about running down the battery when I watch a DVD at night. And who could complain about a waterfront campsite?

View from my site.

On Friday morning, I took a short hike to a viewpoint overlooking the camp. That’s when I confirmed something I suspected the evening before: I’d been to this campground before. It had been about 10 years ago, when I was still married. My wasband had come with me to a two-day aerial photo gig for the Parker 425. I’d flown the helicopter while he’d driven out with my first camping trailer, a Starcraft tent camper hybrid. We spent the night at Buckskin and he’d complained — what else is new? — about all the retired guys who walked by and tried to chat him up. We’d walked up to that same viewpoint during our short stay. I know that if I looked hard enough in my archives, I’d find the photos I took there.

Buckskin Mountain State Park, from the overlook trail.

Although I’d intended on continuing along the 1-mile loop trail yesterday morning, a cool breeze started up while I was chatting with another camper at the viewpoint bench. I decided to go back to camp and do the longer hike when I was better prepared with water and a sweatshirt if I needed it.

Buckskin is a nice place to stay — if you like camping in campgrounds. There are scheduled activities, such as Friday night campfires, which I attended last night, and Saturday ranger-led hikes, which I’ll join today. There are free DVD rentals and a trading paperback library. There’s also a bookstore/gift shop. The Tuesday ice cream social, which I’ll miss, is probably a real hit with the retirees who stay here. And while it’s a shame the marina store is closed, being the only one using the dock for my boat is kind of nice.

Campfire at the park.

What do you think?