Arizona: Boondocking at Agua Fria National Monument

1/26/2021 After reading and watching everything there is to know about boondocking and hearing about it from fellow travelers, I decided to try it out for a few days to see how I like it. Though I have spent the night in travel centers I really don’t consider that boondocking. This trip was the real thing and was not in the plan.

This was actually the beginning of the end of my trip from Flagstaff that was posted earlier. I mentioned that Agua Fria is a beautiful place to stay in the last post and here is my take on it while I was there.

First, I had to set up camp, which consisted of setting up a table, chair and a small shelter for the toilet. Once the shelter was set up, I placed a bucket with garbage bag liners and a seat to balance myself. Women have different challenges for sure! I added toilet paper and a plastic bag and hung it with a bungee cord. I put hand sanitizer in the pocket and was all set. I even put some Christmas lights around. Keeping the two separate makes a big difference in handling the waste and dealing with the smell. I used composting material in the van and it worked out fine. There was very little smell that was mostly from the composting material. It was pretty windy outside and I had to use all of the stakes I had to secure the shelter, and even that didn’t work because the wind kept twisting the shelter and it kept collapsing. The bucket spilled out the first day and I had to keep cleaning up. Finally, I decided just to throw out the pee in the bushes each time and then I didn’t have to worry about it too much. It was kind of a pain to keep setting up the shelter every time. I moved the shelter in between a couple of bushes and that seemed to help. I just had to keep an eye on it when the wind picked up.

Cooking was about the same as I use because I have two stoves; one propane, one electric. I like my propane stove because it heats up really fast. Again, the wind prevented me from cooking outside and I just used it in the van with plenty of ventilation. Cooking is one of my passions and I need to learn how to make meals that I like and are easy to prepare and clean up. Cleaning up was a big challenge for me because I was washing dishes and pots and and I just didn’t feel organized enough.

Heat was not much of an issue either because I have one of each type of space heater. Ever since I bought the 5 lb. propane tank, life has been much better using my Olympic Wave 3. Aesthetically speaking, it’s like having a mini fireplace and I found it very soothing as well as providing enough heat in the van. This was my main heating unit and worked well with adequate ventilation. I’m very proud of myself for this accomplishment because I really screwed it up last year when I first got it and was figuring out how to use it. Remember, I am a city girl and never set up camp in my life!

I hiked and took photos and basically spent 3 days relaxing. The only thing I can say about the boondocking experience is that if you find a great space, it works out really well. Except for the ATVers and Jeeps, there was no one else around. After 3 days, I was ready to leave because I was getting a little antsy to be back to civilization. I will try for a little longer next time and see how it goes. There are plenty of beautiful spaces nearby and I can’t wait to try them.

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