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Imperial Walkers Ahead
Take a short boat ride on the Colorado River and pull up through a cut in the jungle on the Arizona side of the river. Walk across the Refuge Wilderness, enjoying solitude, and talking to the burros who may hiss back at you. The Imperial Refuge Wilderness is there to protect desert tortoises, who come out around late March, and bighorn sheep. It also is home to a number of burros, that have made a network of trails.
Access is by kayak or motorboat. Locate the cut in the tall weeds a little south of Nortons Landing. The cut is only 6 or 8 feet wide, so the GPS track of the official route, or review of aerial photos, is mandatory. Tie up or pull your boat on shore and start following the burro tracks.
As you head up the hill, the trail traverses left along the side of a hogback. At first, it looks like the trail is going off the edge, but the burros know what they are doing as they cut around the hogback. Once past that section, the trail is very easy. The colors and landforms almost look like the wreckage of mining, but I don’t think so. I think it is just “painted desert.”
The route continues northeast, climbing gently, finally arriving at a ridge at the northern boundary of the wilderness. Nothing in this area seems to have an official name. Basically, this trip just is an exploration of the refuge wilderness. Likely you see or hear burros. Possibly you will see desert tortoises, bighorn sheep, or evidence of them. There are beavertail cacti, with their pretty pink flowers in the springtime.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
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