Camping in a Shoot Out


We noticed some people target shooting as we looked for a camping spot in  Arizona’s Table Mesa BLM Recreation Area.  Unlike other BLM camping we’ve used, these primitive campsites were grouped which seemed a good idea to prevent bullet riddled campers.  I could almost smell the testosterone wafting off rough and ready campsites and wicked rigs.  Between that and the steady barrage of gunfire, we weren’t sure we’d stay long.  If our poor dog had had a vote, we wouldn’t have stayed at all.

The sunset was killer, but the firing continued far into the night.  Bullets rattled in bursts, some pinged off heavy metal, some boomed like canon.  The money expended in ammo that evening could have financed several wedding receptions.  Explosions resumed bright and early, but the ATV trails held us with great views and a river crossing.

Then I discovered the Black Canyon Trail  right behind our camper.  Though BLM has shoehorned a lot of recreation into a smallish area, the trail meanders through gulches and over hills, just far enough from the commotion to feel secluded but not vulnerably alone.  Table Mesa is definitely not for everyone, but I won’t complain about going back.


About breathtakebyways

Ann Williams’ travel articles have appeared in publications all over the country including The Washington Post, Roads to Adventure, and Jack and Jill. Between researching and writing books, she specializes in creative lectures.

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