If you’re an introvert and looking for paradise, it might just be Fortuna Pond (some places list it as “Lake”) outside of Fortuna and Yuma, Arizona. We spent one night there, and it was heavenly for this water, tree, and bird lover. And I think boondocking might be the answer to the introvert’s question of how to survive RV life.
I must admit that I have been sitting squarely on the struggle bus here lately due to having to be around too many people, too much noise, too many lights (you know, human stuff), etc. for too long without a significant break. Because while I love having full hookups, I do not like most RV parks. In fact, I have yet to meet one that totally works for me. My mental health has been suffering, therefore. I’m stressed out, easy to anger, easy to panic, prone to freak outs and panic attacks, impatient, jumpy, super sensitive to noise, movement, and lights.
To counteract this problem, I doubled up on my meditations each day and started being more mindful about practicing my mindful techniques (funny how that works, huh?). I began making a list simply titled, “What Do I Need?” All these measures are helping. I decided to try something else that might not only soothe my soul but that is also free; I suggested to my partner that we do more boondocking. I like the idea of being away from noise, lots of peeps, and lights for a day or two here and there to keep me in the functioning, contributing adult category (something that was slipping away from me).
So, last night we spent the night at Fortuna Lake. It is listed as a pond in some places. In others, it is listed as a lake. I’m not actually sure if there are two different areas, or if the naming of one area is the issue, but wherever we were (the signs there said “Fortuna Pond”), it was wonderful. It is about 15 minutes outside Yuma, Arizona. And it is an oasis, as far as I am concerned. It was a small body of water surrounded by unmanicured grasses, trees, and shrubs. It is listed as bureau of land management (BLM) land, so there is not a fee to stay there. And you can stay for up to 14 days in a row, according to the BLM rules.
In order to find BLM/boondocking possibilities, I downloaded a free app out of the playstore called FreeRoam (they’re a nonprofit) that I really like. You can set your filters for all kinds of stuff, and it will point out the areas that might work for you. It has info, reviews, and photos of each area. I haven’t tried it for regular RV parks, but I like what it’s showing me for free boondocking possibilities.
Fortuna Pond had all kinds of wildlife, very few peeps, and the only human-made noises were one train that passed, distantly, at night. I also heard approximately three vehicles while we were there. They passed by on the nearby dirt road. And the road to get there does need to be addressed. When you turn off the paved road to get to the pond, you must drive about 2.5 – 3 miles on a dirt and gravel road, most of which is washboard. I am not a fan of washboard roads, but I have to say that road was worth the jiggling to get to such a great spot.
We were there in early May, so it was hot, but that also means fewer peeps. I would recommend going during the week and avoiding weekends and holidays. Fishing is allowed and apparently the lake is stocked on a regular basis with trout, bass, sun perch, catfish, and carp. I have heard other folks have gone swimming in the lake, but we did not. I did see two snakes swimming at dusk, so stay alert. I am not sure of the type of snake (they were too far away to tell), but they were not small. Also, it is my experience from growing up in a hot place with lakes that dusk is a snake’s preferred swim time. So maybe swim but not late in the day? Don’t take my word for it though, do your research.
We have a 27-foot class-C with a toad, and we had no trouble finding several spots we could stay. We chose a spot right on the pond and it was great. I got to listen to birds and frogs – and very few peeps. Perfection. It was sandy, but we had little to no wind, so no dust in the air. And sand is to be expected because Yuma is in the desert. And it was hot that time of the year – again: desert. I have read that the pond can be very busy and crowded during weekends. Indeed, there were several locals there for the fishing as day-users even on a weekday.
We ran our generator for a short time when we first got there around 6pm to cool down the inside of Gordito, but it cooled down nicely outside after dusk. It was the first time on our trip that I got to sleep without my earplugs. I wanted to listen to the night as I slept, and I was not disappointed. We had a new moon, stars, water, bird song that turned into cricket song as it got dark, bats that came out a dusk, and a cool breeze.
It was somewhat buggy (it’s a lake area, after all), but I will let you in on my secret for repelling mosquitos. Take a high-quality garlic supplement. I take them year-round. The high-quality ones can’t be smelled by people, but it can by insects. And apparently, mosquitos don’t like peeps marinated in garlic, because I never have mosquito problems. It will not work if you take one or two before an outing. You have to have taken them for a while, so that you are nice and saturated.
I highly recommend this spot for introverts – and anyone who wants to fish, likes wildlife, and craves peace.