Saturday, December 10, 2011

Arch Canyon and Beyond

Another week, another couple of hikes. On Tuesday Sherri and I set out on the Ajo Mountain Drive to hike up Arch Canyon. The prediction was for wind, but when we left the 5er it was calm. Unfortunately by the time we reached the trail head the wind was howling down the canyon. The top of the arch was our goal for today.
After hiking for 1/2 hour into a 40 mph wind in 45deg. temps we decided that we had enough and turned around, drove down the road to another canyon and the winds were much calmer, The Estes Canyon/Bull Pasture trail has a section that goes up to Ajo Mountain which we had hiked a week earlier. We had not hiked in Estes Canyon and with the recent rains it is very green. This is a shot up Estes Canyon:
A barrel cactus soon to bloom.
It was not the hike we had planned, but it turned out to be a great day and Arch Canyon will still be there when the winds aren't blowing.
The Jims and a new volunteer were interested in hiking to the top of Mount Ajo. The Jims are leaving soon and with a little persuasion we set Thursday as our day. The winds were strong on Wednesday, but Thursday morning was calm and cool at the trail head. Jim the campground host who has volunteered here for many years is on the left. Jim is a fee colector from Portland Oregon is in the center, and Brian a ten year full-time RVer is on the right. Brian is a fellow interpreter.
It was a gorgeous day and after an hour we had shed most of our layers. We came across some ice which had formed at the base of some plants over night. The ice looked like cotton and we had to feel it to believe that it was really ice.
Campground Jim is very knowledgeable about Organ Pipe so we took our time talking about park history, the flora and fauna. We made it to the top, remember from last week's post that only 100 or so hikers make it to the top each year and here I was twice in 11 days, we relaxed, ate and enjoyed the views.
The hike down is the tough part and we did have a couple of slips and falls, but no injuries. Fee Jim negotiates the rock on the way down.
The few that hike to the top each year are proud of the accomplishment and are rewarded with fabulous views and memories of a great hike. Sherri covered the Visitor Center while I was off hiking, I owe her one.
Today is an openhouse at the visitor center so we are planning on a busy day. Tomorrow we are heading to Sonoyta, Mexico after work for Our Lady of Guadalupe festivities. There is a pilgimige to the church in the evening with food and music, then a Mass at 11:00pm. We will need to leave before Mass since the border crossing closes from 12:00am - 6:00am. Janet, who runs the visitor center gift shop will be our host, she lives in both Lukeville AZ and Sonoyta. It should be an interesting evening and I will blog about it next week.
I will finish this week with another sunrise photo taken while out walking Ryder.


  1. Love to hear about your hikes and see the beautiful sunsets.


  2. Great Post. So nice that you have access to the experienced volunteers. You are sure to learn so much during your time there.

    Beautiful photos!!