Arch Canyon: Illegal Highway?

During our hike in Arch Canyon, we saw a ton of trash throughout an otherwise isolated and pristine area. Most of the trash happened to be ready to eat food with Spanish language labels and black jugs. It was an eye opening experience to be so aware of a very different way from yourself to experience a place.

Trash, Arch CanyonBootie, Arch Canyon

Trash, Arch Canyon

Arch Canyon

Arch Canyon

A couple weekends ago, Forrest, Ezra, and I decided we were going to head up Arch Canyon in Organ Pipe National Monument. We were hoping that we’d be able to find a way up the steep canyon walls to reach the summit of Mt. Ajo and return via Bull Pasture.

Arch Canyon trailhead

Natural Arch

One of the things Forrest remarked upon as we hiked through the canyon was how much it reminded him of Utah (and also how incredibly green everything was!). The canyon was very tight in some places as we made our way up the wash—everything was simply stunning!

Arch Canyon

Arch Canyon

We weren’t able to make it onto Mt. Ajo’s summit ridge; we headed to the east as soon as we thought we could traverse the ridge and were foiled by some areas that looked too sketchy to do without ropes. In retrospect, it may be possible to summit if you stay in the wash proper as long as you can and head more directly for the summit. Despite not reaching the summit, we had an excellent day of hiking, scrambling, and even doing some light climbing.

Arch Canyon

Spring, Arch Canyon

Arch Canyon

Arch Canyon

Ezra climbing in Arch Canyon

View from Arch Canyon

Forrest climbing in Arch Canyon

The summit of Mt. Ajo is visible on the left: (SO CLOSE. Yet SO FAR.)

Mt. Ajo

 

El Camino Del Diablo

Last week we had a really nice rain in the desert so Forrest and I decided that it was a perfect time to go out and drive El Camino Del Diablo since the dust wouldn’t be an issue. I’m so so glad we did: it definitely wasn’t dusty and we even saw a ton of wildflowers out on a hike.

El Camino Del Diablo traverses the desert between Ajo and Wellton (Yuma) passing through Organ Pipe National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and the Barry Goldwater Bombing Range. To drive the Camino, you need to obtain a free permit (available at several locations) but fortunately the agencies work together so you only need one.

Mountains

We left before the sun was up and were treated to some beautiful silhouette skylines and awesome views of the Bates Mountains as the sun rose.

Sunrise

Kino Peak, Bates Mountains

Windmill

As we were driving along through the Pinal Sands, Forrest asked me how close we were to Mexico. I took a guess based on the map and said “Four.” As it turned out, he was able to see the border fence. After the morning in the car we were all ready for a hike so off we went. The hike was awesome! The border was only about a mile away and the flowers were beautiful.

Pinal Sands

Desert Plants

Forrest and Sprocket

Desert flowers

Desert flowers

Desert flowers

Forrest and Sprocket, US-Mexico border

Beth, US-Mexico Border

Desert Flowers

As we left the Refuge and entered the Goldwater Range, we stopped to do some exploring at the Tinjas Altas. There’s some beautiful rock with pools in it there. Definitely worth the detour off the main Camino.

Tinjas Altas

Tinjas Altas pools