The day before we left OPNM, we drove the 21 mile Ajo Mountain Drive loop. It was raining part of the time, and was about to rain more so we did not do any of the trails. That’s okay. The drive, as I hope you can tell by my piece-mill pics, was breathtaking – even in the rain, or maybe because of the rain. I don’t know. I just know it is a day I will never forget.
The NPS website (here) states that it is a “gravel road usually passable by normal passenger cars.” Tarkus, Colvin’s van, made it just fine, but then again Tarkus has been known to go where no man has gone before.
The NPS also states that “RVs over 24 feet are prohibited due to the twisting and dipping nature of the road.” Boy they got that right! What a fun road it was.
There are two main hiking trails on Ajo Mountain Drive. One of them is a mile hike up to the natural arch in the pic above, and the other one is a 3.5 mile loop. You can read more about Ajo Mountain Drive and the Bull Pasture/Estes Canyon Trail (here).
I wish my pics could do the drive justice. Some of the photos were taken with Colvin’s camera, and some with my iPhone. I lost track on which was which because I combined a lot of them. Click to see a larger image or to scroll through them all.
We left the next day and went through the wonderful little town of Ajo.
Colvin ate at the Deli while I went to the Post Office. But first we took pics of each other taking pics.
The town square was adorable. The architecture of the Plaza is a stucco arch design, and it wraps around three sides of the courtyard.
The 2 clerks in the Post Office were very friendly ladies. The one waiting on me asked if I was new to the area. I told her we had been camping at OPNM and this was my first time to Ajo. Her eyes got wide and she remarked, “Oh. You’ve never been to Ajo?”
She seemed genuinely surprised. I confirmed that I had not, and added that I thought the town was very charming. She told me a few things to do while in the Plaza, especially since the rain had let up. That seemed to trigger a memory for her and she asked the other clerk if she remembered the National Geographic film crew that had gotten stuck on the trails of Ajo Mountain Drive due to heavy rain.
They had a lively discussion about the time period. Was it before Wayne & Sally (names have been changed) had their twins? No, it was after that because Johnny Joe (again, not the real name) had not bought his ranch yet. Oh yeah, that’s right. And momma hadn’t had her hip surgery yet. They both reflected on that for a moment and the clerk turned back to me.
“So it had to have been in the late 80s. Did you hear about it?”
I was thoroughly enjoying the moment.
“No, I didn’t. What happened,” I asked.
She proceeded to tell me that it had been quite the ordeal because of all the equipment they had carried in with them. To get all of the film people out as well as their equipment both the Border Patrol and the National Guard got involved.
The other clerk had forgotten about that and they spent 5 minutes discussing the details while I filled out the addresses on my postcards. I thanked them for their help and for the visit. The clerk topped it all off by telling me, “Don’t be a stranger. Come back soon. You’ll like Ajo.”
Love. Love. Love.
Colvin was sitting on the Plaza sidewalk outside the Deli. I joined him while he finished his sandwich and told him all about the National Geographic story. It made our day.
Inside the Deli, they display local artwork. This one caught my eye and made me think of Onna Voellmer’s art which you can view (here). HugZ to you, Onna!
The Plaza courtyard was immaculate. I was impressed with the entire town. I loved the purple trees. I don’t remember their name.
This is the view of the Plaza looking back toward 85.
At the end of the lane is this church. Just lovely.
And so ends our stay at Organ Pipe National Monument, Ajo AZ.