Out here again. Under the moon, under the stars, surrounded by saguaros and chollas. Feels like home.
Everything went smoothly today, getting from Boulder to Denver to Phoenix with minimal brain damage. Other than having to wait for a sporting goods store to open so I could get a canister, I had no trouble getting to Organ Pipe and setting out my water caches.
Stopped in Ajo for a burger and a local beer. The burger was pretty good, the beer (a black IPA) was just ok.
But just ok has gotten to be pretty good now in the world of beer, no shame in that.
Unlike some towns, it looks like Ajo is trying, not just giving up and blaming liberal coastal elites because their mine shut down. Not only is there a brewery, but it sits across from a pleasant town plaza laid out in the Mexican style: a church, a park, a ring of shops. Good for them.
The rangers at the visitor center were a bit confused by my request to hike and camp in multiple backcountry zones, but after conferring they concluded that there was no actual rule against it and gave me a permit.
My route is north through the Ajo Mountains on the east side of the park, east across the Ajo Valley, south down the Bates Mountains, then back across the valley again and through the Diablo Range and down to the car. Looks like about 50 miles, all bushwhack. The plan is to do it in three full and two half days of hiking.
It was a 3 mile bushwhack from Ajo Mtn Rd over here to Alamo Canyon. Only a few bad thickets but a wicked jacaranda snatched a bandanna from my pocket and much of the skin from my legs. May have to hike with pant legs on if I wish to return unflayed.Arch Rock above the trailhead A fine specimen of Organ Pipe Cactus
Sunset from camp