The drive from Mesa AZ through downtown Phoenix and then south to Ajo was uneventful… just the way we like it. A little over 120 miles later we pulled into Shadow Ridge RV Park in Ajo. We checked in and met Amy, a delightful and friendly person, who checked us in and gave directions to our site. Our site is ok (down sloped a bit) but frankly I am glad to be out of the “park model compound” and back in the desert. It also helps that the weather has warmed up nicely.
Shadow Ridge RV Park is a quaint little park right next to Ajo Arizona. It is definitely not a resort like we last stayed at in Mesa but this park has everything we will need for our four night stay. We really didn’t do much the first day since we didn’t arrive at the park until after 2:00 pm .We enjoyed a nice happy hour with friends Mona Lisa and Steve who had arrived earlier. We will be following them into Mexico so we spoke briefly about that trip and caught up with our travels since we last saw each other in Montana this past summer.
The next morning we wanted to go for a hike since the weather was perfect. One place we wanted to check out while we were here was the Organ Pipe National Monument about 40 miles to our south. We packed up a lunch and drove south to the park’s entrance. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center to pick up a map of the park. We checked out the park’s campground which is nice but has no hook-ups (and is $8.00 per night with the senior parks pass).
Next we drove the 22 mile loop called the Ajo Mountain Drive within the park. It was mostly a dirt road but had a few paved areas in order to reduce erosion on the steeper parts. Our CRV had no problem with the road.There were several numbered pullouts corresponding to a booklet we received at the visitor’s center. It explained a bit about the park and its flora and fauna. It contained basic but interesting information for us to read as we paused at each stop.
Just before the midway point of the drive we parked at the Arch Canyon Trailhead. We donned our hiking gear and set out on a mostly easy trail. The in-and-out trail was only 1.2 miles but we chose to climb up further toward the arch on another much more difficult trail making our total hike about 2.5 miles. It really is quite a scramble up rocks to get to the arch and we made it pretty close but due to time decided to head on back to the car.
When we returned we finished the drive and made our way back to Ajo. The scenery at Organ Pipe NM was fantastic as there were abundant saguaros and organ pipe cacti. We spotted a few crested saguaros and were delighted to see a really cool crested organ pipe cactus (a first for us). We did not see a lot of animals or birds but we still were overjoyed with the warm weather and to finally be out hiking again…
NOTE: We are in Ajo until Sunday and will head south to Mexico where we will stay at Puerto Penasco. I am not sure how good our internet will be so if the blog has a long break between posts we are likely experiencing bad internet…