Yesterday I rode the Ajo Mountain Loop, the only road in the park that is fully open. That’s not really saying much though, since there are really only four roads in the park, not including Hwy 85 which cuts through the middle. This was one of my planned rides regardless. It’s a 21 mile scenic gravel loop road taking you up into Diablo Canyon. Because it’s an “improved” gravel road, really meaning it’s maintained as a gravel road, I chose my gravel bike. Been a while since I’ve been on that one. Some sections of the road were fine and smooth, others bumpy and rocky. As you get up into the Diablo Canyon area some of the climbs are pretty steep and those sections have “paved” road to avoid getting washed out. Good thing because a few of those sections would be really tough on loose dirt and gravel. One of the great things about being here in the midst of winter, AND a government shutdown is that there’s is almost nobody here. I think I may have said in my last post, the campground has nearly 200 sites and I don’t think there are 30 of them occupied. I’m not so sure this is one of the more popular NPS units anyway, but if you’re planning to visit, I’d recommend this time of year.
Despite being Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, there are far more Saguaro. The
Saguaro are not nearly as majestic as they were in the Tucson area. Many of them there are well over 50 ft in height while here I’m not sure I’ve seen one even reach that. I suppose, since they already have their own NP in Tucson, it was only fair to give this one to the Organ Pipes. Scenery just builds in spectacularity as you journey further in towards Ajo Mountain. It’s a very gentle uphill trend for the first several miles as you make your way across “flat” desert towards the looming peaks.
After climbing through Diablo and reaching the northern most part of the road you find a small parking area and trailhead which you can hike up to the Double Arches. It’s hard to see, but if you zoom in real close you can just spot the tiny arch directly over the larger one.
Shorty after this you’ve reached the high point on the ride and it’s mostly down hill from here.
Yep, another spectacular day, and then I get to come “home” for some dinner and view like this from my campsite, near sunset……
Life is Good!