Ajo’s Springs, Mountains, Sky

I feel like I did back in Death Valley when I’d go hiking in the morning, become awestruck by the scenery and take tons of photos, then sink back into a coma in the late afternoon shade, unable to describe what I’d seen or even pick shots that vaguely illustrate any of it. Here goes a lame attempt with the basics from the past two days here at Organ Pipe National Monument.

Ajo Mountain & Diablo Range

Before sunset, we drove the Ajo Mnt Drive that’s in the eastern part of the park, with the Ajo and Diablo ranges to the north and the Sonoyta Valley to the south, doing a hike here and there.

Tracy had driven this loop when he’d hiked to Bull Pasture, so he knew that the evening sun would show off the Arch Canyon. I really wanted to hike up into the canyon and climb to the arch, but even at peak health I think that is a steep climb. Wouldn’t you want to, too?

Red Tanks Tinaja & Quitobaquito

The next day we drove a loop through the western part of the park. The first shot is an inadequate one of Red Tank Tinaja, which is a cavity in the rocks where water remains long after rain. A certain frog lives here under the rock; when the rains come, it surfaces and matures in two weeks, about as long as water stays above ground. Water remains deep under the rocks for much longer though, as demonstrated by the bees we encountered swarming in and out of bored holes in the rock.

Quitobaquito (what an awesome word) is a spring down by the border wall that’s been turned into a pond, with cottonwood trees and a marshy area and marsh birds and all that jazz that’s very out of place here. I sat in the cool shade listening to the amazing sound of flowing water while Tracy looked at new birds. No images do the miracle of water justice here.

Dripping Springs

We took a short hike through so many seguaro and organ pipe and ocotillo that it felt like we were walking through a garden. Then there was a steep climb up a rock face in the Puerto Blano Mountains, and then, voila, a deep, dark spring coming from the mountain side.

Tracy’s very quickly trying to measure how deep the spring is with his walking stick. He couldn’t touch the bottom with it easily, and he didn’t want to try harder because he was right in the midst of a swarm of bees so loud we heard them when we were on the cliffside well before the spring.

Check out that green! Green is definately the theme of this part of the Sonora.

I have more photos from the past two days, but this post is long enough as is. I’ll put the remainder in a new post—stay tuned. 🙂

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