Monday, March 20, 2023

Darby Wells Road and(Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (2 of 3)

Monday, March 20, 2023 

Today started like most of our days with mugs of coffee. We both had things to take care of around the Motorhome and then after lunch we took a ride over to Ajo for a ride down Darby Wells Road. We started our ride by going up the hill in Ajo and before coming to where Darby Wells connects to AZ-85 we turned around and went back the way we came and down the hill. Our next stop was going to be Olson's IGA for a few groceries including something for dinner. When we pulled in the first thing we noticed was that the parking lot was pretty much empty. It was a few minutes after after 6 o'clock and now we know they close at 6. So plan B it was for dinner tonight. Tom had heard the Desert Diamond Casino just down the road from where we are at Coyote Howls East makes a decent pizza and now we know they do.

Forewarning: Between today's ride and the last of the pictures from the our Ajo Mountain Drive this post does contain a picture overload.   

I took this while we were on AZ-85 just south of Ajo.
I am going to guess these are the Pozo Redondo Mountains.

On the left a tall Saguaro with an abundance of arms.
On the right a Teddy Bear with several babies.

Does anyone else see the buffalo?

This was the first quail we have seen this year.

Whenever I look down a wash it reminds me to never take
the power of water lightly.

I was really hoping this picture would be close to what we could
see in the distance when I moved it to the computer and it is close.
The tailings from the copper mine, the mountains, saguaros and all
the green  bushes even the blueish tinge in the sky.
This was what we saw no enhancement.

This is the view at the spot we were hoping for but it was
someone else's turn to enjoy this beautiful view. Two years
ago we lucked out and got here first this year they did.

Just slightly past the site the desert floor was covered in purple.

This I took into the sun as we made our way back to Ajo.

One of the views as you head down the hill into Ajo.

Blurry bushes in the front as we were moving towards
home when I took this of the last of the sun's light.

As always it was a little bumpy but a  wonderful ride on Darby Wells Road. Tomorrow we will be heading a little further east as we continue this our 9th Adventure. 

Saturday, March 18, 2023 (Ajo Mountain Drive)

The rest of our ride through the Ajo Mountain Drive. 

An arch in the distance

no there are two.
Look at the green making its way into the arch.

What do you see? I see a lizard crawling up.

A little ways farther 

and there is another small arch.

It looked to me like the Saguaro was saluting the Organ Pipe Cactus.

Some Gold Poppies

Chainfruit Chollas

Stop 17 which is Teddy Bear Pass and I got out one last time to take pictures. 
According to the guide a midden in the Puerto Blanco Mountains records the teddy bear chollas' arrival here 10,000 years ago. This cactus migrated here when the Sonoran Desert was in its infancy and from the abundance found here at Teddy Bear Pass, it has adapted quite well. (A midden is a packrats nest. They use, among other things, joints from the cholla cactus to make a very protected nest.)

Do not be fooled they may look fuzzy and soft 

but they have millions of tiny hooked spines genetically 

designed to attach to anything that gets close.

I barely brushed one once and luckily it only attached to my pant 
 leg. Tom was able to pick it off very carefully. Since then I have
been careful to look behind before backing up to take a picture. 

The last picture I took on the Ajo Mountain Drive.
Two of my favorite things to see in the desert,
the Saguaro standing tall and proud and a 
beautiful green Ocotillo.

The last stop is 18 and the title in the guide is: What Does the Future Hold?

The article that follows talks about the how the monument is filled with plants, animals, and humans that have adapted to the Sonoran Desert's unique environment. Some migrated and some adapted and survived the changing climate over the last 10,000 years. It talks about the plants and animals that are now threatened by the changes happening. The Big Horn Sheep, the Spadefoot Toad, and the Saguaros are mentioned. Will they adapt to the unforeseen changes; can they adapt to the changing environment? What new species might move into the monument? The answer to the question what does the future hold, given in the guide, is they are only beginning to understand the questions.

There is a circle of life in the desert. Plants depend on animals to disperse their seeds, animals depend on the plants for food and shelter. Even plants depend on plants for survival, cacti and their nurse trees. Even death in the desert begets life. The dead Saguaro may provide shade for the lizard. Everything is connected all over this incredible land of the Sonoran Desert. (based on information in guide)

I often wonder when I am walking in the desert what will the future hold for the desert? What will the desert look like when our children and grandchildren visit? Only time will have the answers. I just hope they experience the same wonder we do and look with open eyes and see the beauty surrounding them. So different from the beauty of the place they are growing up in with its lakes and forest. It is a beautiful country we live in and the more we see of it the more we appreciate that fact.

We are glad you stopped by!
If you have time to leave a comment we would enjoy hearing from you.


  1. My picture taking tip is never squat down until you look behind you! Those cholla will grab you and not let go!! It's amazing how the critters can handle them with no problems. Gorgeous pictures!!

    1. Good picture taking tip. I learned my lesson. Thank you.

  2. I didn't see a buffalo, I did see three arches though. The lizards was a maybe, it could have been an odd looking crab. LOL. Loved the pics, all those pointy things make me very careful when I walk in places like that. Safe travels.


    1. For the buffalo enlarge the picture and look in the center...I know...I know I see strange As pretty as the desert is it contains a lot of pointy things trying to pick us.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Elva. The scenery makes it hard to not get some beautiful pictures.

  4. We stayed along Darby Wells Road when were in Ajo.

    1. That was our hope unfortunately it was not meant to be. Tom and I both thought there was more people parked out there then the last time we were here. Several places a 5th wheel/travel trailer would make it in but we would have dragged and no cell service.