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Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop, AZ

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Guide 34 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Southwest > Ajo
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 3.06 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,369 feet
Elevation Gain 877 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,001 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.07
Interest Historic
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
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15  2018-03-18 DarthStiller
5  2018-03-18 joebartels
30  2017-04-08 rwstorm
7  2016-11-26
Mount Ajo Peak
JuanJaimeiii
15  2016-11-26
Mount Ajo Peak
Tortoise_Hiker
21  2016-04-03
Mount Ajo Peak
trekkin_gecko
18  2016-04-03
Mount Ajo Peak
BiFrost
34  2016-04-03 tibber
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author Randal_Schulhauser
author avatar Guides 71
Routes 98
Photos 9,967
Trips 1,009 map ( 9,248 miles )
Age 59 Male Gender
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:16am - 6:33pm
Official Route
 
5 Alternative
 
Water
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Culture Nearby

History
Cattle Ranching at Organ Pipe from the National Monument archives; "The history of the earliest cattle ranching here in Organ Pipe's territory started when cattle were introduced by the Spanish, perhaps Coronado or Padre Kino at his mission near Sonoyta. Cattle prospered on the mission farms and their ancestors provided stock for Indian herds in the area. The introduction of cattle, horses, and burros changed the face of this area forever. After the US/Mexico international boundary fence was established between Arizona and Mexico, cattle could no longer roam freely back and forth and the range became more restrictive.


American ranching in the Monument region goes back to the early decades of the 1900's, when southern Arizona was the new (and last) frontier. Desert ranching is unique. The carrying capacity for the 500 square mile Monument is only one head of cattle per square mile. These cattle fed on a variety of desert food sources, from annual grasses to mesquite beans and even cholla joints. An old time rancher once said that here in the desert his cattle did not graze, they browsed.

In the region that became Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, there was one main ranching family, the Grays. The Grays moved to this region in 1919 with seven children, four daughters and three sons. Their main ranch house was the Dos Lomitas near the Mexican border. As time passed, the Grays began to expand their cattle operation. By the 1950s, the Grays had established ranches all across the Organ Pipe Territory, and even acquired other nearby ranches. They grazed their cattle on both sides of the border with line camps at various wells scattered across the map of the Monument: Blankenship, Gachado, Alamo, Poso Nuevo, Bonita, and Bates- creating a ranching empire.

When the Monument was established in 1937 great controversy surrounded the question of whether to continue to allow grazing permits, and what the carrying capacity was for the range. The Gray family originally received annual permits to graze 550, and a few years later a 1,050 head of cattle. These grazing permits were canceled in the 1960's, and in the last roundup over 1,700 cattle were counted. The final cattle were removed from Organ Pipe Cactus in 1972, effectively ending the cowboy era of the Monument. The prolonged ranching period had a great effect on the desert ecosystem. Wild grasses were nearly eaten towards extinction. Small cacti were trampled out of the ground. These effects can still be witnessed today, almost 40 years since the last roundup. Bull Pasture was one of the choice summer ranges for these cattle. Don't forget to look for THE BULL when you visit Bull Pasture."


Hike
Obtain your day pass from the Visitor Center located on the west side of Hwy 85 about 5 miles from the Mexican Border. Once again, my NPS Annual Pass comes in handy. Proceed to the east side of Hwy 85 taking the maintained gravel road. This is Ajo Mountain Scenic Drive.

Travel along the Ajo Mountain Scenic Drive 11.4 miles until you reach the Estes Canyon Picnic Area. The Bull Pasture and Estes Canyon trails, as well as the trail ascending Mount Ajo Peak all share this common trail head. There's TH parking on both sides of the road for at least a dozen vehicles.

There are a few options for this hike, but I'll describe the gentler ascent to Bull Pasture Overlook via Bull Pasture Trail and return via the steeper Estes Canyon Trail. NOTE: there is some minor exposure on the final ascent up to the overlook that may intimidate novice hikers.

From the TH parking you will descend into a wash on the east side of Ajo Mountain Scenic Drive. As you exit Estes Canyon Wash, you will see a trail register and a fork in the trail. To the left is Estes Canyon Trail (our return route) and to the right is Bull Pasture Trail. Take the right fork and begin climbing a series of switchbacks to the top of the ridge. You will notice some stands of Organ Pipe Cacti on the south-facing slopes. Near the crest of the ridge, the trail will swing around a large rock outcrop and head north and east towards another rock outcrop and saddle.

There is a bench strategically located by the saddle allowing you to take a break and enjoy the view. Notice how Mount Ajo forms the eastern wall of the expansive Estes Canyon.

Having caught your breath, continue your hike as the trail descends slightly as you head southeast towards the junction with Estes Canyon Trail. Past the junction, Bull Pasture Trail will climb another series of switchbacks until you reach another saddle named Bull Pasture Overlook. There is some minor exposure in this section as you approach the overlook.

At Bull Pasture Overlook you can look down on the elevated grasslands that comprise Bull Pasture - an important summer pasture from the areas' ranching past. From this vantage you can see Sonoyta Valley directly to the south and beyond that is Mexico. The overlook is a good spot to turnaround having hiked 1.8 miles per the Park Service map or 1.3 miles per my GPS.

Return to the junction of Bull Pasture Trail and Estes Canyon Trail, continuing the steeper descent into Estes Canyon. You will quickly reach Estes Canyon floor and will traverse the wash several times as you make your way back to the parking area trail head. The flat basin of Estes Canyon is described as a "natural amphitheater" surrounded by "towering cliff walls" that make up the Ajo Range.

Summary
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is one of my "special" places. Everything about it is unique and quite unlike anywhere else in the world. Unique flora. Unique fauna. Unique geology. Unique history. Unique political/policy "situation". Go experience it for yourself! Enjoy!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2010-01-01 Randal_Schulhauser
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 11 deeper Triplog Reviews
Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop
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We traveled Estes → Bull. My expectations with Bull Pasture in the name were rock bottom. Within fifteen minutes it was like we were magically delivered to the juicy tenderloin of the Superstitions without miles of dull red chuck.

Up out of Estes we followed a fading use trail to the pasture. Then up to 3,437. The view back down to the NW was the highlight of the day.

Enjoyed easy loop hike start to finish.
Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop
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After my Victoria Mine hike I drove over via Ajo Mountain Loop to the TH. Randy was there and he gave it a short go that turned into a "no-go" as his knees rebeled very strongly. So off I went. It was a little warmer than I would have liked but not too bad for this hike up.

Trail was in good condition, looks like they added steps here and there. I remembered quite a bit of the trek since this is my third time up in 6 years.
The Organ Pipe Cactus and Sagauro Forest continue to impress. The blooming flora was very minimal this time as compared to my last two trips that were in March. I didn't use my trekking poles as I have previously and I felt I made pretty good time up considering I had done my five miles earlier.

I had lunch while waiting at the top for the gang to return from Sierra de Ajo (it didn't seem like I waited nearly 2 hours). It was nice just to sit back under my umbrella (no shade up there) and take in the scenery; something hikers rarely get a chance to do on a day hike. Soon I could hear voices; I couldn't see anyone for about 20 minutes it seemed and then I heard and spotted Karl. Then I saw he and Kelly coming out of a green area where I presume they were spring searching.
Eventually I saw and yelled to Kathy and Amy and they yelled and waved back. They all were taking a short cut as the trail was way to the other side of Bull Pasture. I went out a ways to see them closer and film them as they made their way to the top of Bull Pasture.

And then it was down the trail to Estes Canyon. I had not done the Estes Canyon Trail before so this was new. I've heard it was steep in places and slippery but I didn't find that to be the case. However, I think once again there has been some trail work done here. Kathy and I didn't see the other three once we hit Estes Canyon. But that's okay, we got caught up on stuff and enjoyed the scenery along the way stopping occasionally to take some pictures. There were a couple times when it wasn't perfectly clear where to go but we never strayed from the trail.

Upon returning we sat under the ramada and enjoyed a beer and some snacks before parting ways. The drive is always scenic I think. The wait at the non-border stop was a bit long but what are you going to do. We would see Karl and Kathy at the Gila Bend Texaco as we both stopped to refuel the vehicles. And then the rest of the drive went pretty well altho it always seems long once you hit the I-10, at least to me.

Overall, a wonderful quick weekend getaway :D .

Part 1 https://youtu.be/R2 ... K3As
Part 2 hiking Bull Pasture Trail https://youtu.be/hm ... 2kwo
Part 3 Bull Pasture hike continued https://youtu.be/u5 ... 3hA4
Part 4 includes Estes Canyon hike https://youtu.be/Jd ... EtQ4 (still stabilizing)
Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop
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mt. ajo has been on my wish list for several years
four of us got going a little before 9:00, with angela planning to join us at bull pasture on our way down
up bull pasture trail to a saddle overlooking the pasture
trail conditions were excellent; seems work has been done recently
a cairned and well worn use trail wrapped around the southern end of the pasture
the ascent started soon after, and we came to the steep, loose scree section
not bad going up, but not my favorite thing going down
the grade moderated a bit, as we traversed along a bench, then gained a ridgeline
this part of the hike was pure fun, with good footing, nice views and a breeze up high
one last uphill and we were on the summit
a grand summit, too, with 360 views for miles and plenty of room
signed the register, took a few photos and had some lunch
retraced our route down, then after the slow-going scree section, karl wanted to try to find bull pasture spring
we cut toward it off-trail and looked around the drainage right where a waypoint marked it, but couldn't find any evidence of the spring, other than brighter green vegetation
karl did find a pool of water where the drainage deepens, but not the source
cut across bull pasture to pick up the trail
by now we could see angela at the end of the loop trail, and soon hooked up with her
took estes canyon trail back down
a lot of vegetation along this path - pretty lush for desert hiking
this hike ranks in my top ten, and i would love to do it again
great views throughout, interesting geology, and a nice mix of terrain
good company today, too
thanks, all y'all!
Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop
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Planned this trip about a month ago - hoping that wildflowers would be as great as 2008. Got a babysitter to spend the night at our house with the kids and planned fun stuff for them (Frozen Fever/Cinderella movie!)

Left Friday 6pm and stayed at the Guest House Inn. Saturday after nice breakfast headed out to OPNM. Excited to find that the WEST side has been open since September 2014. Took Ajo Drive on east side and saw almost no flowers. Lots of lupine and globemallow along Highway 85 though. Brittle bush barely blooming. And ZERO poppies --- not kidding - zero.

Took Estes Canyon first up to Bull Pasture - had lunch - then down Bull Pature trail in a loop. The last time we did this hike I was about 5 weeks pregnant with Caroline and had nausea for the first time. I had flashbacks all during the hike -- fascinating how your memory is so intense when there is emotion attached to it. Felt like we just flew up to the top this time.

Wildflowers along Estes Canyon: Saw a great diversity of flowers - about 18 different varieties - but none were in dense quantities compared to 2008.
Wildflowers along Bull Pasture trail: few brittle bush, few ocotillo blooms, but not much else.

One of these days we will actually get to the top of Mount Ajo. But not in the cards today.

Wildflowers
see photo set - diversity impressive - density very low. ZERO poppies.
Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop
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Ajo Mountain Drive - 21 mile bike loop – ORPI

I’ve had this on my mountain bike trek list for some time :next: http://www.nps.gov/orpi/index.htm and http://www.nps.gov/orpi/planyourvisit/d ... biking.htm

I headed down to ORPI with Todd Kallmyer Wednesday evening, stopping in Gila Bend at the local Subway to grab some “eats”. Arrived at Twin Peaks Campground ( http://hikearizona.com/photo=407203 ) about 10:30-ish and had to make a campfire in the raised BBQ as temperatures dipped below 50degF (http://hikearizona.com/photo=407204 ). After a bit of late night stargazing, called it a night to get ready for tomorrow’s ride.

Up at sunrise and we eased into the day. Todd was impressive downing a Guinness and Doritos for breakfast while I was into granola bars and sharks. Start our ride at 8am and returned before noon to our Twin Peaks campsite #189.

Wow – no vehicle passed us all day! We did see 5 total vehicles all day along the loop drive at various trail heads as well as 2 other bicyclists.

We broke out the BBQ to grill some burgs plus a couple of choice beverages to celebrate knocking off the Ajo Mountain Drive bike loop. Relaxed a bit before packing up the F-150 for the return drive to Phoenix.

Now if they ever re-open the 53 mile Puerto Blanco Drive, I’m “in” for that bike loop :next: http://www.americansouthwest.net/arizon ... drive.html and http://books.google.com/books?id=pwV0no ... ve&f=false

In the meantime, maybe Chaco Canyon and Outliers should be the next target bike trek :next: http://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/biking.htm and http://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/w ... etrail.htm and http://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/k ... etrail.htm and http://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/c ... etrail.htm

Now about those “blue flags”;
Blue flag emergency water stations :next: http://rense.com/general29/border.htm
Cabeza Prieta case :next: http://www.animallaw.info/cases/causfd377fsupp2d767.htm
Robin Hoover :next: http://www.magarchive.tcu.edu/articles/ ... eid=200303

:D :D :D

Wildflowers
Brittlebush and Desert Marigolds done for the season. Saw my first saguaro bloom of the year...
Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop
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This is the second Mt.Ajo trip I've planned for the ABC, and the second time that nearly everyone backed out of the trip last minute. I guess I don't really mind...the area is much more magical when you can enjoy the immense and pressing isolation that only the desert can give. It was a beautiful weekend for a hike, and the weather favored us by dipping a few degrees on just the right day. Although a clear sky would have been preferred, something tells me that it's a seasonal catch that I'm going to need to get better at.

We really went hoping for wildflowers, and while we were disappointed for the most part (no poppies, lupines or the like) the desert was still cloaked in beauty - with more of the perennials blooming (like fairy duster, brittle bush and penstemon).

Angela did a great blow-by-blow description of the hike itself, including the amazing fallen arch/window and the perfect beer at the top (though I must agree, how does one drink 'part' of a beer?). I thought that the route was easier to find on this trip, though if that's because I've been doing a lot more bushwhacking myself or if there's been more traffic to the peak I couldn't really say. In any case, it's a haul up to the top of that mountain, and parts of the steep, loose trail are precarious without being outright dangerous. It's a great bit of adventure, and I'd imagine even the most jaded adventurer would find something to love.

I will say, the entirety of the Organpipe experience was a touch nerve wracking. I'm not at all the sort who gets jittery about guns and such, but the Border Patrol presence in that area is downright oppressive. I started counting about 1/2 way on my drive from Tucson and I encountered 12 BP vehicles just on the highway, not counting the 2 checkpoints (manned with dogs and armed men) and other vehicles parked on the side of the road monitoring. It feels a bit like you're traveling in a war zone. I wonder if people in other parts of the country realize just how impacted this border area is. Just the carbon emissions alone boggle the mind, let alone the moneys being spent on men, equipment, fuel and facilities.

I don't feel safer - I feel unwelcome, even as a citizen. What's more, a park which (according to the recent article in the AZ Highways) saw visitor numbers in the hundreds of thousands in the 90's now sees less than 30k. That's paying visitors, anyway...who knows how many agents and "illegals" are in the park at any given time. Sigh.
Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop
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I am writing this report on 4/5/2013: Can't believe I'm doing this one again. It's not the easiest hike in the world but I would be curious to see how I would do vs 3 years ago. It went well except for my legs. I decided this year I would expose my legs to some sun :) . Well this is fine if you have a well manicured trail but once we got to Bull Pasture, the only manicuring that was going on was to my legs. And of course, silly me, I decided to tough it out rather than putting the pant legs back on :doh: . Almost two weeks later my legs are starting to heal up nicely. Lesson learned.

It was going to be a hazy day so we wouldn't get to see the Sea. The brittlebush had just started and in the morning light, that and some of the other wildflowers and of course the Organ Pipe were magnificent. I didn't realize the origin of that name Organ Pipe but according to the paper from the Visitors Center: "early settlers who encountered dead cacti were reminded of church pipe organs and called these cacti organ pipes".

All 3 of us are picture takers so it didn't take long to get distracted over and over again as we winded our way up Bull Pasture Trail. Once you got about 1 mile in as you turn the corner to that one section, it gets even more grand. There's that little section of puffy jumpin' cholla and then as you go a little higher the brittle bush and in the distance to the west, a sagauro covered hillside. We would enjoy smatterings of other wildflowers and cacti along the way as well.

The temp seemed about right. I think we were lucky in that regard. It is definitely a bit of a climb to the pasture but not so bad when you're taking lots of pictures and video. We barely rested here as we made our way:
    to the right side of Bull Pasture then around the bend and
    head along the other side of the Pasture before
    turning to the right past the first arch
    and then the slippery scree climb

to the now... wait for it.... FALLEN arch :o :o :o . The same Arch that Wendy and John had climbed/fallen into on our trip 3 years ago.
http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=229212 This Arch had to have fallen between Randal's last visit in January this year and our visit. OMG! still can't get over it.

Now that we are near Tier 3 of our climb, it was starting to get a bit toasty as we traversed this west side toward our few fake summits. I think, like most ridgelines, this is always entertaining as there is so much to see. We lost our way once where we ended up on top of one of the humps instead of to the east side but it wasn't that big of a problem as it looked like others had made the same mistake :? .

One of our cohorts wanted to stop when we were about 10 minutes from the Peak so we could have lunch before that climb. So we had our lunch and I had part of my beer overlooking one of the grassy areas that had some cholla and junipers growing. Next up, Mount Ajo. It was a quick trip and then scramble up to the top. Fortunately, this time the wind was only gusting so we got to sit down and enjoy the Peak. Even though the haze was still thick, you could still see pretty far. We signed in and I finished my beer. I found this almost perfect cutout in the rock to put my behind in and actually lay back for a 5 minute cat nap.

Alas it was time to go. We made our way down the ridgeline which at times can be precarious and rested just before the Arch scree. At the Arch, Wendy went and investigated the big boulder that had fallen from it. We discovered that the inside had crystallized in a few spots. We paid our respects and then slip-slided our way down the scree. It didn't seem quite as bad as last time but it did seem quite as long :sweat: .

About one third of the way into Bull Pasture, Wendy and Derrick decided we would wait a bit for the sun to get lower so that when you round the corner on the Bull Pasture Trail, your photo ops will be better quality. It's just that it was a little warm but oh well. As we were heading down the drainage below the pasture Wendy asked me if I could zoom and see if that was water that she saw and sure enough, it was. There was another area (where we had crossed at the top of the pasture) where we had spotted water and at this lower section, though quite a distance, there was a lot of water.

That first 1/2 mile or so coming down from Bull Pasture seemed long until we finally got to the photogenic section. Well guess what happened? If you guess full-on "tibbermode", you would be correct. And it didn't stop until we rounded the section past the red rock formation and puffy chollas. The photo-taking didn't engage again until we got to the bottom with all the Organ Pipe and chain chollas being bathed in late afternoon light. Alas we made it to Tonto, changed our shoes and then drove back to camp with very large smiles on our faces. ANOTHER glorious day in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Two videos mostly from the trek up to Mount Ajo with a little bit of the trek down as far as the fallen Arch.
http://youtu.be/ce5ETlOFiqc
http://youtu.be/ZlfS40yjxW4 and as always for the best quality, watch them in HD.
Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop
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Organ Pipe Cactus NM - Winter 2013
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument - Winter Chill 2013


The Organ Pipe/Cabeza Prieta/Barry M. Goldwater Range trio has always been a special place for me - a destination that conjures up images of the "wild-wild west" with an element of danger in an area of totally unique geology, flora, and fauna found nowhere else in the world.

ORPI => http://www.nps.gov/orpi/index.htm
Cabeza Prieta => http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/ar ... index.html
BMGR => http://www.luke.af.mil/library/factshee ... sp?id=5062

A trek along the El Camino del Diablo (check out => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=642 ) provides an opportunity to traverse the ORPI/CPNWR/BMGR trio. Although we weren't able to pull off a "birthday weekend" trek along El Camino, we did pull off the next best thing - a "birthday weekend" viewing of El Camino and surroundings from the highest vantage point - Mt. Ajo Peak (check out => http://www.peakbagger.com/peak.aspx?pid=4116 and http://www.summitpost.org/mount-ajo/151379#chapter_5 ).

A 6:45am rendezvous at the Ahwatukee Einstein's Bagels for an eye-opener and some morning eats and we were on the road by 7am. The pre-dawn temperature of 27degF seen on my truck thermometer was probably the lowest I've ever seen leaving my house for a hike. Needless to say we were prepared for a winter hike fit for US/Canada border destination - not the US/Mexico border destination we were headed towards!

We made the ORPI Visitor's Center around 9:30am to purchase my annual NPS pass (check out => http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm ) and we were soon bouncing our way along Ajo Mountain Drive towards the trail head. With this being Jeff Cherry's first desert hiking trek, we had multiple stops taking in the choice sights. By the time we were able to start our ascent of Mt. Ajo, it was 10:30am. As per usual, we agreed on a hard-stop turnaround time - 2:30pm - to avoid a treacherous return in darkness on a moonless night.

We arrived at Bull Pasture a little after 11:30am were we lingered a bit and lightened our backpack load eating and drinking a good portion of the weight. We finished the steep scree ascent topped out by "the whale" (check out => http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=229212 ) a little after 1pm arriving at the summit 2:30pm sharp - our designated turnaround time. We couldn't resist squeezing in a few extra minutes to suck-up those stunning 360 degree views, sign the summit register in the ammo box, and ponder the purpose of the nearby solar powered antenna. Even picked out some of the landmarks along the El Camino del Diablo from this vantage! I should point out that the low temperatures took the charge out of my camera battery (had to warm them up in my hands many times just to get a shot).

The descent went as planned - 3 segments each doable in 1 hour chunks (summit to "the whale" in 1 hour; "the whale" to Bull Pasture signage in 1 hour; Bull Pasture to the TH in 1 hour). We broke out the BBQ to grill some brats with some choice beverages and snacks at the trail head. As the sun disappeared, so did the comfortable temperatures. We had to retreat to the cab of the F-150 and crank up the heater before we could finish our last brat and have dessert. We packed-up and readied for the return home drive. As my truck transitioned from the gravel of Ajo Mountain Drive to Hwy 85, my truck thermometer indicated 31degF and 7pm.

It should be noted that as we exited ORPI and stopped at the Border Patrol checkpoint, it marked our first human encounter of the day since I purchased my NPS pass earlier that morning. Photos to follow (when I get the chance)...
Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop
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Took Mike Mattes for his first trip down to Organ Pipe (not counting our El Camino del Diablo 4WD trek) and headed up Mt. Ajo. Once again that Annual NPS Pass shows it's worth. Met Catherine and Collin visiting from Vancouver Island and a 4-some visiting from Switzerland. Temperatures were down right toasty - perfect!

Dinner at Marcela's Cafe & Bakery in Ajo AZ => http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/76/788014/r ... Bakery-Ajo
before heading home in the darkness.

Photo evidence to follow...

BTW - "Bull" of Bull Pasture => http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=116801
Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop
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I had all intentions of getting to the peak this year, but sleeping in and stopping for lots of photos on the roadside kept us from it. Instead we started about 1 pm and just did Estes Canyon to Bull Pasture and back down in a loop. It was very hot on the Estes Canyon section with no winds. I changed into summer clothes about 20 minutes into the hike and felt a lot better. The short climb to Bull Pasture was mostly in the shade of the shark's tooth rock - which was nice.

One of these days we'll go to the peak. Maybe b/c we started so late in the day but we hardly saw anyone on the trail. After the hike, a kind stranger in the parking lot showed us two big horn sheep she had spotted (with $$$ fancy binoculars) way way way up on a rock ledge. They were resting in the shade. Tiny specks with the naked eye from the parking lot.

Permit $$
NPS

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
$8 fee per car for a 7 day pass. Backpacking and backcountry camping is not allowed at this time due to an increase in illegal border activity.. Camping is available in the two designated campgrounds only.


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
From Phoenix
1. Take I-10 east until you reach the junction of Hwy 347 south to Maricopa AZ.
2. Continue along Hwy 347 until it terminates at Hwy 84.
3. Take Hwy 84 west until you join I-8 west towards Gila Bend AZ.
4. When you reach Gila Bend, take Hwy 85 south towards Ajo AZ and the Mexican border.
5. Continue on Hwy 85 passing through the towns of Ajo and Why before entering Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
6. Obtain your day pass from the Visitor Center on the west side of Hwy 85, ~5 miles north of the Mexican Border.
7. Take the Ajo Mountain Scenic Drive 11.4 miles to the Estes Canyon Picnic Area and Trail Head.
page created by Randal_Schulhauser on Jan 01 2010 7:24 pm
3 pack - loud whistle
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