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2013-10-20  
Batamote Mountains, AZ
mini location map2013-10-20
9 by photographer avatarOutlander
photographer avatar
 
Batamote Mountains, AZ 
Batamote Mountains, AZ
 
Hiking13.00 Miles 2,700 AEG
Hiking13.00 Miles   13 Hrs      1.30 mph
2,700 ft AEG   3 Hrs    Break30 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The mission was to check out the Batamote Mountains near Ajo.

The Batamote Mountains are part of a volcanic upwelling, consisting of ash and basalt rock. The south face is very steep in places, but the rest of the mountain is of a moderate grade, following the lava flows that extend several miles. It would be a fun area to camp a couple of days, allowing ample time to explore the cliffs and caves on the south end.

I was expecting this place to be much like Saucedea Mountains to the north, so I arrived early and put some distance between myself and the truck before sunrise. The bright moon was more than adequate to get around out there, though the dark shadows are unnerving at times. The use of flashlights is ill advised because it illuminates your position/bearing to spotters. It turned out that nobody was working on this day, but the early start did give me some extra time to putz around.

A herd of bighorn sheep made their presence known by kicking a huge boulder down the mountain. I was about ¼ mile distant and was able to observe the awesome destruction firsthand. The sheep spooked and ran over the hump, barely visible through the Sun’s glare. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to find out if any of the sheep fell along with the boulder, though they would surely have been dead. A fresh ram scull might be waiting at the base of that cliff.

There are a few rare plant species living on the mountain, including organ pipe cactus and elephant trees. It is an arid landscape, no doubt, but checkout that wash on the north end if you ever pass through. It is prone to flooding and receives a good drenching each year, making it a green belt of sorts, full of critters and big ironwood trees.

The Batamotes are fairly clean, as most of the smuggling action is concentrated within three passes on the far west end. The high dollar stuff is coming over the middle, past the layup cave with the Virgin Mary shrine. The shrine has a small collection of change and pesos in an offering dish. I figured it prudent to leave the money alone, to have taken it; one would risk the wrath of God for the remainder of the hike.

A Homeland Security helicopter patrolled the western passes during the morning, and later in the day, another one buzzed my truck to check the plates. The only footprints that I saw on my 13 mile loop were next to the water catchment, from three guys who doubled back to top off their water jugs.

It is a neat area and I will come back again someday.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
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