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Tuesday, April 30, 2002

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Ajo Mountain Drive

Well it was a little warm yesterday afternoon. We decided that maybe we could move a little further north but first we wanted to go on another hike to Estes Canyon Bull Canyon trails. These trails are on the far end of the Ajo Mountain Drive which is a 21 mile drive on a one way mostly dirt road through great desert country. We wound up and down the lava mountains and through flat expanses of cactus of every kind. Beautiful.

The trailhead had a ocotillo ramada, pit toilets and pretty much nothing else. There was no one there when we arrived so we parked and started walking. My lower shin was bothering me from the day before. I didn't think I had walked that much further than normal but maybe the up and down were more than I've done in a long time and I did it in tevas instead of hiking boots. It was much better with my boots on.

We took the left trail going up which first wound through a valley before it started climbing. Very beautiful. Then we started climbing. It was still beautiful but I was huffing and puffing in no time. Finally we got to where the trails join and I thought we were almost there but it got steeper and kept going. Finally we reached a saddle and decided to stop for lunch. The round trip to Bull Pasture was only suppose to be 4.1 miles and we didn't quite make it but I was exhausted. It was still a nice hike but I felt bad about holding Lisa back. I did fine coming back.

It was so nice to take my boots off and wave them in the cool (comparatively) air of the shaded ramada then we were off, heading north. Once again we passed through the border inspection station and told we had a great time. A stop for coffee at Why and then we headed north on AZ-85 to Gila Bend and on to I-10. We jogged a bit west and got on the Sun Valley Parkway. The first mile or so had some houses and then we hit a few blocks where they were making a movie. After that absolutely nothing for more than twenty five miles. Absolutely nothing. It was a nice four lane with a median and it wasn't new as we could see that the paint had worn but no houses, not more than a couple cars, nothing. It was really strange especially since anywhere near Phoenix is fair game for houses. I got to drive this part and I cruised.

We hit US-60 at Surprise and headed northwest to a few miles past Wickenburg where we got on AZ-89 and turned northeast. We soon were climbing through mountains and wound up to the plain that Prescott sits on. I've always enjoyed the grassy plains of the higher altitudes and was glad to be here again. Prescott was always a nice historical town but now it's spreading out into the grasslands as more people are moving here, especially retirees.


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Rachel Aschmann 2002.
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