Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ajo Mountain Drive- Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

The Ajo Mountain Drive is a 21 mile graded, one-way dirt road.  It winds and dips through the Ajo Mountains and allows one to explore the primitive landscape, geology, flora and fauna of this unique area.

The Sonoran Desert covers 120,000 square miles and is the most diverse desert in North America, home to over 4,000 species of plants and animals.

Large numbers of the very distinctive organ pipe cactus are found here.

                          A nice, spindly Ocotillo in front of a Saguaro

                                                       Buckthorn Cactus

Ironwood Tree

Teddybear Cholla

Brittlebush with creosote bush in background


Palo verde Tree

This is a great place to learn about the plants of the desert southwest.

High mountain ranges here affect how much rain falls in any one area, helping to create a diversity of habitats for specially adapted plants and animals to survive.

Organ pipe Cactus

Two of several arches we saw on the ride

Two Agave

Engelmann prickly pear cactus

Of course, it's an easy drive in a van or truck camper, but no other RV's are allowed on these roads.  The camper makes potty stops and lunch breaks nice and relaxing along the way.

Chainfruit cholla

Mesquite Tree

Typical varied landscape of the Ajo Mountains, with many plant species in view.

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