Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Big Blue Rock

Ajo, AZ
Odometer 37,748
December 28, 2013

Joan and I both enjoy taking drives and walks in the desert around here.  We have been told by many friends that two great opportunities to see the sights are Charlie Bell Gap and the Blue Rock.
Yesterday we started out from the RV Park at 1 PM, heading for Charlie Bell.  Our destination was only 18 miles up a dead end road that should take- what- maybe half hour up and half hour back?  Not even close... 
The road started out bad-

And then it got worse...

The last two miles was a boulder strewn path that had us crawling at a snails pace.  Our CRV  doesn't quite have the ground clearance for this track.  If we could have turned around we would have.  We kept telling ourselves- it will get better just around the next corner...

We finally made it to the end of the road!  We discovered a beautiful vista- 
and an emergency beacon which, thankfully we did not need.

Due to the fact that it took 2 hours of carefully picking our way up the trail in low gear, and that it was now 3 PM,  we decided against taking the trail down to Charlie Bell well on the far side of this ridge top.  We found out later that the trail is a mile down hill and three miles back up! ;->)

In stead, we took in the sights and stretched our legs for a few minutes and headed back towards town, arriving back at the RV at 5 PM.  Whew!

December 29, 2013

Today, we thought we'd try a more suitable destination.  This morning, Jeff accepted an invitation from Norman, another RVer in the park to look over several USGS quadrangle maps of the surrounding area.
Norm has been coming to Ajo in the winter for about 14 years, and has driven and hiked just about everywhere.  Norman offered to loan several maps to me for the duration of our stay.  We were interested to know if the mapping system on the iPad works in areas where you do not have a cell signal.  The answer is not really, once the signal is lost the maps don't load anymore- so quad maps, or a true GPS  device are your only option.

We'd heard several of the long timers talk about the big Blue Rock, and suggest we see it.  After lunch, we invited our neighbor, Barb, to drive out to "Blue Rock" with us.  We all loaded up in the CRV and drove the 10 miles south- mostly on good gravel roads.  Using Norman's maps we found it without much trouble.
It really is a very large chunk of copper ore, and there was more in an open seam nearby.
From what we can determine the blue- green color is from malachite, which is a oxidized form of copper.
Many of the yards and driveways around Ajo are bordered with rocks such as these.

Your Traveling Friends

Joan and Jeff

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