Turns out that Arizona has two Mount Ords, each named after Gen. E.O.C. Ord, West Point roommate of William T. "March to the Sea" Sherman, a veteran of the Seminole, Indian and Civil Wars, U.S. military commander of that portion of a territory that eventually would become Arizona, builder of Fort Sam Houston in Texas, and posthumously honored by having his name attached not only to at least three mountains but to a town in Nebraska and to Fort Ord on California's Monterey Peninsula.
The taller of Arizona's two Mount Ords is located in the White Mountains, just west of the New Mexico state line and above the Sunrise Peak Ski Area. With a summit at 11,357 feet, this Mount Ord is the eighth-highest peak in the state.
The other Mount Ord is located between Phoenix and Payson, in the Mazatzal Mountains. This Mount Ord tops out at 7,128 feet, or 7,230 if you measure from the top of the fire lookout tower that shares the summit with various communications relay stations.
From what I can tell looking at my maps, there is no drivable trail to the summit of the taller Mount Ord, but there is a narrow and steep shelf road -- no guard rails but spectacular views -- that clings to the mountainside for 7.5 miles as it climbs to the summit of the not-as-tall Mount Ord.
Since my wheels for the week were mounted to a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4x4, we decided to take a Sunday afternoon from Phoenix, up the Bush Highway past Saguaro Lake, then up the Beeline Highway to 5.5 miles beyond Sunflower to the Mount Ord trail sign.
Once upon a time, driving a Jeep at highways speeds was as much of an ordeal as trying to take your family sedan off pavement to explore a muddy or rock-strewn trail best traveled in a Jeep.
But that's not the case anymore. While Wranglers remain trail-rated and Rubican-ready, they have become downright civilized on paved roads, and in the case of our Sahara with its hardtop shell of a roof, even quiet enough that you can enjoy the standard 368-watt Infinity sound system with satellite radio, mobile-device audio jacks, overhead speakers and a rear-mounted subwoofer.
And speaking of enjoying the ride, the suspension that smooths out rocky trails doesn't beat you up anymore on pavement.
For real comfort, you can spend $900 to get heated leather seats. Our test vehicle's interior was downright luxurious with its black and "dark saddle" shade color scheme.
To make those paved miles even more enjoyable, the Wrangler gets a new engine and automatic transmission for the 2012 model year. The 3.6-liter V6 provides 285 horsepower -- a 40-percent boost -- as well as 260 pound-feet of torque, and yet with the new gearbox, borrowed from the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 2012 Wrangler Sahara 4x4 is rated at 17 miles per gallon in city driving and at 21 on the highway.
We did most of our driving during the week on pavement, but we did use the four-wheel-high setting on the trail and still averaged 21.8 mpg overall.
Although you comfortably could drive the Mount Ord Trail with pretty much any high-clearance vehicle, the Jeep's sure-footedness makes the drive even more enjoyable, especially when you meet an coming vehicle and have to pull over to either the mountainside or -- glup -- the no-guardrail unprotected drop-off side to provide room for the vehicles to pass.
You're at around 4000 feet in elevation when you turn off pavement to climb the mountain. It doesn't take very long before you leave the desert and its cacti behind as you twist and turn through pines, red-trunked manzanitas and alligator junipers with their scale-like bark.
There's a gate about a mile from the summit that's closed and locked on weekends, and daily overnight, but you can park just short of the gate -- in fact, there's plenty of room for camping -- and then walk around the gate and hike to the top of the mountain.
Base price on the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sahara is $27,970, and the vehicle comes with, among others, a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, electric stability control, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, Dana 44 rear and Dana 30 front axles, skid plates, 18.5-gallon fuel tank, power windows and locks, fold-and-tumble rear seat, 115-volt outlet and 18-inch wheels wrapped with Bridgestone Dueler tires.
Our test vehicle totaled out at $34,425 with its leather seats, automatic transmission, body-colored three-piece hardtop (the panels over the front seats can be removed for an open-air driving experience), and navigation system with a 6.5-inch touch screen.
Wranglers are available for 2012 in Sport, Sahara or Rubicon trim. Sahara comes with the full roof, body-color fender flares, heated power exterior mirrors, side steps, air conditioning, satellite radio, 18-inch wheels with Bridgestone tires, remote keyless entry, and a premium appearance package. It does not get the Rock-Track low-range gear ratio or BFGoodrich mud terrain tires, electronic sway-bar disconnect system, front and rear electronic Tru-Lok remote locking axles or the Dana 44 front axle that are part of the Rubicon setup.
But not all Wrangler owners need or even want to go rock-crawling. Some like a little more luxury and the Sahara provides that as well as all the off-pavement capability most people might ever want to experience.