Sunday, March 11, 2012

On to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

I hate to say this..I almost decided to just ignore it, but that wouldn't be right.  We moved because of an incident.  A neighbor from perhaps a half mile or so away sauntered over late the other afternoon with his dog and shotgun in tow and announced his RV had been broken into, completely ransacked, while he was away for a couple of daylight hours.  A lot of damage to the structure and food, medications, and many personal items stolen.  Most illegals that come through here are on foot, so the amount of items taken almost indicates several individuals or a vehicle, possibly kids from town, who knows.  We don't tend to be driven by fear but if this had happened to us it would be devastating.  This is our home!

Okay, that's past and it's time to move on, and it would be hard to pick a more beautiful location than here at Organ Pipe Cactus Nat'l Monument.  We're still in the heart of the Sonoran Desert and just 35 miles south of Ajo on the international border at Lukeville/Sonoyta.  The sites are large with concrete patios and pads, accommodating RVs up to 40', with no hookups, but the views are spectacular, and the price with a Golden Age Pass is $6 per night.

This is only our second day but we've covered a lot of territory already!  First and foremost, The Ajo Mountain Drive, a 21 mile graded, one-way dirt road.  It winds and dips over a route that blends with the primitive nature of the landscape and provides some of the finest scenery in the monument. There is a guide available at the Visitor's Center which describes the numbered stops along the way.  There are also picnic sites and hikes to be taken along the Arch Canyon and Estes Canyon trails.  That will be another day!

Enjoy our drive along Ajo Mountain Road!

Yellow & purple wildflowers line the road-sides

And of course, the stately Saguaro wave to us!

This is our first sighting of a crested (thanks Gaelyn) Organ Pipe!

There is a 2-mile round trip hike into Arch Canyon starting here at the trailhead

And a picnic table for our lunch and a quick pose!

The wind died down and last night was perfect for barbecuing and sitting out by a fire on a brilliant, clear star-studded night.  And not a single photo turned out decent enough to post.  This morning was picture perfect for the 1.5 mile loop hike on the Desert View trail.   Though the views of Senita Basin and Sonoyta Valley were hazy, the blooming cacti along the way were stunning.  

Along the Desert View Trail..

The park's namesake cacti, the Organ Pipes

This barbed beauty is appropriately named the fish hook pincushion

Out of the rocks..

Looking south of the border on a hazy day!

Blossoming cholla 

A deeper rose

A fallen ocotillo blossom lands amid tiny rock daisies

In a few days this will be in full bloom

Can you detect a petroglyph or pictograph?...Me neither
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