20130321

Back again! Organ Pipe Cactus Nat'l Monument 3/18 - 3/21



We had to look it up 'cause we couldn't remember in which year we spent a couple of days here:  January of 2008.  The days and especially the nites were much cooler than at the tail end of March.  It IS a great Park to visit.  Twin Peaks Campground, shaped like an alluvial fan, costs a mere $6/nite for the lucky Golden Agers.  210 sites, I think, all pull-thru's on concrete pads.


We picked a site that offered afternoon shade, and we enjoyed sitting in our chairs in the heat of the day (80's) or eating at the shaded picnic table.  Four great big saguaros and a Palo Verde tree or two really does the trick shade-wise.  Put up the awning and - bingo-bango - the RV inside doesn't heat up like an oven.  Plus, don't use the oven when it's hot.  Solar panels always keep us well juiced!

While the C/G has no hookups, water spigots are on every street (good water, too!) and a dump station is located at the bottom of the fan.  Also, three of the restrooms have showers, and - ooohh - showers felt heavenly after hiking to Victoria Mine (4.5 mile R/T) on Tues.  Man, we sure got hot on the return from that hike.

Not much elevation difference, but we hiked up and down (dry) washes A LOT.

I like barrel cactus.
Jimmy at the old stone store at Victoria Mine site.  While most of the Monument is composed of young volcanic rock with little mineral value, silver, copper, lead and gold came out of these 50-million-year-old granite Sonoyta Mountains.  Neither one of us found any....

Experts say no two snowflakes are alike.  This must be true of saguaros also!  Fascinating to behold.

We've taken a whole bunch of photos, I guess because we're thrilled by the wonderful desert environment.  We really love it here, tho it would be unbearably hot in summer!  So, what's the problem?  Don't be here in summer.  What was I saying?  Ah, pictures...

This is an Organ Pipe Cactus, which grows only in the Sonoran Desert.  The Park is the only place in the US where the Organ Pipe Cactus grows wild.

And just below the Organ Pipe Cactus above is this messy pile.  A kangaroo rat lives here!

Jimmy is brave to pick up a cholla "baby."  Just about every danged thing in the desert can stick you!

We have a large window at the head of our bed, but it's too cold, too windy or a lack of privacy that forces us to keep the shade down after dark.  It's a real rarity when we can leave both the window shade up and the window wide open, but that's what we did all three nites at Organ Pipe, inviting the cooler air in.  We could lie in bed and look up at the stars and the half moon that lit the sky, altho on two of those nites a gauze curtain of clouds hid the stars.  Coyotes howling nearby woke us once after midnite, sending an automatic thrill thru our sleepy bodies.

With the window open, early morning light and awakening birds woke us.  I'd rise up on my elbows and watch to see what was moving outside, before getting up myself to start our morning "cowboy coffee."  Coffee on the picnic table with Gambel's quail zipping across the way made us smile.  They are so cute.

Calm morning at our site.

Gambel's quail:  Busy and talkative!  And cute!

Gila woodpecker atop the tallest saguaro at our campsite.  It makes a hole in the saguaro for its nest.  Doncha wonder how this bird and the cactus wren can stand on these cactus needles? 

 The desert is in bloom!  Alive with color!  Orange, yellow, purple.  Desert Mallow above.

Organ Pipe Cactus Monument is a showcase for the Sonoran Desert and its many plants and animals.  28 cactus species live in Monument.  I think we must have seen at least half of them.  Don't even think about walking without shoes in these parts!  And we didn't see any snakes.

Ajo Mountains.

Created in 1937, the Monument is a BIG Park - over 330,000 acres.
Tomorrow I'll post some of my favorite cactus pictures.

1 comment:

  1. Barrel cactus are great unless you are dehydrated and are trying to get into one of them. They have a suit of armor. Great photos.

    ReplyDelete

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