Thursday, April 14, 2016

Organ Pipe National Monument

Penny, Vickie and I took a quick day trip down to Organ Pipe National Monument. I hadn't been in quite a while and I was hoping we weren't too late to see some spring flowers.

Mostly it was cactus that we saw blooming and they were gorgeous.

There is a memorial to the 28 year old park ranger who was killed by drug smugglers from a cartel. Sad. Apparently they catch quite of few of these in the area as it is right on the border with Mexico.

An example of the basket weaving of the local native Americans.

The saguaros are just starting to bloom.

A few ocotillo blooms from rains earlier in the week.

All the different cacti display an interesting diversity of geometric forms.

We had a picnic lunch, as there really isn't anything else in the area. We thought ahead this time. Last time, we were rushing to get something to eat.

The organ pipe cactus is common in Mexico, but this is the only part of the United States that it grows. There is over 300,000 acres of Sonoran desert that is protected here and you can really see a difference in the richness of the plants and animals, in and outside the park.

Staghorn cholla bloom

The moon showing over the cliff.

There are actually two arches in this photo.

The second one is above the larger one.

Another arch.

It was late for the hedgehog cactus to bloom, but I saw one.

This cactus cracked me up. Looks like a really tall dude.

An Organ pipe skeleton.

The guide book helped us get our cholla straight. The most common we saw was the chain fruit cholla. More treelike and you could see the chain fruit hanging like grapes, ready to hitch a ride.

The teddy bear was fuzzier looking. Also blooming.

 And covering the ground in a rather unappealing way.

It is a beautiful area!