In The Desert
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Organ Pipe Cactus
National Monument, Arizona
Your first stop should be the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. The visitor center was designated with his name in Nov. 2003 in his honor. Unfortunately he died in the line of duty while chasing a gang of Mexican Drug Dealers. Because of this and the high volume of illegal traffic inside the park boundries the 53 mile drive has been closed along with a couple of other areas. Something should be done about this situation, after all this is one of our National Monuments.
Visit the Organ Pipe Web Site
When you enter the Ajo Mountain Drive in the desert here, it looks greener than most places in the Sonoran Desert. They get a higher annual rainfall. This is one of the prettiest places in the desert. Don't let this fool you, you're still in the desert, and it can be a dangerous place, with venomous snakes, and insects. It is steep in places, so keep an eye on the road, Motorhomes and long trailers are not allowed on this road.
Don't hesitate to get out and look around. Views like this can be deceiving. There is a very steep canyon here with a rather large natural cave in the far side. The mountains here are very rugged and very photogenic. Take a lot of photos.
A closer look a the cave. Did the Indians use this for shelter? Do animals live in there? When you visit Organ Pipe remember this and hike in to see for yourself.
These photos were all taken in the month of April, which is a great time to visit the Monument. A lot of the cactus were blooming and the weather was great. This is a hedgehog cactus in full bloom. Winter time temps usually average around 60 with low's in the 40's.
There is a large variety of Cholla cactus in the Monuments boundry. This time of the year you'll see a lot of them in full bloom. Organ Pipe is only a short drive south of Ajo, Arizona and even closer to a small town called Why, Arizona. It's also only a short distance from the Mexican Border.
Here is a Prickly Pear cactus that was blooming. Very colorful this time of the year.
Another Cholla. A different variety than the one above. You won't have to travel far or look too hard to find a lot of blooming cactus this time of the year.
Here is the Organ Pipe Cactus, common in Mexico, it can not tolerate cold so is only found growing on south facing slopes. It's rare in the United States except for Organ Pipe. You'll find a large number of them here and they do get very tall.
Most of the roads in the park are similar to this one. Some may be a little worst, but most times a 2 wheel drive is all that is required. See the phone number at the bottom of the page if you need updates on road conditions, entrance fees, etc.
Ocotillo, Cholla, Saguaro, and more. A very diverse natural area.
Also found here for some unknown reason are dis-figured Saguaro cactus. They may not be dis-figured -- but they do grow here in very odd ways, see more below.
Linda is standing next to a very unusual Cholla cactus -- the Chain Fruit Cholla, named for the long chain of fruit that hangs down from the upper branches. They can get very tall here.
One of the many Saguaro Cactus growing in the monument. This one was photographed at the Arch Canyon stop on the Ajo Mountain Drive.
Not just one arch but one above the other. Look closely and you can see where the upper arch is. This is a very large arch that you could easily walk under.
Another Chain Fruit Cholla. There a lot of them in the Monument and some are over 6 ft tall.
One of the many canyons and steep mountainous areas of the Monument. This is one of the greener places in the Sonoran Desert.
This is one of many unusual Saguaro Cactus in the Monument. It looks like a mother hugging her child.
Have fun ---------
Shown here - Organ Pipe National Monument - center of the map.