Monday, December 2, 2013

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

November 29 - 30, 2013:

We leave Destiny RV Park at 10 AM, traveling Route 10 west to route 85 south, all the way to Organ Pipe National Monument, 4 miles north of Mexico.  It is a easy drive, good conditions, just the way I like it.  We stopped for a few groceries  in the town of Ajo, AZ, then into the National Monument.  It was an easy pull through campsite, big RV spots, but no hookups, water and dump station are available, need generator.  It is a beautiful campsite, with bathroom and solar shower, (first time for that).  There are several hiking trails right from the campground to keep us occupied and we need to burn off the Thanksgiving feast.  Another short stop, we have reservations at our winter layover for December 1st at Desert Trails outside Tucson.

A crested Saguaro Cactus, like a Christmas star 

Healthy Prickly Pear Cactus

Organ Pipe Cactus view

Organ Pipe Skyscrapers

Very robust group of Organ Pipes

Orange Sunset from the campground

Friday was a big hiking day for us, 5 miles in the morning on the Victoria Mine Trail which goes from the campground to an old mine site with the remains of a stone building (with bathtub) and a few mine remains, tin cans and broken glass, etc.  
In the afternoon, we went to the 21 mile Ajo Mountain Drive and hiked another 2 miles on the Arch Canyon Trail.  The Drive is pretty spectacular, mostly dirt road, rough in places all mountain views and Saguaro, Organ Pipe and many other cactus varieties.  This areas claim to fame is the Organ Pipe Cactus, but they also have Saguaro Cactus to rival Saguaro National Park along with huge variety of other cactus types.

Victoria Mine site

The Bathtub remains 

Room with a view

One of several mine shafts at the site

The Arch at Arch Canyon

A beautiful cave up on the hillside

Twinkles taking a break near the top

Possible fossils we saw in a rock

We then drove the 4 miles to the Mexican border town of Lukeville, previously called "Gringo Pass", the US Post Office there still says Gingo Pass. Lukeville seems to be just a Duty free shop, a poor restaurant, a Mexican insurance store, a small market and gas station. We could not find anything that resembled a town there.

"Gringo Pass" Post Office
Sunday morning I went for a quick 1 1/2 mile hike on the Desert View Trail. A few fitting memories of a beautiful park.

Desert View Trail

Desert View Trail

Close up of Organ Pipe Cactus

View of the campground from the trail

It was then time to hook up and head to our final campsite of the year at the Desert Trails RV Park outside of Tucson Arizona.  We have been moving a little too quickly lately, a bit hectic, it will be good to relax in one place for a while.

Stay tuned, lots to do in Tucson area,
Twinkles and Slick

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