Yesterday Mary and I started our day with a pre-sunrise walk on the Sonoran Desert here in the park. We walked about two miles not far from our campsite. Our outing lasted one hour and fifteen minutes. Because the sun had not yet broken the horizon…I ended up with a lot of silhouette photos. It was a nice change doing photography without the bright harsh sun overhead.

To see a map of the park, click this link…
http___www.nps.gov_orpi_planyourvisit_loader

Here are a few photos that I took…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

In this first photo of the day you can see the lights of the United States/Mexico Border on the right…

To see the other 25 photos I took, click this link…
https://picasaweb.google.com/110455945462646142273/APreSunriseWalkInTheSonoranDesert

Yesterday completed our last full day of our visit to the monument. A most enjoyable visit it was. Over the last four days we’ve seen thousands of cacti…however none were as big as this one I came across during my 1998-99 Winter in Baja California Sur, Mexico. It was Muy Grande!!!

Today we will move on…uncertain at this time where we will spend tonight.

You can find out all about the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument by clicking this government link…
http://www.nps.gov/orpi/index.htm

You may also click this Wikipedia link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_Pipe_Cactus_National_Monument

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

SETTLED IN AT ORGAN PIPE

January 30, 2012

After an uneventful drive to 4.2 miles north of the Mexican border, at Organ Pipe National Monument, we set up our camp. Organ Pipe is part of the Sonoran desert and has some unique features. For instance, it rains here in summer and winter and, as a result, is the greenest of the four major North American deserts.

We stopped at the visitors center and right then two  Harris Hawks stopped in for a drink in a small pond the back of the building. It is filled with pupfish and the hawks come for a drink of water and occasionally grab a fish snack out of the shallow pond.

One flew into the tree, the other is sitting in the shadows near the pond.

Both hawks  waded in the pond before flying off, but, one has to be fast to get pictures. Their orange colored  breast, white tail feathers, and brown shoulders give them distinct coloration.  We spent about an hour in the visitor’s center and watched a film. Unless you live nearby, you miss the many seasons and vistas in the park; spectacular blooms and creatures that make the desert a living, vibrant place. The ranger gave a 15 minute talk about the various states of development to finally bring this unique place to fully protected status. It not only protects organ pipe and sonito cactus, but pronghorn sheep and a rare whole habitat. Organ Pipe is now a UNESCO bio-preserve, and richly deserves that world distinction.

The park is primitive without electricity or showers. It does have modern bathrooms. We walked out at 7:30 to attend a star-gazing gathering led by a ranger. It was so dark, even with our flashlights, we never did find the amphitheater. We laid back in our chairs and enjoyed the stars on our own. Dark like this is hard to find in our modern world.

We arrived here yesterday after about a 40 mile drive from Ajo, Arizona. The way the crow flies (presumably in a straight line), our campground is only 4.2 miles from Mexico. In the below Google Earth image “X” marks our campground and “B” indicates the border crossing…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

This is the border crossing that I used for my 2004, 343 day, 16,000+ mile RV trip through Mexico and Central America. See my previous blog entry by clicking this link…
http://wp.me/pDCku-3sb

I have crossed into Mexico over the years three different times at this border crossing, but have never taken the time to stop and enjoy Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument…but this year is different. I’m expecting we will be here for a four-day stay.

Approaching our campground area…

Our campsite is delightfully pretty, peaceful and quiet…

After we got everything set up, we went to the visitors center about 1.5 miles away…

During two hours there we saw a hawk in a nearby tree…

I took this photo of a photo of a Gila Monster as I do not expect to see one in person…

In addition we watched nice 15 minute video about the Sonoran Desert and enjoyed an informative 20 minute talk by a park ranger…

We found out the Sonoran Desert is in excess of 100,000 square miles and relatively young at about only 10,000 years old. Also the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is 516 square miles.

Here’s last night’s sunset photo…

After it got really dark, we sat outside for a while and stared at a few million stars. Really neat! The weather forecast for the next several days is for sun and temperatures in the mid to low 70’s. really neat!

Today we will begin our exploration of the monument.

You can find out all about the Organ Pipe Cactus National monument by clicking this government link…
http://www.nps.gov/orpi/index.htm

You may also click this Wikipedia link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_Pipe_Cactus_National_Monument

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,191 other followers