Organ Pipe National Monument

Nature at its best, this is one of the most amazing places, no there are no flashing neon lights, no big crowds, but this is one one of the places that we all should visit at least once. It is the only location in America that the Organ Pipe cactus grow wild, it covers 517 square miles, is just south of Why Arizona and runs to the Mexican border, it is bordered on the east by the Tohono Oʼodham Indian Reservation and on the west by Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.

It is an area that has seen more than a few border jumpers, and they can only hope that the border patrol finds them, as many parish in this piece of the desert where summer temperatures exceed 120 or 44 degrees, while hiking in areas we have seen the barrels of water scattered throughout the area, as a life line to survival on the trek from the border as it is very unforgiving. We have hiked many of the trails and find most to have loose terrain creating difficult footing, and everything here wants to stab or bite you, the cactus alone are just plain mean, and in the summer, snakes, scorpions, and then there is the whole Gila monster a venomous lizard, you get the idea. We visit in the winter and most creatures are hibernating, we have not seen any of these creatures and really don’t think we are missing anything…just saying

One of the meanest cactus have to be the jumping chola, ok it don’t really jump but their tips are so weakly attached that any contact they just break off and stick to anyone or thing that is close. They are a nice looking cactus they almost look bright and inviting, and don’t be fooled by a name as the teddy bear chola has a brown fuzzy appearance but appearances can be deceiving and in this case very deceiving because that fuzzy is all spines. Ouch!

And of course there are thousands of Organ Pipe Cactus, saguaro cactus, prickly pear cactus, and the list goes on. As you drive the loops there are points of interest, that are numbered and correspond to the guide, there will be a number of visits for us during or stay, every time is a learning experience, and did I mention the beauty of the landscape as well.

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