Puerto Blanco Drive

Saturday found us back at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, I just decided to escape the basement and the inverter install for a day, today we decided to do the westerly loop at the Organ Pipe National Monument, this loop is only accessible with a high clearances vehicle. We as always are in awe of the rugged beauty that is the Arizona desert just us and the cactus, a windy rough road leads us through miles of the Sonaran desert with the mighty Saroro standing guard as we adventure through this area.

Because it is the weekend we were expecting to have more people on the loop but there was only one other vehicle on the loop today, and it was from “humane boarders” vehicle this is an organization whose sole purpose is to aid the migrants. This is just part of their mission statement: “Our water stations consist of one or more 55-gallon blue industrial-strength plastic barrels fitted with spigots. We place these drums on stands to keep them off the desert floor and fill them with water, which we replenish whenever that’s necessary. We visually examine the water, test it for particulates, and taste the water on each run. If the water tastes bad, or we see algae floating on the surface (a potential issue in the hot desert environment), we replace the barrel and fill it with clean, fresh water.” They mark the barrel location with a blue flag atop a 30 foot high pole to be visible to any migrant in the area, and as much I do not agree with their migration, I don’t believe these people deserve to die in the desert. Since 1999 over 3000 migrants have died while trying to make their way to a better life.

This is one of the many rescue stations that are located all along the border, they are a solar operating beacon with a flashing blue lamp atop of a tower anchored to a concrete base, there is a call button that alerts the border patrol that you need…just as a note as we drove out of the western loop we noticed a whole family sitting by the border fence just waiting for the border patrol to pick them up.

Wash that has exposed a large rock cropping

Again the wildlife has seemed to elude us as other that a couple of ground squirrels, and a glimpse of a small buck in the side of one of the mountains that was our wildlife exposure, oh there are a few birds but you hear them a lot more than you see them. But the beauty of the area is everywhere, the washes that reveal the power of the rain water as it erodes the landscape, and the cactus look so nice, but have so many sharp spines that want to stab you, in fact it’s not just the cactus, almost every form of plant life is trying to keep you away…just saying

Little leaves…Big spines

We had to transverse many washes as we drove through the loop, and as we settle back down to a flatter portion of the desert, we come to an abandoned corral, with a old windmill that used to operate a water pump for the cattle. Before this was turned into a National Monument it was a pasture area used by ranchers. I really don’t know what the cattle grazed on as there doesn’t appear to be any of the grass land that I naturally associate with a pasture.

Windmill pump and water trough at Bonita Well

Bonita well had the remnants of a windmill that pumped the water to water the cattle, there was a corral, and a ramp to unload or load the cattle from the height of a truck

Loading ramp tucked behind a cactus