Let's play count the cacti!

Trip Start Jul 04, 2012
Trip End Jun 04, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Monday, January 14, 2013

After catching up on our Arizona history in Yuma our next stop was Organ Cactus National Monument.  Truth be told we were all looking to get out into the desert again and enjoy the open spaces and quiet. HWY # 8 runs close to the Mexican border, as a result we were stopped several time at U.S. Boarder Patrol check points - a new experience for us.  Lots of officers with side arms and police dogs, looking for drugs and illegal immigrants.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is located in the Sonoran desert along the  Mexican border. The park boasts the northern most range of the Organ Pipe Cactus in North America, lots of Saguaro cactus, the only home to the endangered Quitobaquito Pupfish (tiny saltwater fish), and also home to the endangered Sonoran Pronghorn Antelope of which there are only less than 100 remaining.  Organ Pipe Cactus do look similar to organ pipes in a church and also hum when the wind blows through the arms.  Saguaro cactus are those iconic cactus of the desert and start growing their arms at 80 years old.

We ended up staying a whole week at the lovely park campground. We drove the scenic 30 km Ajo Mountain Drive stopping to compete the Rock Arch Trail hike.  Listened to the wind sing through the cactus and watched two redtailed hawks ride the thermals.  Carolyn and I attended several evening ranger talks on subjects such as the Sonoran Pronghorn, climate change and the National Parks, and America's National Parks.  Both boys completed yet another Junior Program (their 4th).  Carolyn was quite proud of herself after completing the Desert Ranger Program. Well done!!!  We also hiked the Puerto Blanco Trail and the 7km Victoria Mine Trail.  The latter leading to a 1880's abandoned copper mine. We were quite proud of the boys for being able to hike that far!

Zak also celebrated his 8th birthday.  The first time he has not celebrated this big day at home without friends to hang out with, but he thought that this birthday was the best so far!

We much enjoy the Sonoran desert and the beautiful vistas of this region, and are looking forward to exploring more of the area.
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