There's no question that our positive experience was enhanced by two top notch guides, in addition to Susan Cross, our Western Parks organizer. Guide one was author and historian Bill Broyles, who literally has written the book on Organ Pipe. Check it out at ISBN 1-877856-69-X
Guide #2 was retired Organ Pipe ranger, Caroline Wilson.
A bit later we drove past Kitt Peak and its famous Observatory.
Lunch found us in Sells, AZ, where the Desert Rain Café served up local delights including my pork ribs, beans, and salad.
|Ajo is to some degree defined by its gigantic slag or tailing piles left behind by a now closed copper mine.|
Dinner was at the Estrella Diner, which proved to be more of an eclectic international restaurant than a diner. My wife had a salmon burger with delicious sweet potato fries. One of our table mates had a German bratwurst plate smothered with kraut, and I settled for a quesadilla with a tangy homemade salsa. There was also a nice wine list and a great selection of beers including a milk stout that I sampled to great satisfaction.
Fully fortified we now headed for Organ Pipe itself.
This guy listened intently but took no notes.
We saw some rare cactus Cristates (Crested) and even one nestled in the center of an Organ Pipe.
In now dry washes such as the one below early inhabitants may have planted crops along side of rivers that flowed more frequently than now.
And we got a view of an equally rare double natural arch.
There were actually two little ponds. The lower one had actually been dammed at some point.
In sum a most enchanting and educational trip. Thanks again to the Western National Park Association for adding these opportunities to their already wide list of services. Check them out at http://www.wnpa.org/default_html.asp