Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Part 3: Random Observations. Plus, Saguaros Gone Wild

In addition to the other hikes and walks, I took a couple mile jaunt near a wayside that yielded some interesting piles of tuff and more cactus; there were also more views of the Ajo Mountains similar to those I posted before. Although, as I mentioned, many photos would end up looking the same, the subtle differences in the landscape were fascinating to me since this was my first time in the Sonoran desert and I remained enthusiastic about exploring different places within the same areas.

Another quick note: I was there in late February – far too early for most cactus blooms and many desert flowers but I did see a few including a blooming barrel cactus in the campground. Even though it was barely spring, the desert and mountains were incredibly green and really quite beautiful; I can only imagine what the park looks like blanketed in flowers.

Blooming Barrel Cactus in campground, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Blooming Barrel Cactus in campground, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

A walk through the desert near Tilloston Peak Wayside, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

A walk through the desert near Tilloston Peak Wayside, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Near Tilloston Peak Wayside, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Near Tilloston Peak Wayside, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Quartz near Tilloston Wayside, Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona

Quartz near Tilloston Wayside, Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona

Near Tilloston Peak Wayside, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Near Tilloston Peak Wayside, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Another thing I enjoyed immensely were the Saguaro Cactus. Many people think of the Saguaro as the iconic two-branched totem of the desert, with equal but offset arms, however the reality is that there are endless variations, many of which appear quite whimsical. It was fun spotting the strangest ones though admittedly I didn’t stop to capture some of the best ones, which could be seen driving through the park on Route 85 within five or so miles of the Mexican border.

Saguaro, Ajo Mountain Drive, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Ajo Mountain Drive, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Ajo Mountain Drive, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Ajo Mountain Drive, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Double saguaro, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Double saguaro, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Lots of kids on one side of the family, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Lots of kids on one side of the family, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Alamo Canyon Trail, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Alamo Canyon Trail, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Alamo Canyon Trail, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Alamo Canyon Trail, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Victoria Mine Trail, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Victoria Mine Trail, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Victoria Mine Trail, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Victoria Mine Trail, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Palo Verde Trail, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Saguaro, Palo Verde Trail, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona