Saturday, January 12, 2008

Border Folly: The Rest, Including Day #3...We Cross Paths With the New York Times

NOB HILL--We made it back about a week ago. We had no internet connection for the rest of the trip. I got sick and put nothing up about the finish. This led to an interesting development.

We had spent the third night at Organ Pipe National Monument...at their backcountry campground. There were only 4 sites, pit toilets, no water, no shade. They were perfect.

By mid-afternoon all the sites were occupied: two by single men who looked like they had given themselves over to the focused, sun-baked look of desert fever, and a young couple who never left their campsite. Everything was peaceful enough. Especially at night once the older wild man quit talking to himself. And the young woman in the next tent quit her rhythmic barking.

Anyway we hiked in the afternoon, ate a good supper and breakfast, and left by about 10:00 a.m.

It is a very lush part of the southwest, warm and full of vegetation. Our campsite was fortunate enough to have the only organ pipe cactus that was actually in the campground. Saguaros were everywhere, as was mesquite, creosote bush and some other native plants.

Most interesting was what is called the Jumping Cholla. This single-stemed cholla has lots of spikey balls attached to its arms that attach themselves to passersby. They don't actually 'Jump,' but they come off the plant extremely easily. In fact, they fall off.

They stick pretty good to your flesh, however. And you can't touch them to pull them off. A ranger recommended using a forked stick.

The New York Times Connection
Anyway, I picked up a copy of this Friday's NYT and found that in the Escapes section, Keith Mulvihill had written a piece on the Arizona Borderlands entitled "A Road Trip On the Edge Of America." He mentions Organ Pipe National Monument. It is a wonderful piece with a lot of information. I will say that Organ Pipe NatMon is definitely at the edge of America: right on the Mexican border and totally out of the way...except that the highway through the Park is the main road from the USA to Puerto Penasco (otherwise known as Rocky Point).
The NYT article has a picture of our campsite! That guy Keith probably moved the picnic table just a hair, but that is definitely our site! I keep wondering about that woman's barking...was that the Times reporter at work? Who knows.

We may have been there at the same time. Maybe not. But I'll tell you one thing: we ate better than they did. Beef Stroganoff for supper. Pan fried potatoes, sausages, eggs, and green chile for breakfast.

2 comments:

supper solutions said...

I think you convinced me Organ Pipe National Monument will be our next trip.
Actually i actually read the NYT peice and we have been talking about Organ Pipe National Monument and maybe going over there.
Nevertheless, i think you made me make the decision
Not only does it sound like a wonderful place, i must thank you for putting these pictures! Now i know it looks like an amazing place. WHat had us talking about it was mainly this well-genius-written sentence : "Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument celebrates the life and landscape of the Sonoran Desert"
You think we should go there as pedestrians or bicyclists or with a private vehicle or motorcycle?

Great post,
Cassandra

johnny_mango said...

I think a private vehicle would be best. More options. Don't underestimate the isolation of Organ Pipe. A car comes in handy. I say this as one who has biked across the entire USA twice: once south to north and once east to west (this past summer).

The small campsite we used was wonderful. It is only for tent campers. Reservations are not accepted. Get a site by going to the visitors center, which is some miles past the campground.