While we were in Tucson, we made a last minute change of plans to head down to Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) Mexico.  Since the drive from Tucson to Puerto Penasco was to be 3.5 hours, we decided to break it up by making a one night stop at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  Not only was it a beautiful park and campground, it allowed us to dump and top-off our fresh water tanks before making the trek into Mexico.

The campground here was SO big! There were 208 sites and probably 6 campers there total.

Campsite at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

It was interesting that on approaching the park we didn’t see any organ pipe cacti yet soon after entering the park boundary the landscape was covered in them! Was it just that slight of an elevation change that created a breading ground for them? We’re not sure the reason. We noticed right away some big differences between young saguaro’s and organ pipe cacti. The saguaro’s are much thicker with a white cluster of spikes at their top, they are solitary and have much stronger and larger spikes. Organ pipes always grow in groups, have a red and black cluster of spikes at their top and have much finer spikes.

Organ Pipe Cactus

First thing’s first. We needed to decorate our tree!! The girls and I spent a lovely afternoon cutting our and gluing flet together to create some orniments for our rosemary bush Christmas tree. We now have a big horn sheep, a kitty cat, an albino flamingo (don’t judge people, I couldn’t bring all my felt from home), a princess pack rat, a sewing machine and a Wobbles. More to come in the near future! We had SO much fun doing this. I almost didn’t want to explore the monument!

Decorating the tree

We finally peeled ourselves away and walked from our campsite to the 1.2 mile Desert View Trail loop. It was such an interesting landscape with lots of varieties of cacti.

The other change in landscape from the high desert where we visited on the first part of our trip was that the ground was full of life! It was all prickly plants of some sort but there were small shrubs, cacti and flowers filling most of the desert floor. This was a change from the barren desert we experiened previously.

The desert is teeming with life!

The girls’ collection of Jr. Ranger badges is growing!

Jr Ranger Pledge