Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Click on any picture to see it full-size.

We got to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument around 2 pm, after driving south from Phoenix and spending some time in Gila Bend, reserving a camp site for the night and having lunch before driving south. We pulled off the road on the way to admire all the wonderful cactus and cholla and palo verde trees, and then piled back in the car and headed for the visitor's center.

There was a nice ranger lady there who told me a lot about stuff to do; we discussed the options and decided to drive the Ajo Mountain Loop, which took us about three hours (mostly because of the number of times we stopped to look at stuff and take pictures). Oh, and this is Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument because it's one of the few places this kind of cactus grows, but there were all kinds of other cacti and chollas as well, and a lot of them were blooming!

The first two of these are from the beginning of the day, and are Jim's. He caught me and Nellie in some obviously seriious conversation (not!) and a good shot of the road into OPCNM. And the third one is, I think, the only Night Blooming Cereus that any of us photographed. And of course we didn't see any of them blooming...not only was it daytime, but I think their season is different from anything else.
This next bunch (most of the page) are all my photos.

This is an Organ Pipe Cactus. They grow in bunches, like, well, organ pipes.

Saguaro roots

Jim and a saguaro. This shows how big they are, they were amazing.

Blooming ocotillos.

A close-up of an ocotillo, slightly past bloom.

Can I PLEASE make a rude comment here? Please?

Whoa! Stop the truck!

This was our first seriously blooming wild prickly pear, and it's BEAUTIFUL.

And the bee and the tiny wasp are pretty cool too! My camera really came through on this one, you can even see the pollen on the bee...

The ocotillos, after they bloom, suddenly burst out into green leaves on what had up til then looked like dead dry thorny branches. Amazing!

Some kind of hedgehog cactus with one bloom.

The trail called to me...but it was too hot for everyone else. Next time!

Those were my pictures of the Ajo Mountain Loop; the next bunch are Jo Nell's. She was really good at capturing the landscape we were in.
This is one of my favorite pics of me on this trip. See me holding up the huge cactus? Made me laugh.
I don't usually process my pics, or use special effects other than monochrome, but I hit a button and it did this, and it looks kind of cool. So I kept it.