Camping at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

March 29-31, 2016

With temperatures turning suddenly unseasonably cold, we switched gears and headed to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument with Marcel and Christiane, our guests from Montreal.

We camped at Twin Peaks Campground. With solar showers and large, well-kept sites, and great views, it's one of the nicest campgrounds in Arizona.
The first thing I noticed were these unusual pale yellow blossoms on a Teddy Bear or "Jumping" Cholla, complemented in this photo by a small red beetle.
There was a great variety of cholla blossoms at OP, in colors ranging from maroon to copper to bronze.
Marion and Dennis on the Perimeter Trail. Photo by Marcel
It was too cold to eat outside, so we made dinner in the camper and drink wine and told elephant jokes until we were laughing so hard we couldn't breathe!
Zodiacal light — a diffuse white glow that appears to extend up from the vicinity of the Sun along the ecliptic or zodiac — is visible in the exceptionally dark skies of Organ Pipe National Monument.
Starting up the Bull Pasture Trail. Christiane with copper-colored cholla blossoms. The green flower on her pants is a souvenir of our crackling campfire in the Chiricahuas.
Marcel, Christiane, me and Dennis on the Bull Pasture Trail. Photo by Marcel
Marcel and Dennis, overlooking Estes Canyon — so incredibly green in this remarkable El Niño year!
Marcel at the pour-off.
This trail always takes my breath away — in more ways than one! Photo by Marcel
Marcel at Christiane at Bull Pasture.
A short siesta.
We followed the border fence along Puerto Blanco Drive to the oasis Quitobaquito, where a Park Service crew is attempting to stop a slow leak that threatens to drain the pond.

This is such a special place, a true oasis in the midst of the driest desert, fed by a tiny trickle from a natural spring in a nearby hillside.

A Wilson's Warbler darted back and forth in the mesquite canopy. He may be stuck there, since Quitobaquito is one of only two permanent water sources in all of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
On our way home, we stopped to photograph the most magnificient crystate saguaro I've ever seen.
Farewell dinner at Guadalajara.