Wednesday, March 16, 2016

3/16 Van Tour to Quitobaquito Oasis, Organ Pipe Natl Monument

Even if they would allow my motorhome on this dirt road, I don't think I would want to drive it on the ten miles of washboard!  The park service offers a free, three-hour van tour, so I signed up.  Note that the road to this oasis goes right along the Mexican border.  The fence in the distance is 12' tall and is difficult to climb over.  There are also electronic monitoring towers all over this area.  (Note: The spots in the photo are from the dirty van windshield.)

Photo of the rough road getting to the parking area.  It was about 10 miles long.  The border fence in this area is lower and just prevents vehicles from crossing.  People can easily duck under the fence, but they would have to avoid all the border patrol agents we saw and they also would have an extremely dry 30 miles hike north to the nearest road. 

This road we came in on was at least 300' away from the fence and is maintained by the park. 

Here I am standing next to the fence, with the road used by the border patrol facing west.  Only border patrol vehicles are allowed on this road, which is right next to the border fence. 

Now here is the funny part.  We have been bumping along the border on a dirt road.  Immediately on the other side of the fence is a Mexican paved two-lane highway. 

They aren't completely sure what Quitobaquito means because apparently the American's took the Spanish word and modified it to something that made sense to them.

Lots of these signs around. This national monument was once called the most dangerous park in the country, and 70% of it was closed from 2003 after a ranger was killed.  Here are some articles about the closure and reopening:

You can see willows and more trees in the distance where the spring is.  Not too long of a walk.

Native American people lived near the spring for thousands of years and used the resources.  There was a large adobe village near here which was destroyed.  In the 1800s, the spring was dammed up by cattle owners to produce this large pond. 

Some coots were diving for pupfish.

The trees make a bit of shade to enjoy on a hot day. 

The spring cannot be seen because it is hidden in the marsh reeds, but this is the narrow channel that was made to funnel water into the pond.  It is actually cement.

You can see pupfish in this area where the water from the springs enters the pond and marsh area.

If you look closely in this photo, you can see the fish.  If not, click on the video link below.
Click on the link for video of the very small, endangered pup fish in the above tiny part of this pond:
Here also is an article about these fish:
Heading back to the campground, with a better view of the taller, people-proof fence.

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