Sunday, March 20, 2016

3/17 Ajo Mountain Van Tour

I had planned to leave Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument this morning, but this 9:00 am tour had been full yesterday, so this was my only opportunity, so I delayed leaving until noon.
The problem is that the scenic drives in this park are all dirt, and the one that is supposed to be the most scenic, this one to the Ajo Mountains, is closed to vehicles over 22 feet long, so I really wanted to take it.  Actually, the road is so bumpy, I would not have wanted to subject a car to that road anyway.  This photo shows part of the mountains.

The van stopped at this organ pipe cactus, because it is extremely unique in two ways. First, one of its arms has developed a crested or "cristate" form.  You can see the strange formation in the center.  Second, it has arms growing on its arms, which seldom happens in an organ pipe cactus.  

Here is a close-up of the crested arm.  It almost looks like something has caused it to grow fans or layers.  No one knows what causes this, but it happens in other types of cactus, as well, although it is very rare.

Another view.

And here are the strange arms growing on the regular stems of the cactus.

This is a baby organ pipe cactus.  You can see two very small new stems growing from the base.

Nice view of an arch.

Looking back west towards the main part of the national monument.

Very pretty area, but much too hot to hike in most of the time!

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