Tuesday, April 5, 2016

4/3 Hike to Visitor Center

This state park is a little different because the campground is quite a ways away from the visitor center, especially via roadway, but they have connected the two with a paved hiking trail that is handicap accessible.  It makes a nice walk.  I knew it was going to be close to 90 degrees today, so I started out at about 9 am with my sun hat, two bottles of water, and my fanny pack with supplies and some money. 

About three weeks ago, I had an incident in Organ Pipe National Park on a poorly marked trail.  First, I had been told the trail was "easy" when it actually was a lot harder.  Instead of being level and less than a mile, as I had been told, it was 1.2 miles long and gained several hundred feet of altitude, plus I lost the trail in the middle and ended up cutting across the desert to the parking lot, which I could see.  I was not exactly lost, but I was extremely hot and the walking much harder than I should be attempting at my age and condition.  It would have been a lot better had there been maps available and the trail better identified, like this one was.

I can't help showing photos of the incredibly blue sky against the mountains.

This is looking towards the visitor center.  You can't see a building because it is built underground with only one side open, but you can see a few trees at about 12:30 pm in this photo.  Long way to go! 

This is looking back towards the campground and the mountain behind it.

Those tiny dots are RVs in the distance from about a third of the way down the trail.

I was impressed by the number of leaves on this ocotillo.  Most of the time, there are just bare branches.

This is a view of the town in the distance. 

Flowers in the desert sometimes are very small and close to the earth, so you have to look for them.  This plant was about 6" tall.

When I got there, I discovered that the local archeological society was giving tours of their facility, which was a short walk through the desert.

Most of the stuff in this building came from the private collection of the man whose name is on the building and others who collected in this area many years ago.  It is not illegal to collect, but they have preserved what was already there and most had locations document, so there is still a lot of value in studying these artifacts. 

The volunteers built this building entirely themselves, by the way, out of bales of straw and cement.  It is on state park property, so obviously they had to have permission. 

The volunteers have documented, cleaned, and preserved everything that was donated.  In addition, the building is climate-controlled and secure.  

Really, not a bad job for a bunch of mostly elderly amateurs!!  The lady who conducted our tour said she was in her 80s when she helped construct the building.

This is what a natural palm tree looks like, in case you have never seen one.

Only a very few cactus are on bloom.  Most will bloom in June or July, so I will miss them/

Headed back home.  I should have said something to the young guy who was heading to the visitor center from the parking lot and complained at how far he had to walk!! 

Can you see this lizard with the striped tail?  This might be a leopard lizard, but the pattern of spots on his back is slightly different than the pictures I can find online.  He was about a foot long, so fairly big for a desert lizard.

This is a very nice campground for a state park.  Most of the RV sites have water, electric, and sewer connections, although they also have a tent-only area with no connections. 


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