Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Gunsight Wash

Although I had only spent about half a week in Kofa, I decided to take a break from recent rains over the weekend to go checkout Southwest Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It turned into a surprisingly beautiful adventure! I also found a new boondocking campsite nearby for the week, at Gunsight Wash.

The rains at Kofa lasted through Friday, causing me to continue hiding out in the safety of Tivona until Saturday morning, when a break finally came. I packed up and headed south. The goal: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

I decided to head the Southern route, stopping through Yuma for gas on the way, before I made my way down I-10 and the turn off to Ajo. And it was in Ajo that I came back into connection to what’s happening in the rest of the world: I drove right into a pretty sizable protest, given the apparent size of the town. Sometimes, it’s easy to get disconnected from all of those happenings while I’m traveling, and I usually spend the week catching up instead. It was almost refreshing to find myself right in the middle of it. I was half tempted to stop and join them, but I decided that my goal was persistent, and I would carry on.

By mid afternoon, I arrived at the monument. I really didn’t have time to do much besides take the drive to the visitor center at the southern end of the monument, and stop in there for a visit. That’s exactly what I did, deciding to go back out and find a nice campsite that I could revisit the monument on Sunday.

Just north of the monument, going through a border patrol checkpoint on the way out, I came up to Gunsight Wash. Although a sign at the entrance warned of illegal smuggling and immigration being common in the area, I found it full of RVers out camping, seemingly unconcerned. I’ve also spent plenty of time around the border in San Diego, where those concerns are also mentioned, so I decided this would work great, and I pulled in to set up camp!

Sunday morning, I woke and headed straight into the monument again. After another stop at the visitor center, I headed out to do the Ajo Mountain Drive. A mostly dirt 21 mile drive, I took the better part of the morning and early afternoon taking the drive, in addition to the 2 hikes present along the way.

The Arch hike, I actually opted not to do the entirety of, as I was more interested in the other hike instead: Bull Pasture. And Bull Pasture was certainly worth the hike, as I did the entire loop, stopping to gaze at the view of the greenest desert in North America.

The drive itself was of course notable, and I will leave the gallery below to speak for all of its wonder! To my surprise, Organ Pipe Cactus NM is actually now a favorite of mine. For the amazing diversity of life and greenery after all of the recent rains, and the inclusion of several species not present anywhere else in the US. It’s an amazing little corner of the world!

After that adventure, I returned to Gunsight Wash again, where I setup camp once more to enjoy the desert while working for the week ahead.

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