2/17/2014 – Lots of cactus but no Log Lady

We spent our last night in the US at the Twin Peaks campground in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, about 10 miles from the Mexican border, and it was a great place from which to exit.

First off, like Joshua Tree National Park, there is a park entrance fee that’s good for 7 days.  Everyone entering the park has to pay this whether they’re camping or not.  Campsite fees are on top of that.  Well, our first bit of good luck was that, four times a year, they waive the entrance fee.  And Presidents’ Day weekend is one of those 4 times.  Since Monday the 17th was still part of the weekend, we didn’t have to pay the fee.  Next, at the Ranger’s station at the park entrance, they asked if I was 62 or over.  I said yes, and they said that I could, for $10, buy a Senior Pass that waives the entrance fee at every National Park and Monument as well as cutting the campsite fees in half FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!  Now that’s a card worth having. Needless to say, I forked over the $10.  The pass and my half-price campsite came to a total of $16 for the night.  Next time it’ll be $6.00.  For that, I can forgive them the cold water shower that was supposed to be solar-heated.  The first person who takes a shower after the roof-mounted collector has been in the sun awhile probably gets scalded at first but then, once the little bit of water in the collector has been used, gets to finish with cold water like everyone else.  They need some storage.  A black plastic tank like you see on the top of nearly every building in Baja would probably do the trick.

We found our campsite and got set up.  Now “getting set up” when there are no hook-ups consists mostly of parking level.  And, since these sites were dead-level concrete pads, getting set up was reduced to turning the (propane) on for the fridge and putting out the foot-wiping mat.


Our first order of business, after celebrating a successful arrival with a cerveza, was to go for a hike.  There are a number of hikes originating from the Twin Peaks Campground but we opted for the longest one, the Victoria Mines Trail.  It was only 4.3 miles round trip but that was plenty.  It’s not a strenuous hike unless you hoof it which, I guess we did since we did the round trip plus a 20 minute or so stop for snacks at the mine, in a little under 2 hours.  I know my legs were tired when we got back and my feet were crying to be let out of their shoes.


The start of the trail.


Cholla cactus bearing fruit.


One seriously tall Saguaro. Lulu is 64″ tall. Anyone out there want to get out their dividers and calculate the height of the cactus?


Cactus skeleton.


Organ Pipe Cactus mixed in with Ocotillo (which is not a cactus although it has wicked spikes on it).



IMG_2158 IMG_2161

My biggest complaint about the hike was that there was basically no interpretive data at the mine site.  One of the brochures mentioned that this building is the old store but that’s the extent of the info.  The mine shafts, I assume, are the holes in the ground covered by enclosures to keep people out.  But I don’t know that because there are no signs explaining anything.  Oh well, can’t have it all I guess.



About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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3 Responses to 2/17/2014 – Lots of cactus but no Log Lady

  1. Scott Wedge says:

    I estimating 45 feet tall. Even large pipe organs pipes are no bigger than 32′. There are only two organs in the world with longer pipes: Sydney Town Gall Grand Organ has a Contra-Trombone 64′, and the Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ’s Diaphone-Dulzian 64′ in Atlantic City, NJ. The frequency of the low C, three octaves below middle C is 8 Hz, well below human hearing, but easy to feel and harmonics are audible. The 45′ pipe would be roughly a fifth above the C, but still sub-audio. (Ain’t the wiki fun?)

    Right, organs do not have cactus juice in the pipes

    What was that about the log lady?


  2. Don Strong says:

    Such magnificent country, and so unspoiled. Thank goodness for a lack of water, erratic rainfall, and the disinterest of the US to annex it back then.

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