Friday, February 17, 2017

February 17, 2017 Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona

High winds, 70’s and party sunny today. We hiked to Baker Mine.

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We hiked 5 miles ‘for our health’ and got this cute Organ Pipe pin. Scenery on the way to Baker Mine. The old road to Baker mine  is the trail.

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John standing over one of the red tinajas or holes in the rocks that hold water. They are very important to the people traveling in the desert.  Looking up the hill covered with organ pipe cactus.

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John atone of  the Baker mine’s addits.  The sign that is in the opening of the Baker mine,  a piece of blue ore from the mine. The sign in the middle has the safety measures to take when hiking here. Including   watch for illegals and smugglers, watch out for sharp cactus, carry enought water, wear sunscreen and sunglasses.  The last two are some black water bottles- those are what the illegals carry their water in- they don’t show up at night like the normal white ones and more ore from the mine.

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Two more photos of the ore from the mine, the tops of some organ pipe cactus and the twisted stick looking thing in the middle of the 4th photo is called the queen of the night- or the night blooming cereus.  It grows to about 2 feet tall and has one huge white flower that is so beautiful and so fragrant that people come from all over to see it. It only blooms for one night then dies.  The next set of photos the top two are bird nests in the cholla cactus. As I was photographing the first one one of the thorny segments attached it self to the back of my hand. The thorns are barbed so it is really hard to get out. John tried to help me and it got stuck to his hand and every time he tried to remove it it stuck somewhere else. They are called jumping chollas because the segments break off and stick to passing animals or humans, it is one way the plant repropigates, the segment then fall to the ground and root.  it seems like the segments jump up and grab you. The last photo is a map of the hike today. We hiked in fairly narrow canyons full of pretty scenery.

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John walking in an organ pipe forest. Some wierdly shaped cactus. The saguaro as symbol that is recognized around the world- but not those pictured above it.

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John walking back to the trail head. Really pretty views.

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Sue in front of a really big organ pipe cactus. I am holding my arms up like the  cactus, trying to blend in. Walking back to the car we saw another rig with a boat on it. Not some thing you can really use in this part of the country. Mostly people who live in their rigs are the ones with boats, there is no where else to put them but on top.

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There are these tanks of water spread around the area. They are put up by the Humane Borders compassion group to help save lives of the people crossing the desert. Many of the immigrants  are just dropped off at the border by ‘Coyotes’, people who take money from them to get across the border. They tell them that it is only a days walk, or that they don’t need water. Most just don’t realize than in the hot times of the year you can’t carry enough water to make it. Many people die.The Border Patrol has a unit called the Borstar- it is a search and rescue group that searches out people in danger, rescues them and provides medical care.  The border patrol is real into saving the lives of the immigrants.  When they pick them up they first feed them, give them medical care then process them and return them to Mexico. They feel particulary bad when it is children.  They are not out to arrest these people, just help them out. The smugglers are the ones they want to stop. There are tons of tiny plants coming up all over. They are poised to grow fast and bloom when they get some rain, it is going to rain this weekend so hopefully we will see some of them. Phacilia, christmas cactus and crypanthia- nwith little white forget me not kind of flowers.

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Evening light on the desert by the campground.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 14-16, 2017 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

Mid 70’s- 8o’s, sunny and beautiful.

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Organ Pipe is the  northern most range of the  Organ Pipe cactus and the only place in the US where they can grow.  The southern border of the park borders Mexico. It is also one of the moistest desert, so it is pretty lush and green.  John hiking on the trail to the visitors center from the campground.

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View across the valley at the Ajo mountains. The bus at our nice campsite on the edge of the campground.

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Sunset from our campsite. The next day we hiked to Victoria Mine. John is on the trail coming up out of an arryo. They did a great job building this trail, nice stairs.

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John and I at the ruins of the general store at the mine. If we hike 5 miles, fill out their card and have a photo of us on the trails we earn an Organ Pipe pin. This is our photo for the pin. John took this of me hiking in the desert.

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A cholla cactus skeleton, yellow flowers, the Why tower in Why, Arizona we passed on the way here. The town is at a Y in the road, but they would not let them name the town with a single letter, so it is Why.  They have a why not? store with Why-fi. And a photo of an ocotilla and organ pipe cactus together. We went to  a visitor center program called Border Patrol 101. Since the park is on the border the patrol has a high profile here.  It was standing room only and very intersting.

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Saguaro cactus, a mutated one, a normal one and one with wavey arms- it was frost damaged, the arms dropped  but did not die and the tips continued to grow up. . We learned cactus at a park presentation this evening in the outdoor ampitheater. This park has lots of programs and tours. The second set of photos is of a dead saguaro.

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The current masterpiece is coming along. I am going to bead the rim of this with a pattern I am learning called the tubular herring bone rope. It will be cool when it is done. It has a piece of glass I made in the center.  Here it is  the next day finished with it’s rope on the rim.  It is 3 x 5 1/2 inches. I really like it.  John named it End of the Rainbow.

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Cisco is finally finished too. It is 8 1/2 x 7 x 2/1/2inches. There is a piece of dichroic glass that I made in the center that I set in resin. Glass beads and silver looking conchos. It is made out of ponderosa pine needles.  This morning we went to a talk with the Supervisor of the park. It was very interesting. He had them open up the back country roads that were closed last time we were here and they are doing a lot more ranger talks, tours and shuttles for hiking now.

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Sunset tonight .

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John taking photos from on top of the bus at sunset with the sunset reflected in the bus windows.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

February 13, 2016 Ajo, Arizona

70’s and sunny.

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We drove around the Ajo Scenic Drive and then into the Cabeza Prieta wildlfe refuge.  Really pretty places.

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We are very close to the Mexican border and there are warning signs about illegal activities. Also an aid station, push the button and help will arrive, with bottles of water. I love the saguaros.

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The ocotillos are starting to bloom.

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A bud on an organ pipe cactus, fairy duster flowers, odd shaped cactus and Caution Pronghorn crossing.  The desert pronghorns are smaller and different than their northern relatives. They are endangered and live here in this wildlife refuge.

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More lovely cactus.  John enjoying his heart shaped valentine meat loaf sliders.

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We are heading into Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument tomorrow and they have weird generator hours in the campground, so we can’t bake for dinner, so I made the sliders and cupcakes tonight. They are yummy and we can reheat the rest tomorrow. A We love Ajo bumper sticker.

February 12, 2017 Ajo, Arizona

It was in the 80’s yesterday when we arrived in Ajo. Today it is rainy, windy and low 70’s.

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The bus at the Ajo Heights RV park when the sun came out briefly. We also got this lovely rainbow over the park with the brief sun.

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John is fixing the wall sconce on my side of the bed. He went to the hardware store for parts and came home with this lovely valentine bouquet for me.

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I know you all are dying to see photos of my bruises from my bike crash. I am only showing this one from my hip where I fell on my camera that was in my pocket. The bruise is the shape of the camera. Here are the last two cameras I had. The tough cameras are not tough enough for me, but I break everything I touch anyway. These cameras are rated at the best rugged waterproof point and shoots.

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This is the new camera. It even has a cute little LCD screen that flips up for selfies. That will probably be the first thing I break off it. . . the ad on the Olympus website.

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The current masterpiece is almost done, but the thread kept breaking and the beads spilled and I got frustrated so I will finish it later. Meanwhile I am working on a new one. I am making some beads to go around the glass center. It would go faster if I could actually see the holes in the seed beads.

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Scenery in Ajo.  There is the Cabeza Prieta wildlife refuge around Ajo that is breathtaking. The mural on the coffee shop. The night of the lepus is a movie filmed here. It is about giant mutant rabbits. Lepus is latin for rabbit. The movie is so bad it has a cult following. The movie failed among other things because they could not make rabbits scary!

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In another life my name was Sue Flowers. This could have been my trading post. A nice mosiac  welcome sign to Ajo.

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Sunset from our backyard. Two more murals around town. The top one is at the newspaper and book/music store. The bottom on is the same upside down as right side up. This is acutally a picture of a picture of it at the visitors center.

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John cooking some of the medicinal steaks for dinner. The ones that I had on my bike fall wounds. He is also making mushroom rissotto.  The Welcome to Ajo sign on the other end of town.