Organ Pipe National Park (Victoria Mine hike)

Friday 3/1/13

Ok,,, I’m not going to say how great the weather was again this morning,,, I’m just not going to LOL!! But it was!!

Another normal start to the day. Got up,, had coffee and cereal,, Diane walked Jack and we headed over to Gina’s (The solo café) to spend some time with the group.

And it was time to say,,, until next time,, to Kyra. She had to leave today to head off to a Born Free Rally in Tucson.

After visiting for a while a 6 of us decided to hike to the Victoria Mine. A 4.5 mile hike round trip.

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Victoria Mine

, a center for sporadic gold and silver excavations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Ruined stone buildings, rusting pieces of iron equipment and sealed-off mine shafts can be seen, but perhaps the main attractions of the hike are the abundant Sonoran Desert plants en route, and the expansive views across Sonoyta Valley into Mexico. Lesser used paths continue further up the mountains to two other mines (Martinez and Lost Cabin) – locations that used to be more easily accessed via the road to nearby Senita Basin, though this has been closed for several years because of problems with illegal immigration, the international border being just 4 miles south. Victoria Mine is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as one of the oldest prospecting sites in southwest Arizona.

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By the time we started the hike it had to be close to 11am. And as I tried not to mention earlier the weather was great. The temps reached the 80 degree area so the hike was a warm one.

Victoria Mine hike

Victoria Mine hike

I don’t know how the people from yesteryear traveled in the desert like they did with no shade to hide in now and again. My hat’s off to them.

The hike wasn’t bad. It had some short up and down hill areas through some washes. The climbs were just steep and long enough to make you glad that you reached the top LOL!! But the views from the high point areas were very good.

Once we reached the mine and spent some time checking out the old shafts that were well covered and a old shack that had seen it’s better days.

Old building at the end of the Victoria Mine hike. A good place to rest

Old building at the end of the Victoria Mine hike. A good place to rest

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The mine shafts now serve as a habitat for the endangered Lesser Long-nosed bats.

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Adult lesser long-nosed bats are yellow-brown to gray above, with rusty brown fur on their belly. Their tails are short and their ears are small. Like all members of the leaf-nosed bat family, they have a triangular shaped noseleaf that juts from the end of their noses.

Adaptations

These bats are nocturnal in order to feed from the plants like saguaro cactus whose flowers open at night. The flowers are light in color which make them easy for the bats to see. They also produce a strong odor which the bats can smell in the night air. These bats have a long slender face as well as a long tongue which enables then to better reach inside the flower for the sweet nectar.

Habitat

Lesser long-nose bats are found in desert scrub habitat.

Range

They are found in southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, western Mexico, Baja California del Sur and into Central America.

Wild Status

In 1988 these bats were listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. Maternity roost disturbance and effects of habitat loss are the primary threats for these bats.

Diet

They feed exclusively on the fruit and nectar of night-blooming cacti including saguaro and organ pipe, as well as many species of agave.

Predators

Predators such as owls, snakes and bobcats will wait at cave entrances or interiors looking for individuals who have fallen to the ground or those that they can catch in flight.

Home

Thousands of these bats will spend their day roosting in caves or mines. Caves and mines offer general safety from predators, provide the proper temperature, are used as maternity sites, and places to rest during migration.

Life Span

Lesser long-nosed bats live approximately 20 years.

Size

These bats are small weighing only 0.4 to 0.7 ounces (1.2 to 20 gm). They are 2.5 to 3 inches long with a 14 inch wingspan.

Extra Fun-facts

This bat can reach flight speeds up to 14 miles per hour.

Bats are the only mammals that can fly.

Bats are among the most threatened land mammals in North America, with over half the species either listed as threatened or endangered or candidates to become listed as such.

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After checking everything out we settled on a make shift bench and had a snack and took on some water and enjoyed the views before we started our walk back.

With the heat and lack of a breeze I will admit that when we crested a hill and saw a glimpse of the campground I was a bit happy LOL!! I’m sure I wasn’t alone with that feeling.

See the campground off in the distance?

See the campground off in the distance?

Once back at the campground everyone went home and from the sounds of it,, most everyone took a little siesta.

After a short nap and some kicking back outside followed by a little dinner and a walk with Jack we grabbed a couple adult beverages and headed over to Gina’s for a short happy hour.

Then home for a shower and a little time in front of the boob tube.

We just love days like this!!!

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