Organ Pipe Natioanl Park (Desert View Trail)

Saturday 3/2/13

This morning we made our way over to Gina’s at 9am and joined the others for breakfast. We had eggs & sausage, bacon, hash browns and muffins. Gina wanted to make a big scrabble and empty out some food because today Jim was leaving and she had his refer full of food and had no room for it in hers. So we had a feast!!

Yep,,, today was our day to say our,, see ya down the road, to Jim. He had to make his way down into Mexico and check on a piece of property he is having developed. So the group is thinning out little by little. That’s part of the sad times of fulltime Rving. Making friends and then going your separate ways. But the making friends part is fun and the chance of meeting up with your new found friends down the road grow and grow the more people you meet.

We sat around visiting until shortly after 10 and then headed home to get ready to make our way down to the visitor center where at 11 there was a talk about the underground habitat that can be found in the area and the holes that they make.

The talk was scheduled to be a short one but Diane and I stayed after and chatted with Kevin, the speaker ( a volunteer here at the park) for over an hour. We sat and stood in the sun during the presentation and our extended chat with Kevin and it was warming up quickly. Temps were in the low to mid 80’s today.

One of the reasons we wanted to attend the talk was that during our 21 mile scenic loop the other day Diane found a extra large hole compared to the 1 to 3 inch holes you see very often. The hole she found was closer to 12 inches. As it turns out it was most likely a den for a desert fox or badger. Pretty cool find.

After the visitor center we drove down to Lukeville. A small ,, very very small town on the Mexico border. We had to at least go down and check it out. And that didn’t take long. There is a fuel station, a liquor store a post office and a small restaurant and that’s really it.

Border crossing at Lukeville Arizona

Border crossing at Lukeville Arizona

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See the Harris Hawk nest

See the Harris Hawk nest

Diane wanted to buy some booze at the duty free liquor store but we would have had to make the purchase, exit into Mexico and come back through customs. Hardly worth the hassle to save a couple bucks so we passed and went into the small restaurant and had ice cream cones instead LOL!!

Then it was back home where we kicked back and read the rest of the afternoon until about 4 when we decided to take a 1.5 mile hike on the Desert View Trail.

The trail takes you up the side of a mountain where you have some great views of the surrounding area and over the campground. (pictures to come LOL) It’s a looped trail with many stops with information plaques about native plants.

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Midway through our hike we found a Pack Rat Midden at the base of a Organ Pipe cactus. This midden was huge! Diane said it is the Biltmore of middens LOL!! (again,, pictures to come)

See the midden at the base of the Organ Pipe cactus

See the midden at the base of the Organ Pipe cactus

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Middens are made out of anything the packrat could scavenge, including sticks, cactus parts, animals waste, car keys, garbage, and are usually tucked away in a sheltered area at the base of prickly pear, Organ Pipe Cactus, or among rock boulders. The midden acts as insulation for the packrat nest, which lies underground but remains close to the surface. In most cases, you will see middens covered with cholla joints, serving mainly as insulation, but also serve as a defense against coyotes who like to dig up the nests. Several entrance holes are dug, providing for a quick escape should snakes enter the midden! Packrats live alone, unless the female has young.

Evidence suggests that packrats will keep their middens in their family, by passing it down from generation to generation. It seems as if the females remain control of the midden, passing down the nest through female offspring. Due to this constant use, some packrat middens have been dated to over 1000 years in age. The middens have become a great archeological resource, allowing for the monitoring of changing climates, ecosystems, and human activity

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The packrats love to eat the Prickly Pear cactus

The packrats love to eat the Prickly Pear cactus

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The hike was just enough to work up a appetite for dinner.

After dinner of course it was time for a adult beverage and a walk over to Gina’s for happy hour.

As we walked up Gina, DJ, David and Maxine were very attentively watching something on the ground. As it turns out they were watching a couple ants doing battle with a very very small spider. However that small spider packed a pretty powerful punch because from what we could tell it stung or bit one of the ant’s sending it to what appeared to be a painful death.

We wasn’t so sure it was dead yet but out of nowhere  Diane came to it’s rescue and stomped on it!!! Claiming she was doing it a favor by not letting it suffer!!

Now to those of you that know Diane knows that she is a catch and release type of person even with bugs. So her actions with this little ant has to be a surprise to read about. I’m thinking I better watch my P’s and Q’s from here on and stay healthy. And if I do happen to get sick I’m keeper her away from the plug!!! LOL!!

In fact after watching that,,, well,,, act of kindness Gina made mention that she is concerned for my safety and if I feel at all threatened I should send a coded message referring to that poor ant and she would come to my rescue LOL!!

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