Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
While on location in southern Arizona for BASF I had some free time so I headed down to the the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. This shot was taken before sunrise. I had a powerful flashlight so I lit up the cactus with that, and it also alerted the border patrol. That was fun at O Dark Thirty by the Mexican border!
The desert west of Tucson is about the hottest and driest in the USA. Much of the land is within the boundaries of the huge Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Gunnery Range and closed to the public but another large tract is given over to an Indian reservation, home of the Tohono O’Odham people. The whole area is quite densely covered by various types of cactus including the ubiquitous saguaro, sacred to the local tribe, and the much rarer organ pipe (stenocereus thurberi), which grows only in the far south of the state and particularly strongly in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, an extensive section of pristine desert bordering Mexico.