Visit to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Yesterday morning, we decided to drive the 40 miles south to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  The park borders Mexico.

It was a beautiful drive just west of the Ajo Mountain range.

Ajo Mountain range

Ajo Mountain range

Soon we were at the visitor center to sign in. 


Our goal was to take the 26 mile Puerto Blanco Drive around the Puerto Blanco Mountains.

Around 1 PM, we started our drive north out of the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. The road is the black line encircling the Puerto Blanco Mountains.

Map of drive

The North Puerto Blanco Drive is a two lane road, partially paved for the first five miles and then becomes a one lane dirt road recomended for high clearance vehicles.  The mountain views in this area were beautiful.

Pinkley Peak in the forefront

Puerto Blanco Mountains

Puerto Blanco Mountains

We had driven around five miles down the one-way road when we stopped to take a few photos and noticed a car coming up from behind us, so I pulled over to let them pass. 

There was a woman driving and a man in the passenger seat.  They looked to to the be in their sixties.  Then things turned strange.

They drove ahead for about 50 feet and stopped in the middle of the road.  There is no passing unless someone pulls to the side in a wide area.  They just sat there with their brakes on for about five minutes.  They then slowly moved down the road for about 100 yards and stopped again in the middle of the road.

They didn’t get out or do anything but stop.  This went on for about a half mile with them stopping and going slowly.  Several times they slowly backed their car towards us.  By the second stop, we had backed up to make sure there was plenty of room between us. 

This is remote country and both of us were getting uncomfortable with the situation.  Finally, we stopped and waited for about 10 minutes hoping they would be on their way.  After they were out of sight, we proceeded cautiously.

It wasn’t long before we could see them stopped again.  This time, one of them got out of the vehicle and the car then drove on.  We had enough.

I turned the jeep around and we drove for five miles the way we had come going the wrong way.  Fortunately, we did not encounter any vehicles.

Stopped at the visitor center and reported the event to the law enforcement there.

Park ranger

We decided to drive on down to the Mexican border to the South Puerto Blanco Drive and visit the Quitobaquito Spring right on the Mexican border.  You could see the fence along the border. 

Mexican border fence

As we drove along the fence, we could see the Mexican town of Sonoyta on the other side.  There is a nice highway running along the border on their side.  They probably look over at our dirt and rocky road and say, “Those Gringos must be poor.  They cannot afford to pave their roads.”

The spring looked like a small lake with reeds around it.  We got there just as the sun was getting low to the west and it looked beautiful.

Quitobaquito Spring

Quitobaquito Spring

By the time we got back to camp, the sun was setting.  It was a long day and we were all tired.


See you later.


  1. That's a scary situation that close to the border, nut you made a good choice to turn around. Hope you were able to get their plate #. Becki

    1. Like dummies, both Dolly and I had cameras but never thought to take a picture of the car. Still had a great time there.

  2. That's a scary situation that close to the border, nut you made a good choice to turn around. Hope you were able to get their plate #. Becki

  3. I'm surprised they have re-opened that Puerto Blanco road because it was closed when we were in that area about 8 years ago. It's a major drug traffic route & a Ranger was killed out there. I'm guessing your mysterious car had something to do with drugs. Take the Ajo Loop drive across the road from the visitor's center. It's a great drive & the druggies are not out that way.

    1. Interesting. Glad we turned back. We took the other loop a couple years ago. Rough road, but pretty.