Why or Why Not
We left Congress, AZ and headed down to Why, AZ after hearing from some of our friends that Why was a nice place to go hang out for a while. We also heard that Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was a pretty place to visit as well, so we thought, what the heck? Why not visit Why? The night that we arrived definitely did not disappoint! It seemed to welcome us with open arms!!
We stayed in is the BLM land just outside of town. It’s just an open area that you can pull in, park your rig, and stay. It doesn’t cost you anything, and there aren’t much in the way of rules. As in, there are no particular generator hours, quiet times, etc. If you don’t like what your neighbor does, pack up your stuff and move. Here’s what the view was like looking out our side windows. Not too shabby. And the stars at nights were simply AMAZING!!
We took a day and visited Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We stopped by the Kris Eggle Visitor Center named after a park ranger who lost his life defending this park. Sadly, this 28-year old was gunned down while pursuing members of a drug cartel who illegally crossed the border after committing a string of murders in Mexico. It reminds us just how dangerous the job of being a park ranger can be sometimes. The National Monument was established in 1937 and protects most of the natural habitat of the organ pipe cactus within the US. These cacti are rare north of the US-Mexico border, but they flourish within this area.
We took the 21-mile drive along the foothills of the Ajo Mountains. The road really winds and dips within and among the hills and mountains.
This particular organ pipe cactus has an abnormal growth on an arm in the middle of it. This growth is called a “crest” and can occur in almost all plant species. What I find so fascinating is that this beautiful phenomenon is still unexplained in the scientific world! We stopped along the way to take a short hike up Arch Canyon where you can enter into some of the foothills of the high country of the park.
These particular arches were formed by weathering, not wind. A cycle of heating, cooling, and freezing causes cracks which gets fills with moisture, which then evaporates and leaves behind salt crystals. The crystals grow in the cracks and then cause pieces of rock to break off a flake at a time to form the arches. And Voila!! These arches are rare in the park.
As we were hiking, I kept hearing this bird singing to us off in the distant, or so I thought. All of a sudden, I looked over and there it was. This Gambel’s Quail (Callipepla gambelii) just off the trail giving us a bit of show all to ourselves! I love it when things like that happen!!
In some areas, there were even some wildflowers that were beginning to bloom. I was kind of wishing that we were here about a month later because I’m sure there would have been many more like these in bloom!!
All in all, this drive along the Ajo’s were just stunning!! As we returned “home” afterwards, Ev, the camphost came over to share the amazing sunset with us and told us the story about the sleeping princess over in the mountains. The sunset makes her easier to see.
Then we got to just end the whole day with an amazing sunset with some clouds and incredible colors in the sky!! So, if you find yourself down near the small, small town of Why, AZ and wondering if you should stick around and check out the the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, wonder no more. As Nike would say, Just Do It! Hope you’ve enjoyed the virtual tour!
Happy Trails Everyone!