One can’t get to Organ Pipe without driving through the center of Ajo (AH-ho) Arizona. Ajo owes it’s existance to this hole in the ground. A mine called the New Cornelia, which later became owned by Phelps Dodge Corporation.
It was a company town, and not like companies of today, they wanted happy employees. The company built this plaza to house most of the early business ventures. Even a movie theater.
The plaza was anchored by the train depot.
It’s been a while since the last train passed through.
Across from the plaza is the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
The local school. 1750 students in Ajo in 1965.
Sadly, things went bad in 1983 with a bitter strike by employees of the mine. The mine was closed in 1984 and most folks left town. Phelps Dodge began marketing the company houses as winter homes to tourists. An example.
They left behind millions of tons of waste rock, as well of this hill of bleached slurry which was left over from the ore processing. This hill is probably 200 feet high and over a mile long.
On another day I hiked a seven mile route through the Monument. Nothing special to see, but it was enlightening. Hiking with the same guy.
A human highway.
Water placed strategically by some Samaritan group. Park Service and Border Patrol do not remove it.
Water jug dropped by someone. Black bottle thought to be sign of illegal.
Busted bicycle. Once green, it had been camoflaged with black paint.
Whatever their reasoning, drug running or just entering illegally, it is not a friendly enviornment. I couldn’t imagine trying to cross this terrain without more water than one could possibly carry.
On a brighter note, we are surrounded by these little guys in the campground. Gambel’s quail. They are constantly on the move, and hard to get a picture of.
And, we have suffered through one of these each afternoon.
That’s what has been happening so far this week….jc