Hitch #8: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

This past hitch I was working at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, five miles north of the Mexican border. Above is a picture of an Organ Pipe Cactus, aptly named.

We were removing invasive Buffelgrass, which grows densely and often pushes out native plants, not to mention it’s a fire hazard.

I removed Buffelgrass on a hitch in October with herbicide, but this time we were hand-removing with picks.

After removing each bush of Buffelgrass, we’d fold it in half and then put a rock on top to hold it down.

Here’s a before and after of one of the patches we worked on:

Buffelgrass: Before
Buffelgrass: After

Being so close to the Arizona/Mexico border, Border Patrol had a heavy presence and there were signs about drug smugglers and illegal immigrants.

We had an hour and a half hike out to our work site each day, and we’d always pass a few traces of human lifeā€”like black water jugs (which don’t reflect light) and some old items of clothing.

water bottle

We got to wear ACE sun hats under our hard hats while working out in the sun.

The weather was fantastic all week, and we had an excellent crew. Tomorrow I’m headed to Texas for a monthlong hitch. Happy trails!