Being from Nebraska, I’m no stranger to open spaces. But the landscape of my home state is soft, rolling, covered in grass or crops, and dissected by roads at regular, reliable intervals.
At Organ Pipes, nothing is soft; nothing is reliable. Jagged peaks, high enough to catch clouds, jut, without prelude, from flat earth. Hard spines cover nearly every plant audacious enough to grow out of this parched, gravelly dirt. You can not trust your eyes. Cuddly looking teddy bears turn into needle-covered cacti. One mile stretches to ten. A trail that, from a distance looks smooth, turns into ups and downs, dips through washes and scrambles up hillsides.
It’d been about six years since our last visit to Organ Pipes. A million things have changed, I’m sure. But, to our eyes, the increase in motorized Homo sapiens was the biggest difference.