Slow Burn

A lingering sunset over Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, AZ. Ten years ago, this was known as the “most dangerous National Park in the United States”. The parks southern boundary is the U.S.-Mexico border, and back then drug smugglers were able to drive their trucks right through the barbed wire border fence and into the United States. In 2002, 28 year old park ranger Kris Eggle was shot and killed in a gun battle with drug smugglers in a remote area of the park. Since then, a “vehicle barrier” has replaced the barbed wire fence and U.S. Border Patrol presence has increased dramatically. I was constantly seeing their trucks on route 85, the highway that cuts through the park, and on the park roads. I saw their ATV tracks out in the desert, and their plane flying low over the park at sunrise. In a conversation with one of the park rangers, I learned that the increased Border Patrol activity has pushed most of the smuggling traffic to less scrutinized locations. None the less, I was constantly scanning my surroundings for any suspicious activity.

This shot was captured at sunset after hiking across the desert to get a vantage point from the base of the Ajo Mountains. Please click on the image to enjoy a larger view.  IMG_2535

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