National Geographic : 1900 Sep
THE COLORADO DESERT Coyote Wells, a historic water-hole, was passed at midnight. The ruins of an old adobe hut and a couple of hacked mesquite trees amid the rock and sand gave suggestion of its former importance as a stage and emigrant station. The long, ghostly sand piles of Super stitious Mountain gleamed faintly in the moonlight on the left, while on the right, clear and beautiful, though miles away and below the line, rose the black dome of Signal Mountain. Daylight only made more clear to the eye the sterile and unredeemable character of this part of the Colorado Desert. Too high for the irrigating waters of the river, rough and hard with broken lava, and desolate with wind-piled sand dunes, it must always remain the abandoned area it is at pres ent. By an imperceptible grade the way led down into soil that pre sented the firm, dry clay deposits of the ancient lake. The discovery of the overflow was unexpected and sudden. There was a wide glint of shallow waters that looked like mirage, then sheets of green things growing riotously in the warm air and wet soil, and a darker fringe of mesquite that bordered lagoons and river. There were in sight a thousand head of cattle recently driven in from the mountains, with heads deeply buried in the succulent herbage. Large flocks of water fowl waded in the shaded margins of the lagoons and filled the air with their cries. The New River had overflowed its banks at this point, the cattlemen assisting the break by cutting in mesquite trees and damming the current, and swift sloughs, some 20 feet wide, were sweeping out over the plain and irrigating the region for miles. Cam eron Lake and the lagoons were full to their brims and the country could be traversed only by making laborious circuits. From Cameron Lake the trail turns southward, following in the main the channel of the New River. The Cocopah Mountains bound the valley for its whole length from the line to the sea on the west. The slopes and sides of the range appear to be utterly devoid of veg etation. Weathering and wind have broken its long mass into vast fragments of stone. Though occasionally exhibiting delicate tints of color, its general appearance is the sand gray and volcanic brown of desert formations. Groves of ironwood grow along its base amid the rough detritus that forms great alluvial fans. Elsewhere along the base of the range there is a vigorous growth of the " okatilla " (Fou quiera spinosa), curious clumps of long, whip-like stalks, devoid of foliage, but covered everywhere with thorns. The creosote-bush (Covillea tridentata)dots the sands. Far back in the cautions are groves of the tall and wonderful desert palms, indigenous to the Colorado Desert region, probably the neowashingtoniafilamentosa.