This was a long weekend trip to the west side of the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve. We encountered no other humans. The trip went to Sykes Crater, MacDougal Crater, and Tinaja de los Papagos, among other areas. It was a somewhat dry spring.
I'd been wanting to go to the Tinaja de los Papagos for years. I expected a beautiful desert oasis that has harbored and sustained humans and wildlife for millennia in a sea of black rock, desert, and heat.
When I finally got there it was horribly degraded by cows and had an ominous feeling to it... the polar opposite of what I was expecting. I have never had such a strong negative feeling from an area. My girlfriend was so disturbed by the this bad presence that she wouldn't hike up the canyon and tried to get us to leave the entire time, even tearing up at one point. Very strange.
It felt as if it had been cursed and Europeans (and cows) were to blame for destroying something special and beautiful. It was also nearly dry, which is not normal... the tarp hanging in the photo is the ranchers last attempt to prevent the sun from evaporating what water was left.