Written by: Ray Oltion
Category: DesertCamping
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On a recent outing to Parker for supplies I decided to take the scenic route back to camp, so went east to Bouse, a small town, and then north on the Swansea Road toward the old mine site of Swansea.  On the way I crossed a concrete-lined canal which diverts water to -- you guessed it -- Los Angeles, and just past that was the most amazing landscape.  It was called the East Cactus Plain Wilderness, and was unique in that it had sand dunes and a profusion of ocotillo bushes, which look like cacti but aren't because they have actual leaves.  Their stalks are straight and spiney, reaching maybe 8 to 12 feet high, and are a livid, bright green this time of the year.  (Earl told me that they turn black and dead-looking in the summer, but come back to life when moisture is available.)  These ones were starting to leaf out, so maybe spring is coming to the Arizona desert.  Check out the colors: blue sky, green spires, and red sand dune.  It looked pretty dramatic to me.

Ocotillo plants on sand dunes