n 1866, explorer J. Ross Browne published a description of the place that showed that its reputation had not improved with time, "All the vegetation visible to the eye seems to conspire against the intrusion of man. Every shrub is armed with thorns; the cactus, in all its varieties, solitary and erect, or in twisted masses, or snake-like undulations, tortures the traveler with piercing needles and remorseless fangs. Burrs with barbed thorns cover the ground; the very grass, wherever it grows, resents the touch with wasp-like stings that fester in the flesh; and poisonous weeds tempt the hungry animals with their verdure, producing craziness and death. Add to this the innumerable varieties of virulent reptiles and insects that infest those desolate regions in summer; the rattlesnakes, vipers, scorpions, tarantulas, centipedes, and sand-flies; the rabid polecats that creep around the campfire at night, producing hydrophobia by their bite; the scorching heat of the sun, and the utter absence of water, and you have a combination of horrors that might well justify the belief of the old Spaniards that the country was accursed by God." This scene of the unhappy campers "stampeded by a polecat" illustrated an 1869 magazine article by Browne.