Our visit was in the Spring of 2011, following the Big Freeze that happened that winter when a surprising amount of snow fell. Even more surprising were the super-low temperatures that lasted for days after that storm.
Prickly Pear cacti abound in these parts, but at Fort Phantom then it was desiccated in a really strange way -- especially when you're used to seeing swathes everywhere of the plump, green disks with sharp thorns sticking out. The stuff is tough and widespread, but those days of freezing temps along with the snow, did a lot of it in. It was dried and shriveled so that its inner structure could be seen, which looked like netting.