Red Sands, Thirst

7-8-09_MesquiteAndSand

I went back to Red Sands to look for tracks of the animal and follow them hopefully to observe and photograph some but found no trace of any of them. Research revealed that they can be unpredictable. They avoid but don’t fear people and they don’t like cars. If threatened they tend to flee. Otherwise, usually, they’ll turn their sides to you to intimidate with their size. The next step is to point their horns at you. I don’t think they bluff if they decide to charge and they will use their awesome horns. I borrowed a camera with 10X zoom to stay farther from them for photos. (I don’t name them here because some folks have to wait until I get pictures.)

This became an adventure because I went too far for my water.

Snake mark.
Snake mark.

It rained last night so old tracks were gone. The rain gave the sand a different texture. I think this trail is from a snake. There are no foot prints near it.

Cow bones.
Cow bones.
Owls.
Owls.

Several of these owls lived in a certain area. They are about one foot tall.

Sand and stick.
Sand and stick.

The wind blows around objects like sticks and rocks and makes dips in the sand. It blew the sand from underneath this yucca pole to make a ridge next to it.

Ant holes.
Ant holes.
Stream
Stream

Water flows here during a rain. I noticed that there are no arroyos in this area. There is no cactus either.

Shade under mesquite.
Shade under mesquite.
100 degrees in the shade.
100 degrees in the shade.

I rested in the shade under this mesquite bush. It was tall enough that I could sit under it. I used a stick to clear the the loose thorns from the ground. 100 degrees in the shade. From here I went west until I was about 3.5 miles from the highway.

Metal.
Metal.

This is probably a piece of an aircraft or missile tested in the forbidden zone. About two feet long. It is light and has no rust. I think it is aluminum. I discovered on a map that the edge of the forbidden zone is about 7 miles from the highway so there is plenty to explore.

I took this picture on the way out. Shortly after taking it I realized that I had made a mistake. I went too far for the water I brought and didn’t drink enough on the way in. The water in your body keeps you alive not the water in your canteen. So the only option is to take enough, drink enough, and don’t go farther than your water will support. Without enough water both dehydration and heat are problems. I didn’t bring high energy food and didn’t have water in the truck.

Nature does not tolerate bad decisions.

Given that it was not far to the truck, and the highway, and that I had cell phone reception the likelihood of a survival situation was low. However, if I became fatigued, disoriented, or confused from dehydration and the resulting overheating then bad decisions could make it one.

How to avoid that? Waiting in shade until night and then walking out would be sensible. It would be pitch black until moonrise. Since clouds were forming, I decided to walk in their shade and rest when it was sunny. Fatigue from dehydration set in so I stopped a few times to rest. Although damp from rain, the sand was hot so I sat with minimum ground contact. I got to the truck and it’s air conditioner, cooled off, drank the last sips of water, and rested. Then I felt good enough to drive 20 miles into town. A Gatorade at a convenience store made everything much better.

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2 thoughts on “Red Sands, Thirst

  1. Very interesting. The tracks in the sand and identifying them is especially good.

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