Bad Advice for Desert Living

  • Water is scarce in the desert, and every desert dweller or visitor should do their part to save the precious commodity. Bath water, for instance, can be reused for cooking pasta, grains, and other such starchy foods. Bathers who favor peppermint scented soaps will find their used water can be profitably turned into a soothing tea.
  • Coyote song makes the desert even more romantic. Bring those singing coyotes closer to your campsite by weaving prayer flags from bacon strips.
  • Rattlesnakes are more than two-thirds water. Travelers beset by thirst can turn this fact to their advantage by capturing said snakes and sucking their tails. A refreshing treat!
  • You can easily find your way in the desert if you remember that all rocks face north.
  • Those of us who have spent time in the desert know that ants provide the vast majority of the entertainment to be had in arid landscapes. Few, however, know that ants become orders of magnitude more interesting after the observer consumes a large dose of antacid.
  • Sticking dirty cooking pots in drifting sand for several hours will render them sparking clean. This can also serve as a method for ensuring proper dental hygiene in the desert.
  • All trails in the desert lead to water, especially if they run uphill.

6 thoughts on “Bad Advice for Desert Living

  1. Karen Locke

    The “all rocks face north” advice reminds me of when I was reading and writing a report on the complexity of Mojave geology. There was a good map of the desert mountains indicating what sort of rock they were, but it was in black and white with all sorts of different visual textures used to indicate rock types. (The geology of the Mojave is VERY complicated.) I understand why the map was black-and-white; publishing colored images in professional papers is insanely expensive. But I finally had to scan the damned map, pull it into The Gimp, and color the rock bodies to make sense of the map. Good grief, the mountains go every damned which way! And when you add the faults to the map, it makes more sense but still…

  2. quercus

    Funnily enough, where I live — not in the desert — mountains and even medium hills DO face south (more or less), pretty consistently. (As the glaciers flowed south ten millenia ago, they flowed up the north sides of hills, grinding them to a smooth gradual slope, then as they went on by, pulled rocks off the south face of hills, leaving the south sides as steep cliffs facing southish).