Two Day Adventure
Death Valley Excursion - This stretch of road could be termed "The Way of Lost Hope and Forgotten Dreams," for it roughly follows the Old Spanish Trail forged by Spanish explorers in 1830. A decade later it was an important route between Mormon settlements in Utah and California.
The '49ers used this trail as a winter route to the gold fields in California. By the time they reached Death Valley, reality had set in, and then things got worse. Shortly after leaving the Red Rock area, the road rises to an elevation of 5,493 feet.
The cottonwoods, juniper trees and pinyon pines in Mountain Spring Pass were evidence to the early travelers that here was a source of water. The white, powdery film on the juniper berries is a yeast that can be used to make sourdough bread, a staple of the early miners. The nuts of the pinyon pines were an important food source for Native Americans. More...
Be Prepared with Survival Apps
How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Survival Tool - Stuck in the desert or backcountry? What you do next can turn a potential problem into one of those sad news stories we've all read, another somber, cautionary tale of people that perished in the wilderness. The actions you take in the next hour may make the difference between getting home alive and not getting home at all. How you got into this situation is not that important, but how you get out is.
You may be surprised to find out that your most important survival tool is your smartphone, your iPhone or your Android, providing you have taken a few preliminary steps. If you have had the foresight to keep your phone charged and if you have preloaded several applications, your chances of getting home safely have just improved dramatically. More...
The Hidden Hazard
Is the Water Safe? - We hope your visit to the desert will be enjoyable...and it will be if you avoid hazards encountered in the great out of doors. Two hidden hazards you should know about are diseases resulting from drinking untreated "natural" water. These diseases are giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis, and their effects on you can be quite severe, and for some, life threatening.
Do not be fooled by natural waters in lakes, streams and rivers that may be clear, cold, and free-running. They may look, smell, and taste good, and you may see wildlife drinking from them without hesitation. In spite of all that, Giardia lamblia cysts, and Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts that are carried in the feces of humans and animals may contaminate surface waters, all of which should be suspected of harboring these organisms. More...
Critters in the Car - If you have lived in the country on a rustic ranch or farm, you are probably familiar with the damage that mice and rats can create in your home or in your car. One common problem is when rodents nest in a car engine and in the air conditioners.
My folks live on a ranch in a semi-arid region of Southern California. They've seen many critters over the years at their ranch, some in their house, and others in the barn where they park their car and tractor.
Just yesterday my dad went to turn on his car air conditioner and the fan started to make a strange vibrating noise. He is sure that a mouse or rat has crawled into his system and chewed apart his fan. It must have died in there because his car now smells like a dead rat. More...
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DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. The desert is a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors and to spend time in recreational activities. You can camp, hike, bike, fish or just explore this unique environment found only in the American Southwest. DesertUSA has information on national parks, state parks, BLM land, and the Colorado River and its lakes. We also have articles about the cities and towns located in or near the desert regions. Use DesertUSA.com as a resource to explore the many adventures that await you in the desert.