It’s hard to put a finger on what it is about the desert that pulls you in. When we think of wilderness we often, especially if we aren’t real familiar with it, picture it as a gentle, peaceful, idyllic place. But that’s not always the case, especially out here.
The desert can be peaceful and sublime. I always appreciate those moments. As often as not though it can be just the opposite.
The sun and heat can be brutal — especially in summer but even in winter. Shade and water become the top priorities. Sudden storms can come up. If you’ve been careless about where to set up camp, flash floods can turn your world into a living hell. Then the desert winds can come up and destroy a camp in a matter of hours if you’re unprepared for it and haven’t staked down your gear sufficiently. I know that one from personal experience.
Many of the things that live out here can inflict pain and suffering. They can either sting you or stab you, fill you full of spiky needles, or bite and load your bloodstream with venom. They can make you wish you were somewhere else in a very short time.
The desert can kill you… and that’s part of the charm for me, if you can call it that. You learn to adjust to the rhythms of the desert. You learn to adapt to an extreme, bare-bones, unforgiving, harsh land or suffer the consequences. It keeps you on your toes, and that’s a big reason I love it. I feel alert and alive here.