Wildlife and plants can be a good indication that water may be present in a desert environment. Water in a desert environment can be an extremely difficult item to locate. Many forms of wildlife would simply cease to exist if they were not skilled in finding sources of water. In addition to the presence of wildlife, plants can also be an indicator of recent rains or the presence of water nearby.
Many plants in the desert will bloom profusely after a rain. This can be indication of recent rains or a source of water that is nearby. The desert willow is a prime example of this type of plant.
Many animals will also leave signs which indicate their presence. Tracks in a dry stream bed will often give away their presence in the area. Even though you may not see them, you will know they've been in the area.
The dry stream bed eventually entered a closed canyon after about a quarter of a mile.
At the entrance there was also a creepy crawler in the form of an orange and black millipede. The orange and black coloration is a good indication that it may have had a nasty sting or might be toxic and it was left to proceed to whatever destination it had in mind.
Inside the closed canyon there were numerous pools of water that had collected in the depressions in the rock.
There was also another creepy crawler found in one of the pools. This was a small checkered garter snake. They are also quite harmless, unlike some of the other snakes that reside in the desert.
The dry stream bed which entered the closed canyon continued on for approximately a mile before reaching a fairly steep drop off of 25 to 30 feet which would have required some additional gear to proceed any further. This is commonly referred to as a pour-off.
The drop off fed into the waters of the
Grande. Although the river couldn't be seen from the
vantage of our starting point, by following the dry stream bed we were
eventually led to the river.
Plants and wildlife are always good indicators of your natural environment. When combined with local information and knowledge of the area in which you are traveling, you will be better equipped to handle the challenges of a natural environment.
Nature will always give you the signs you need to survive but you will need to be able to recognize them.
Got desert skills?
Staying above the dry stream bed!