Skip to main content

The Reality of the Desert

As I get ready to move camp in the pre-dawn hours, the moon is almost full and the desert is bright. But I still can't walk to the driver's door without tripping on loose rubble. There is no soil in this gawd-forsaken wasteland.

I always think of coyotes skulking around in the middle of the night. But even with a bright moon, how do they travel through the desert without loading up with chollas in their paws? They are dogs. And look how a domestic dog acts when it picks up a cholla on its lower leg or paw!

How do burros make a living in the desert when they are truly wild, instead of mooching off of tourists? A burro is a large animal. How many gallons of water does it need every day? What does it eat -- cholla?

A good appreciation of the brutal reality of desert is worth working at, but the public image of "beautiful sunsets in the desert" gets in the way.