Primitive Solo Adventure in the Desert

Primitive Solo Adventure in the Desert


Somewhere in the Colorado Desert Temperature seventy degrees Fahrenheit (twenty-one degrees Celsius) I made this cargo carrying net out of thirty meters of cordage I made from yucca fibers I made the basket from cattail leaves The calabash bottle gourd is from Mexico When the sun sets the temperature falls quickly Building a fire ring with high rear walls will help reflect heat towards me Dry grass is excellent tinder to ignite a fire quickly Wood for fueling a fire is generally very dry and will burn very quickly Therefore it is important to gather sufficient wood to endure the time necessary I heard what I believe to be the sound of a bird but I could not see it I am digging a pit that will eventually function as my bed I dug a pit wide and long enough for me to lie down A ferro rod is an excellent fire-starting tool to quickly ignite a dry tinder bundle The high walls of the rock fire ring effectively reflect the heat towards my bed Now I am placing a layer of material to burn inside the pit I will keep adding wood and allow it to burn until a layer of hot coals forms at the bottom of the pit I am creating a low rock wall to help reflect the heat inside the pit which will serve as my bed I brought with me this deer skin blanket to help protect myself from the cold at night One advantage of leather is that it is naturally fire resistant and does not catch fire easily I have placed part of this deer skin blanket in the fire and it did not burn Holding the blanket like bat wings over the fire is a great way to trap a lot of heat to quickly get warm The fire in the pit has burned down to hot coals and now I am covering the coals with a layer of sand Now I can lie down directly on the layer of sand that is heated by the hot coals below The blanket traps the heat rising from below to keep me very warm and comfortable for several hours When the heat from the coals eventually dissipates then I will use hot rocks from the fire to heat the pit Temperature forty-one degrees Fahrenheit (five degrees Celsius) The next day… Even after a campfire has burned out for a few hours the hot coals beneath the ashes can easily be ignited again This tinder bundle will soon catch fire The desert shatters the soul’s arrogance and leaves the body and soul crying out in thirst and hunger In the desert we trust God or die Using bat wings to capture the heat I made this pocket for carrying a few of my tools It contains pine pitch, long-burning pine wood, a wooden spoon, and sharp wooden arrow points I am using the spoon to stir a pot of acorn mush made of acorns from California scrub oak Acorns ripen in the late fall and are an excellent source of energy and nutrition I mix ground acorns with water and cook it for up to ten minutes Fruit like these toyon fruits can be added to improve the taste of the acorn mush I will allow that to cook for a few more minutes Acorns vary in flavor depending on the species and leaching method used This acorn mush has very little flavor but is very nutritious In the wilderness it is important to eat with purpose and not purely for pleasure The same strategy would effectively prevent many of the health problems in the modern world Native peoples living on a native diet reportedly rarely had cavities and lived healthy active lives There is also a certain sense of freedom that is very special when you acquire food from nature I have an itchy poison oak rash that I am treating with ashes from the campfire Poison oak contains an oil called urushiol which causes an irritating allergic skin reaction upon contact I hope that the ashes will help dry out the rash White sage I am hiking up this canyon which is a short distance from my camp It is an amazing sight to see palm trees among this barren rocky landscape These are native California fan palms in this desert oasis These palms can grow to twenty-five meters in height and live up to two-hundred fifty years They provide habitat and food for several species of wildlife At this time of year they produce clusters of edible fruit The tiny fruit tastes like a cross between licorice and palm dates The ripe fruit falls to the ground I am using my cattail basket to collect the tiny fruits It is difficult to find the fruit on the ground among all the palm debris Finally I am going to try out the first bow I recently made of a willow branch The bow string is made of yucca cordage The arrows are practice arrows made of cattail stems with clay arrowheads and glued with pine pitch Maybe I will be able to knock down some fruit This bow is very stiff and needs some modifications but will work for now One fruit fell from that shot Trying a second time with an arrow fletched with feathers Slow motion This time I hit the target better and more fruit fell I think that this technique could be improved by attaching a long cordage to the end of the arrow The arrow will then carry the cordage over the cluster of fruit which could then be pulled down The third day… I left the camp early to explore a nearby mountain I am looking for a suitable location to stash some food I am doing an experiment to see if these pumpkin seeds will still be here when I return to this location Native people often hid dry foods in caves or even buried in containers for emergency use later The lack of rodent feces suggests that this may be a suitable location My feet suffered badly on this adventure I’ll be back Blooper Where is the bow? I don’t even know where the bow is now I don’t know where I put it I put it down here Where is the bow? There it is It’s the same color as the vegetation so I couldn’t see it

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