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Importance of Survival Skills

Desert Survival: Tips for Finding Water


It is said that Earth is the only planet known to have permanent bodies of liquid water on its surface, which is essential to sustain life January 2020, Mojave Desert All life on Earth requires water to survive Without water a person could die within three days But how much water does a person need in the wild? Several factors affect personal water needs Temperature, humidity, wind, sun intensity, clothing, physical condition, food intake Daytime high temperature twenty-one degrees Celsius In this desert winter temperatures are ideal for hiking Yet the humidity is very low and the sun can still feel intense To limit water loss it is a good idea to wear long pants, a shirt, and a hat When the skin is exposed to the air the dry heat and wind quickly dehydrate the body I am obviously not adequately dressed It is very unlikely to find water in the sand dunes If there are mountains nearby, there is a much better chance of locating water there Small patches of snow can be seen on the peaks of these mountains which are just a few miles away As I reach the foothills of these mountains the landscape changes immensely to one of boulders and thorny cactus Now I am following a canyon that shows evidence of water flow during times of heavy rains The mid-day sun is feeling very warm now so I decide to take a short rest here in the shade A good way to conserve water reserves is to hike only during the night or cooler times of the day And rest in a cool shady spot during the hottest hours of the day This north-facing rock wall is cold and leaning my back against it is a great way to cool down and conserve water As I continue hiking up the canyon I find a small collection of water in a shallow rock depression It rained here a few weeks ago and this water is still here This evidence means that I will likely find much more water the further up I go Algae growing on the north side of rocks and moist sand provide more evidence of the presence of water, at least on a seasonal basis And then, just a short distance further, I find a flowing spring of clear clean water good to drink There is often a health risk when drinking water directly from a natural source These springs are shared by wild animals in the region and bacterias can be present To limit the risk I look for clear flowing water on rocky or sandy surfaces A simple taste test helps to determine the quality of the water This water tastes good but I am going to keep looking to get closer to the source As I continue walking up the canyon I find more pools of water What I am looking for is a place where the water filters through the earth The rock and sand of the earth act as a natural filter to clean the water This pool appears to be where the water has filtered through the ground above I could continue looking and I would probably find more springs above here but I have enough confidence to freely drink this water It is clear and the steep walls around it make it less favorable for wild animals There are tiny dead insects floating on the surface This is NOT evidence that the water is toxic Insects naturally are attracted to water sources And they tend to have short life spans from a few days to a few months Most insects are also safe to eat, especially these very tiny ones If there were dead bees or other large insects on the water then I would remove those to avoid swallowing them It is essential to have a container to carry water during a hiking adventure in the desert Water needs should never be underestimated On these winter days in the desert I consumed a little less than a gallon, or four liters of water per day And I was well hydrated In the hot summer months I would need close to three gallons, or twelve liters per day For those that do not feel confident enough to drink directly from a natural spring Then I recommend using a simple filter such as the LifeStraw Or to carry a small stove to boil the water before drinking Please subscribe, like and comment

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