Spring in the desert of the American Southwest is a magical time. It’s a favorite destination of us in the Northern Rockies, a warm escape to somewhere completely different. There’s outdoor recreation in good supply, hiking, climbing, canyoneering, and rafting; plus Native American pictographs, petroglyphs, cliff dwellings and more.
Whether this is your first trip or your fiftieth, here are a few simple tips that can help you, and the desert environment too:
1. Stay off Cryptobiotic (living) soil! It’s alive, and keeps the desert surface intact, preventing erosion. It takes many years to grow, and just a few footsteps to destroy it.
2. Bring plenty of water! Keep plenty in your car, bring extra in your backpack, and if you’re doing a backpacking trip, know where your water sources will be.
3. Use jugs of frozen water in your cooler. It doesn’t melt and soak your food, and you can drink or wash with the water when it melts.
4. Hand Sanitizer can help keep germs at bay without using precious water or polluting water sources with soap. Sand can scrub food off dishes too, but you’ll want to rinse!
5. Be active early and late, take a break in the shade mid-day when it’s the hottest.
6. Bring sunscreen, sunscreen lip balm, and a good sun hat.
7. Tent and garment zippers really take a beating from sand when camping, use an old tooth brush to clear it out.
8. Avoid camping or parking in a dry wash (drainage that can flash flood)!
9. Never enter a slot canyon when there is the possibility of a thunder storm!