In a world full of high tech solar backpacks and GPS applications that digitize the experience of walking through tall grass, I can’t help but think that we’ve lost our ability to get lost. I indulge in the recollections of childhood when you could be on your way to adventure with just a pocket knife, a bandanna, and a lucky feather. On this high desert hike to see what adventure I can find, I also bring a cheap gimbal to record a video.
The high desert chaparral is full of flora, fauna, and adventure. Going off of the trail and into the bush has rewarded me with some of my coolest experiences and finds. I’ve stumbled upon animal remains that now adorn my bookshelves, including both a coyote and a goat skull. When you are on your feet, you tend to find cooler things.
Shortly into my high desert hike, I was taken off guard by a large doe mule deer that was bedded near the remains of a fallen oak tree not more than 20-yards from where I stood. The grace that a large animal can have when bouncing through thick brush is juxtaposed by my startled stumble. Thing one: found.
Thing two: A mud puddle. While finding game trails in paths between the sage brush, I had found a mud puddle that had been used as a watering hole for various animals. The combination of mud and available water had created a perfect logbook of recent check-in’s. Here, I found hooves mule deer, coyote, and possum tracks.
Things three-infinity: plants. In the video, I cover some common rock stars of the chaparral including yucca and sagebrush. The yucca, during this time of year, is freshly blooming with green stalks and white flowers. Both are edible, but one can be had pretty fresh. The sagebrush isn’t much of an edible but has a ton of uses. It can be used to clean and freshen up. In herbal medicine, sagebrush can also be used as a topical pain treatment and cold remedy. The dried wood can also be used in bow drill friction fire, though I’ve yet to attempt one.