Call me geographically challenged, but I had no idea how much of the United States is desert until this trip. Sure, I probably learned about it at some point, but experiencing the desert is totally different than being shown a picture and told in school. When teachers tell you in school that the desert is barren, you just kind of nod your head and yawn. Oh no? Just me? Ok, well moving on…
While driving for two hours through the Mojave Desert, we only passed two other cars and a few buildings. I started to worry if we would have enough gas to get to the next small town gas station just over a hundred miles away. It was that car ride when I understood just how desolate a desert could be. I love lush green mountains with rock faces and mountain streams. That is my idea of beauty. While I can appreciate the beauty of the desert, it’s not my favorite.
Here are some silly reasons why I’m not a fan of deserts.
1. Boogers. These dry, dusty climates really have all our noses clogged. Jane’s never been chastised for “digging for gold” until we hit the deserts on this trip. And honestly who can blame her? The first thing all of us have to do in the morning is blow our noses.
2. My unwarranted fear of running out of water. The first hike Mark and I ever took together we didn’t stop and refill our bottles at the one water stop marked on our map. It looked questionable after a dry summer. By the time we were finishing up our first, full day of hiking, I was in full panic mode about not having enough water. He kept telling me we were almost to the next water site, and I couldn’t take one more “almost”. I sat down just off the trail and told him to hike ahead and bring me back water.
Mark was gone about 2 minutes when a guy hiked past me. I thought about asking him for some water but was being so dramatic that I felt like I couldn’t talk. Then 3 kids hiked past me. Shortly thereafter I thought I heard the laughing of a large group of people and a…wait? Was that a car?.. I got up, walked about 75 steps and was in a campground.
Greeting me was a full bathroom and Mark filling up our bottles at a water fountain. I drank a full Nalgene and apologized. I’m amazed he invited me to travel with him, let alone be his wife after that. So it goes without saying, unless we have 3 gallons of water in the car (which I make sure we do) I get very nervous driving/hiking across the desert.
3.The sun or more so, sunscreen. A couple of times we’ve camped in the desert and not had access to showers for a few days. Imagine spending the day on the beach covered in the finest sand you can imagine and then not being able to shower. Not only is the dust gross but going to sleep with sunscreen all over totally grosses me out. I feel like my skin can’t breathe. I feel like I sweat more trying to get the sunscreen off my skin. It’s just a yucky feeling.
So while I’ve loved much of our time in the desert, (Climbing in Joshua Tree was one of my favorite places so far!), I can assure you that lush green mountains and streams are still the way to my heart.