Monday, October 4, 2010
Locating Water in Desert/Mountain Terrain
Water Indicating Plants:
The following trees, shrubs or plants are a good indicator that water in near as they require a lot of water to survive:
Desert willow has thin leaves 5 or more inches long, less than 1/2 inch wide. Long seed pods. Pods stay on all winter. Found in washes from 2,000 feet to 4,500 feet.
Netleaf Hackberry has a leaf with an "off-center" somewhat heart shaped appearance. Found along washes, 2,000 to 5,500 feet. Brushy plant 3 to 10 feet high and has small edible berries.
Desert Palms grow mainly in southern California in the Mohave Desert. They have a large palmate leaf and a thick ragged trunk. They grow quite tall.
Cattails have a large pointed leaf which looks rather like a grass. The seed pods are distinctive and easily noticeable in the fall. They grow in low marshy areas or wide, shallow streambeds.
Cottonwood Tree grows 40 to 80 feet in height. It has a broad open crown of widely spreading branches. Cottonwoods grow only in wet soil and are found along lakes, riverbanks and irrigation ditches throughout the southwest.
Desert Rain Fall Patterns:
The Sonoran Desert is located in Arizona and northern Mexico. As one moves westward across this desert, the yearly precipitation increases from 1.2 inches to 14 inches a year. The Sonoran Desert has two rainy seasons, with most of the rain occurring during the winter and the remainder in summer. Summer rains consist of violent thunderstorms which can drench one area briefly while leaving the area a scant mile away completely dry.
The Chihuahuan Desert has its rainy season in the summer, when it receives between 70 and 80 percent of its three to twenty inches of precipitation. Summer temperatures will average 10 to 20 degrees lower than those in the Sonoran Desert. Most of this desert is located in Mexico, with a small portion extending north into Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
In rocky terrain, remember not to forget to look for potholes in bedrock and other rocky areas for possible pools of water. These pools will most often contain debris and small animal life, such as larve that live in the water. These water sources will need to be purified.
Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!