Don't know what I don't know about the desert

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Woost2

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Two northerners headed south in January. Quite frankly, as a child of the North, just the notion of the desert makes me a bit nervous. Things that run through my mind in the night ... are there fleas, ticks, fire ants, scorpions? Cholla nd all things prickly? Snakes? What should be in my emergency vet bag besides tweezers? The 12 pound dog and I live in the country in Wisconsin so are tuned in to coyotes, hawks and owls. He's is leashed.

Any insight much appreciated. Thanks and happy trails.
 

Cancan

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Drink more water than you usually do. Moisturize. Wear hiking boots which cover your ankle. Don't kick the cacti. Bring baking soda for bites. Don't know about current bug situation . Listen for rattlers. Watch for coyotes and your dog.
 

Cancan

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I forgot a hat of some kind and a long sleeve shirt
 

jimindenver

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It will be winter in the desert, you just won't see many critters. Your dog is leashed so you can avoid the cacti but if I remember right there are not a lot of low to the ground variety there.
 

velojym

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Ooooh, Cancan... you just reminded me of a fellow I knew at a Mountain Man rendezvous back in NM. He was kinda young and dumb (so was I... but I didn't do this) and kicking stuff in his new moccasins.
The thought of that long cactus needle embedded lengthwise in his big toe... not a happy camper.
 

LWalker

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What about the baking soda? How is that used for bite, and for which kind?

Thx

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
 

wagoneer

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Drink more water than you think you need it's not the heat but the lack of moisture sounds like you got coyotes covered only seen a few scorpions they were under my tent. All in all
not so buggy out there. Welcome by the way
 

Cancan

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Mountain men sounds like my type of party! saw a lady just the other day kick a cacti ...any goatheads back there? 
The baking soda trick I found becAuse was looking at ingredients on expensive bug bite stick and it was 100% baking soda. any one that itches or stings. mix with water to paste, apply. I just got a fire ant bite on the inside of wrist, delicate thin skin ...hurt like the dickens for over two hours but I know b.s. helped, applied it right away. used it for biting no see ums, mosquito , etc
 

highdesertranger

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no fleas, ticks, or fire ants, there are however scorpions. scorpions are treated like snakes, don't put your hands and feet where you can't see. don't leave your shoes outside and if you do check them before putting them on. but it is winter and everything moves slow. the area around RTR is pretty benign. there are Saguaros but you can't miss those. to the east a short distance there are jumping Cholla, carry needle nose pliers. I seen some Goat heads around Kofa but that is many miles to the south east. highdesertranger
 

bigsallysmom

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Securely close up anything you put under your rig. Nothing like unzipping a bag in the van and having critters crawl out of it.
 

bigsallysmom

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Tweezers to take all the goatheads and such out of your dog's paws. I was using my fingers but darn if the dog jerks I get stuck too. My dog's paws are really tough from walking on rocks and such so they will hold the foot up for a couple of steps then drop it back down. Basically they get poked but it doesn't stay in them. After a while the dogs will learn to identify stickers and will circle around them.
And about leaving stuff out. If it's food the critters will get into it no matter how well you zipped the bag. Best place for such is inside a vehicle.
 

frater secessus

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Cancan said:
any one that itches or stings. mix with water to paste, apply. I just got a fire ant bite on the inside of wrist, delicate thin skin ...hurt like the dickens for over two hours but I know b.s. helped, applied it right away.

Interesting.  I think ant stings contain formic acid;  perhaps the baking soda was neutralizing it.
 

MrNoodly

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I started out as a suburban ignoramus and have had no desert-specific problems in the four years I've been doing this.

Just remember that all the plants (not just cacti) have something sharp on them and that deserts are dry, not necessarily hot. It could get cold. It could rain. Also, places like the RTR site are covered with a layer of stones called "desert pavement." Ordinary tent pegs are useless. You need something like rebar and a sledge hammer. But the good thing is that you probably won't get stuck if you stay on desert pavement.
 

MrNoodly

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Coyotes will avoid humans but will try to lure away dogs and probably snatch up any wandering cats.
 

rvpopeye

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If the wind blows you will want to close all windows and vents but the dust will still get in !
If you go outside on a windy day a cheap dust mask (and maybe a cheapo pair of swim goggles) will make a lot of difference in your comfort level.
 

Annie W

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The more... I read about the blankety-blank/poisonous DESERT in this thread, plus a gillion others,
the FASTER I want to avoid such places. NO thanks.
You can keep such nightmares ALL to yourself.
 

lenny flank

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Hah, wait till you get to Florida--we have alligators, sharks, hurricanes, Nile Fever, black widow spiders, tornadoes, lightning, and some of the highest crime rates in the US.

It's a wonder ANY of the tourists make it back alive.

;)
 

kaBLOOnie Boonster

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Thumbs up to the suggestion to bring needle-nose pliers. I have found tweezers to be useless.

If needle-nose pliers sounds impractical, you might be thinking of a large dedicated pair. You can buy small, lightweight multi-tools that have needle-nose pliers build into them.

Stickers: hikers in chaparral country will typically carry a comb in their pocket. Combs are great for flicking chollas off of the dog or your own pants.

Super-stickers and dogs: woe unto the dog who is having his first experience with teddy bear cholla. They are the worst because they drop segments on the ground, and then these roll and blow around up to ten feet from the mother plant. Wickenburg is the teddy bear cholla capital of Arizona.
 

breeze

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lenny flank said:
Hah, wait till you get to Florida--we have alligators, sharks, hurricanes, Nile Fever, black widow spiders, tornadoes, lightning, and some of the highest crime rates in the US.

It's a wonder ANY of the tourists make it back alive.

;)

Most don't make it through the many retirement home buildings popping up everywhere. At least they can vaporize now  before they kick the bucket :cool:
 

Annie W

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lenny flank said:
Hah, wait till you get to Florida--we have alligators, sharks, hurricanes, Nile Fever, black widow spiders, tornadoes, lightning,
and
some of the highest crime rates in the US.
It's a wonder ANY of the tourists make it back alive. ;)
Yea,
not telling me anything new, as actually lived........ in Florida over 3 years.
And those first 7 you mentioned are least of problems,
as encounters are sorta rare.
and
re the highest crime rate: when a loving expectant mommy clings not only to her life, also the life of her precious :heart: baby with-in,
in Intensive-care for 8 days, after some creature aka 'husband' tried to kill them both, it's more! than a "wonder" we both escaped Alive.
and
yet, Florida does have another redeeming :) grace: in our Food-forest flourished...edible trees: 2 of atemoya, avocados, mangoes, grapefruits, jaboticaba, kumquats, lemons, limes, loquats, (Moringa :)  superfood all parts from roots & up nutritious), mulberry, Passionfruit, chocolate pudding fruit, & Star fruit. The only 2 we did not have: Coconut, & banana)

Where in the DESERT do these presents grow ?
 

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