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Desert Experience

It’s now been over four weeks since I crossed a line that put me in the desert. The last time I visited a desert, it was for only a week at spring break, and I was 14. This is the first time I’ve spent any considerable amount of time in one.

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It’s another check off my dream list. I’ve lived in forested areas, along the ocean, in a prairie, and now in a desert. I just have mountains left to go to complete that particular dream – one of these summers I’ll work in the mountains.

How does it measure up? Well, for starters it’s a lot less barren than you might think. Or at least, what I always thought as a desert when I was younger. I’d read enough other RV blogs before this that I had an idea what I was getting into before I got here and it wasn’t a complete surprise, but it’s still startling to take a walk around the campground in July when the highs are typically in the 90’s and spy eight different kinds of plant in bloom. It’s dry enough here that I wonder how these weeds manage it. High pollen times in other places I’ve lived are the spring and fall, but there has been pollen alerts for Mt. Carmel pretty much daily since I got here.

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The dry took adjusting the first couple weeks I was here. My nose was so dry it hurt, dry and irritated enough that my snot was bloody. Luckily that phase is over, and now I’m thoroughly enjoying it. In South Carolina or Georgia there’s no way I’d be sitting outside for long this time of year, even when the sun goes down it stays muggy and then the bugs get unbearable. Here it gets down into the 60’s most nights, I can sit outside and read in the morning and evening and at night the A/C goes off and the windows get flung open for the chorus of crickets and refreshing breeze. Again this may be a TMI moment, but I don’t need to shower as frequently here – I don’t get as sweaty.

When it rains, it rains. Southern Utah doesn’t have four seasons, but from what the locals say it does have a monsoon season, and we’re either in or near it now.

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The weather pattern reminds me of SC in the summer in a way. There’ll be a chance of thunderstorms a few days a week in the afternoon, and they’re the pop up thunderstorms I was use to in the south, just more widespread. Because the air is dryer the rain needs to be heavier to make it to the ground, so sometimes it’ll look like it might rain, but it blows over.

All in all, while it might be hot I’d rate my summer stay in the desert more pleasant than the deep south, although I’m not sure that wouldn’t change if I was lower than 6,000 feet and highs regularly made it into the 100’s.

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Oh, here, have some bison. Zion Mountain Ranch has a bison herd (and serve buffalo meat at their restaurant. Coincidence? I think not) and there are several new additions to that herd this year. They’re much easier to photograph here than they were at the Badlands, being watered up by the ranch and more use to people.

Tomorrow is another day off and while I have an appointment to get my laptop fixed (finally, yay!) I’m hoping to have time after that to stop at another natural attraction on the way back. Which one? Well you’ll just have to wait and see!

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Becky

At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

17 Comments

  1. LenSatic on August 5, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    “I wonder how it’ll be this winter down in Arizona.”

    Well, there is Arizona and there is Arizona. To quote Arizona survival expert Cody Lundin, “Arizona has more geographical diversity in the shortest drive time of any region in North or South America. I can drive from Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert, to Flagstaff, near the San Francisco Mountains, with their alpine tundra, in less than 3.5 hours.” There are seven distinct geographical encompassed within our borders. So it really depends where you stop.

    We live at 4200′ just 14 miles north of the US/Mexico border and get some snow every year. In the summer, we get to 105Β° on rare occasions in June. Once the Monsoon Thunder-bumpers show up, it cools down considerably. My wife, a lifetime Southern Californian girl, swore that she could never live in the desert, yet here she is! πŸ˜‰

    Pat



    • LenSatic on August 6, 2014 at 10:42 am

      ETA: That should read “…seven distinct geographical regions…”



      • Becky on August 6, 2014 at 4:28 pm

        Thanks for the info Pat! I’m excited to see more of Arizona this winter.



  2. JimS on July 23, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Ahem, one person’s weeds are another person’s flowers. πŸ™‚

    I use a saline nasal spray when my nose gets too dry. Look for one in a small aerosol can at a local drug store. It’s sterile w/out needing preservatives, which can actually make the dryness worse.



    • Becky on July 24, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Huh, I’ll look into that next time I’m having issues Jim, thanks.



  3. Carl on July 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Becky,
    Where and when are you planning to be in Arizona? I didn’t get to meet you in Florida last winter and this winter I plan on being in Arizona and New Mexico. Maybe we can meet somewhere for a meal? I think I will like the dry climate. I’m tired of the high humidity. Any tips for dealing with the dryness until I get used to it? What type of work are you doing in Utah?

    Carl



    • Becky on July 23, 2014 at 8:52 am

      Carl, I want to visit Quartzsite, and I’ll be getting there January some time. That’s the jello plan anyway, I don’t have any more details than that yet but they’ll be getting announced on the blog once I do.

      As for the dryness, there wasn’t much I could do for my nose, other than wait for it to resolve. I do have moisturizer for my skin that I use after showering.



  4. jerryc on July 21, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    You are in one of our most favorite places in the Country. We’ve spent time in Zion four of the past six years. Being from the South, I ex
    erience the same problems with the dry climate the first week or two. Please don’t leave the area without visiting Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arch’s NP’s. Southern Utah and Hwy 12 has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Country. We never get tired of it.
    jerryc recently posted..Road Trip and PancakesMy Profile



    • Becky on July 21, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Arches is something like 5 hours from here, not sure I’ll be able to make it this time without having two days off in a row but I’m certainly keeping it in the back of my mind, the other ones will be easier.



  5. Reine on July 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Enjoy the desert but drink LOTS more water than you think you need. Even though it’s not really that hot the low humidity sucks moisture out of your skin and you dehydrate much faster than expected, even when it’s cool.

    I do agree with Jodee that few people are “whatever” about the desert. They either see it’s beauty or don’t.

    Great pictures.



    • Becky on July 21, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Yeah I’ve learned that, real easy to get dehydration headaches out here even when otherwise you feel fine.

      Thanks!



  6. Jodee Gravel on July 21, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Being a desert girl myself, I’m glad to see you enjoying all she has to offer. It’s sort of like mayo – you either really like it or hate it a lot! Few people are just “whatever” about the desert :-).
    Looking forward to seeing what new adventure you’ve been off to see!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Joy of Exploration – Neil Armstrong and DadMy Profile



    • Becky on July 21, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      I did in fact go today, and got more pretty pictures! It’ll be a couple days before I get them up probably… you all will just have to wait until then bwahaha.

      So far I’m leaning to enjoying the desert….then again, there are very few places I’ve been than I haven’t enjoyed.



  7. Maura on July 21, 2014 at 12:30 am

    I always enjoy when you can post! Honestly, I think you have the best Blog going! You have a lot to teach me (Gads, I am like 24 years older). I enjoy your posts!

    Maura
    Maura recently posted..Museum of Aviation, Warner Robins GAMy Profile



    • Becky on July 21, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Well, thank you Maura!



  8. Ron on July 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    The desert life is amazing, there is so much more than you would expect. On my first visit to the desert I thought it to be very bleak & desolate. After much exploring I found it to be nearly the opposite, so many plants, flowers, cactus & animals. It really grows on you if you take the time to have a close look.



    • Becky on July 21, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      Definitely not desolate Ron. πŸ™‚ I wonder how it’ll be this winter down in Arizona. Different than the heart of summer for sure.



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