Extreme Primitive Desert Survival

The desert is one the most hostile environments to exist in due to the scarcity of water. The plants and animals of the desert are adapted to such harsh conditions and for man to exist in the desert he too must adapt to the arid hot landscape. A reliable source of potable water is the single most important element to surviving in this inhospitable environment.

In this video, I spend two nights camping primitive style in the Mojave Desert of California with the goal of locating a rumored spring approximately 5 miles (7 km) from my camp. The temperature ranged from a night time low of 62˚F (17˚C) to a high of 94˚F (34˚C). I brought basic food items for the journey which included dry meat, paddle cactus leaf (nopal), sweet potatoes, dry papaya and raw cacao nibs (the papaya and cacao were not shown in the video). I also brought a gourd container full of about 4 liters of fresh water and a 1.5 liter bottle of water as backup for the day’s hike. The hike was about 10 miles round trip from my camp to the spring. I began the hike at noon and expected to arrive in about 3 hours. To my surprise I arrived at about 5:00 pm after stopping twice to rest and once to shoot video. By then I had already consumed over 4 liters of water and was still very thirsty. I drank a little water straight from the spring and collected some in my now empty gourd container. I commenced the hike back to camp at about 6:00 pm and consumed the remaining fresh water during that hike and arrived back at camp at about 8:30 pm after stopping once to rest and once to shoot more video. I nearly stepped on a sidewinder rattlesnake before it became completely dark and had to complete the hike back using the light of a small battery-powered flashlight. Upon arriving I drank another 4 liters of water and felt life and energy returning to my body. I snacked on some dry papaya and cacao nibs but had no desire to eat anything more. During the night while sleeping on the ground I felt my muscles cramping everytime I moved. I recall that during the hike my left foot cramped once as well. Before I began this adventure I had spent several stressful days with little sleep and that probably contributed to my rapid deterioration on this journey. Some will criticize me for having used a flashlight or bringing extra water, etc. but it’s important to consider the fact that I also carried a backpack with camera gear which weighed over 20 pounds (9 kilos). Without the added weight I could travel much easier.

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Camera: Nikon D7200
Sound: Zoom H4N
Editing: Final Cut Pro X on MacBook Air
Location: southern California, USA

Music credits:

Drums of the Deep by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1400021
Artist: http://incompetech.com/

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