Finding Water and Cache’s in Dry Riverbed’s (With Video)
Cottonwood Tree’s in arid country indicate a river bed. Whether that bed turns out to be wet or dry is another question. But if it’s dry, examine the ground by one of the largest and most ancient of the cottonwoods, on the inside bank of the old river’s curve; you will usually fund a small pool of water in the wet season and a good place to dig in the dry. There should be enough ground moisture so that if you really need water you can dig down a foot or so and find seepage. However keep in mind, that it usually does not pay to dig for water. With the amount of energy used the moisture lost in sweat usually far exceeds that gained from the hole you have dug. But if you are far away from civilization and desperate you do not have much to lose.
Any lush vegetation in arid terrain indicates water in one form or another. Birds, such as Doves or Blackbirds, in flock on the ground, quail in any quantity, are other signs of a water source nearby. You will need 2 quarts a day under average conditions but in the desert or during periods of heavy activity this rises to 4 quarts or more per person per day.
If you are in a area that is or has been well traveled at one time even in years past you may also find a cache that someone left behind. Here in AZ we have a lot of cowboys who go after cattle that are free ranged. Sometimes they will leave their extra supplies behind and forget about them. In order to find them later they mark the location with stones or some other method. The key is they do it in a way that looks out of place such as a unnatural pile of stones, or old wood staked in the middle of nowhere. If you are in a bad way and these supplies will save you life, take them if not leave them alone, or if you want to experiment and see what is in the can and have a can to leave behind feel free. I have taken and replaced cans from time to tme just to see if the food was still edible after being stored for many years. In each case the food in the cans was fine, there was no issue.
Remember to practice these skills when you are in no danger. When you are in trouble it is not time to try and learn.
Copyright © 2010 by Steven L. Doran All rights reserved under international and Pan-American copyright conventions. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means without written permission from the author Steven L. Doran.