page 16


page 16
Is Part Of,8
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The intense heat of the summer, the exhausted condition of the famished prospector, and the abundance of these harmful salts in the waters are sufficient explanation of the deaths that have occurred. Such waters are dangerous to a hearty, healthy man who uses them with the greatest moderation, and they may be quickly fatal to the thirst-tormented sufferer who drinks them without restraint. FINDING WATER. CAMPING PLACES. Many of the springs and wells in the desert may be located without special description, particularly those that are near a main route of travel. Prospectors and mine owners usually enter the field each fall to do assessment work on their mining claims. On these journeys they follow well-established roads or trails and so plan the trip as to stop at the springs where they will find the best water. As fuel is scarce, the ground in the immediate vicinity of the springs is usually so thoroughly cleared of brush as to be practically bare. Near these permanent and well-known springs, piles of tin cans and other debris left by campers are always to be seen. Where the location of such springs is sufficiently obvious, no detailed description of the surroundings is given in the following pages. The traveler who is unacquainted with the route over which he is journeying should stop at places where the ground has been cleared of brush and where there is other ample evidence of the presence of many visitors, and satisfy himself as to the nature of the camp. It may be a "dry camp," such as are made on long stretches between springs, or there may be a spring or well in the vicinity, which is covered over to keep out animals, and is hidden by drifting sand. Experienced men will have no difficulty in quickly determining the nature of the camp. An inexperienced traveler should not enter the desert alone. If he can not find an experienced companion, he should proceed with the greatest caution, gathering all possible information about his route in advance, keeping himself abundantly supplied with water and food, and never leaving one water station without a definite idea as to the location of the next. A traveler can rarely see exactly where water is to be found, except by going over the camp ground and looking carefully for wells. Many of the wells are mere shafts, 20 to 40 feet deep, rectangular in shape and covered with a few boards, which may in turn be buried by drifting sand. Only a few wells are equipped with a windlass or pump. These conveniences, even if originally supplied, quickly disappear as fuel for some traveler in need on a cold winter night. He uses them to maintain his camp fire, justifying himself in the belief that self-preservation is the first law.

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