page 21

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page 21
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http://digital.library.unlv.edu/u?/dig,8
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Salt, grass (Distichlis spicata) indicates water very near the surface, but this plant prefers alkaline areas, although not confined to them; hence the water indicated by it may be very brackish. Creosote (Larrea mexicana) and the numerous shrubs (Sarcobatus, Grayia, etc.) of the greasewood group, which are widely distributed over the deserts, grow in the driest of soils, and although some of them, like creosote, flourish better with a moderate amount of water their presence may generally be taken as an unfavorable indication. HINTS ON DESERT TRAVELING. TEAMS, HAY, AND GRAIN. Where teams are used animals accustomed to the desert should be procured, if possible, for horses or mules that are unused to desert conditions fret on the sandy roads and rapidly weaken from drinking the saline waters. They are also in danger of pneumonia from the cold of the winter nights and the wide extremes of temperature, During winter journeys blankets should be provided to protect the animals at night, Travel in the desert far from the railroads and from food supplies is, of course, more expensive than in other regions. A party leaving a supply station to go 100 miles or more into an uninhabited part of the desert must take along everything needed, even to the most minute detail. This means that if the trip is to last for two weeks enough hay and grain for each animal and enough provisions to last each man that length of time must be taken. For four horses, drawing a on that carries four persons and their bedding, provisions, and tools, another team of four horses must also be taken to haul sufficient hay and grain to feed the eight horses for two weeks. There are but few places in the desert, away from the railroads, where grain or hay of any kind can be procured. As the teams are rarely able to travel faster than a walk, heavy horses that are good walkers should be selected. The tires should be as wide as can be procured. Desirable widths of tires for freight wagons are 6 to 9 inches; for light wagons 3 inches. A good feed trough may be made as follows: Take two pieces of surfaced 2 by 4 lumber, about 4 feet long. Cross them in the form of an X and fasten them together with a bolt, so that they can be folded for packing in the wagon. Near the top of each arm of the X fasten a heavy hook to which a canvas may be attached. This X should be fastened to the end of the wagon tongue, and a piece of as properly shaped should be stretched from it to the front wheels of the wagon to form a broad trough. The tops of the cross-bars should be fastened together with rope to keep them from spread-

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