Where I’m from, we’re usually worried about about possible flooding when camping. Since traveling out west, I’ve encountered the opposite problem. From Colorado, to Utah, to Nevada, the challenge has been battling the dry dustiness and bringing along enough water to survive.
First we stopped at a free campsite in Rabbit Valley Recreation Area in the high desert of Colorado. It’s located near Grand Junction at exit 2 off of I-70. There are two primitive campgrounds with vault toilets and some dispersed sites as well, but absolutely NO water available. Even though we were only there for one night and one day, we made sure to have about five gallons of drinkable water. We ended up hiking the McDonald Creek Trail there and had to pack plenty of water to withstand the dry, blistering heat and little shade.
When we headed into southern Utah, the same brutal conditions persisted. We refilled our water supply and then set up camp at Kings Bottom Campground outside of Arches National Park in Moab. Even though we were right next to the Colorado River, there was still no accessible running or potable water. The next day when we went hiking in Arches N.P., there was a pump with good drinking water coming from deep beneath the rocks. We filled up every vessel we had here.
Our next stop was Great Basin National Park in Baker, Nevada. For two nights we camped right next to the creek at Baker Creek Campground. Finally, having an ample water source was like a breath of fresh air. We used it to clean our dishes and fill up the Solar Shower. It was nice to not have to use the drinking water for once.
After about a week of hiking and camping in the western deserts, I came out with an outstanding appreciation for any kind of water. It’s an invaluable natural resource that we all need to survive. Not having easy access to it can be scary and downright dangerous.
Just keep in mind that if you’re heading into any kind of desert environment and aren’t going to have access to water to stock up ahead of time. Stop by a grocery store and pick up a few gallons. Another option if you’ll have access to some non-potable water is boiling it. Just about 10 minutes is enough to make it safe to drink.
Happy trails and be safe out there!