Today we met with the American Discovery Trail coordinator for the Nevada portion, Ted, as well as his son and the retired coordinator. We are so grateful for their knowledge and willingness to help. I have never ridden through a desert before, and I have learned alot already!
Anywhere I’ve ever lived, you can look on a map to seek creeks and rivers, then go find them for a source of water. Not so for Nevada! The creeks on the maps are all dry streambeds; extremely seasonal, drainages for flash floods, or simply dried up long ago from water diversions to ranches and cities. I never heard of water on a map that wasn’t really there! Man, am I glad we know better than to plan on that now!
Then there’s the knowledge about the grass. All the grass that we see throughout the sagebrush- the grass we were planning on grazing our horses on- is actually very dangerous for them to eat. When it gets dry, it has barbs and gets stuck in their mouth, causing infection and very bad problems. I’m just dumbfounded. I’ve never dealt with ‘dangerous grass’ before!
So here’s the trick- we have to ride across an entire state (let alone Utah) with very little water or horse feed- in the middle of the summer. Our sleeping schedule is going to change drastically. We were advised to ride from about 3:30 am (first light) to noon to avoid the worst heat of the day which sucks the water out of your body. We will also have no cell phone reception or computer access for 2/3 or more of the state. Folks, this is some seriously remote terrain. The trail follows just south of the highway 50 corridor- aptly named “the loneliest highway.”
But the good news is this: Ted is very excited about helping us cross Nevada. He is going to coordinate, or personally deliver, water and horse feed to us throughout the difficult areas. He will try to get a satellite phone lent to us, as well as be our link to civilization. We expect to coordinate so that we can still get you blog and Facebook updates periodically via our project coordinator and our water drop contacts. (Not to mention a phone call to the Moms!)
If anyone is interested or knows someone in Nevada who would be interested in helping with the water and feed drops- please contact Ted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember, these are literally our life lines, and anyone willing to help must take the responsibility very seriously. It is scary for us to have to put this much trust in others, but here is yet another faith test along the journey! Also keep in mind that we could very much use a donation of horse feed- whether that be by individuals or a company. We will take pellets, cubes, or hay- whatever is available. Our horses handle feed change well. Any help in this area is much appreciated.
One last thought: if- no- when we successfully make it across Nevada, it will be a major accomplishment for the American Discovery Trail organization. Nevada is the state that most through travelers quit in or they take an alternate route due to its difficulty for lack of water. Ted is anxious to help us to prove to Congress that the Discovery Trail is a viable cross country route, is being used, and should be recognized as a national trail system. If this gets passed in Congress, it will make it possible for them to more completely mark the trail, as well as open up more funding possibilities. This is a great organization, and feel free to support them through the link on our website.
Thanks again for your support and prayers. They will be much needed in the coming weeks.
Yours truly- Jeannette, Richard, Apache, Satchmo, Tiska, and Fiddle on the coast to coast ride across America!