Yatahay!!! Buckshot here the real (OG), Old Gunfighter. I learned OG from the Young Ones. Yatahay, a giant Creek Indian friend of mine foryears, he would always greet me by saying this. I never asked but I like to think it meant Good Day or how are you. No pun intended. Yatahay is kind of a fun word to say.
FROM EDITOR: yatahay is a distortion of the Navajo word "Ya'ah'tee," roughly meaning "It is good."
Well anyhow, I went over some ways to get from point A to point B in the desert. When I am talking about the desert I am always talking about the Mojave Desert. The only real desert. The Mojave (or Mo-ha-vie) Desert is located within parts of Southern California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona. It was named after the Mojave Indians.
A ways back it was part of an ancient sea. Transformed by volcanic action and materials deposited by the Colorado River. The plants and animals here have adapted for thousands of years, letting them thrive in such a harsh environment. So fellas got to adapt also, and he does not have thousands of years to do so. You gotta take advantage of the things around you that survived all this time.
Now naming all this stuff would take more time then I am willing to give and maybe even have. There is plenty of meat running around out there, but you gotta be on your game and ready to slap leather. So while you make a plan to get meat, you can get by on the plant life.
Yucca Photo by RMacDowwell1Yucca Photo by RMacDowwell1
Some of the Cactus doubles in size by sucking in the rain and then slowly lives off it till it comes down again. The cactus is pretty basic. I put them in four groups. The one that looks like a small palm tree is a Yucca. The Yucca has over 700 family members, as do most cacti. The Aloe Vera, Joshua tree, Spanish Sword, and the Agave, or purple yucca, is my favorite, the one they make tequila out of.
Then there is the Beaver tail which most folks call a Prickly Pear. This one you can eat, it is usually flat leafed plants with a bunch of leaves. You can fillet them like a fish and cook them up with some Chorizo and eggs for a fine Mexican breakfast. You could always eat them raw if you needed to.
Then you have got the barrel cactus, handy little guys. The large ones are the easiest to get into. You bust it open and reach inside, like it was a watermelon, and pull the pulp out. You can put it in a bandana or a shirt and strain the moisture out of it. If needed the big round ones are fire proof and you could use one like a pan for boiling.
There is a smaller version of the barrel cactus called the Hedge Hog cactus. Small clumps of cactus that look like cucumbers, and they are always tilted towards the north by the way. They get a red flower on them that tastes just like a strawberry, most cactus are not so tasty.
If ever needed these are great things to know, but if not please remember that some cactus only grow one foot every hundred years, so do not bust them up just to see if they work. Someone or something may need it to stay alive.
Cholla Cactus-Photo by Awesome AdventuresCholla Cactus-Photo by Awesome AdventuresThe next bunch is called Cholla. A Cholla cactus is the most common of the entire cactus. It is called the jumping cactus. They are very large green plants with long branches and spines. The centers of this plant are just like wood and is called deadwood. You will see this plant a lot in reptile cages and it looks just like a piece of wood that has holes drilled in it. Due to the wood that grows inside of it you cannot eat the seed pods that grow on the ends of the branches. These little guys are just barely hanging on. When someone or something gets to close the pods just seem to jump off the cactus and on to whatever are closest to them. As you run around trying to get the cactus off, you are relocating the pods, which will grow right out of it. You can cut these seeds in half and eat the centers out of the pods, but watch out for little needles.
The last bunch I call bushes, like the cat claw. It has all the different sages, Mormon tea flowers, and the creosote bush. The Creosote seems to be the greatest bush in the desert. It has some clusters that resemble clovers. This plant has developed a wax like seal to help keep the moisture inside it. If you were to smash the leaves up you could spread them on your body and seal the moisture inside yourself. The Indians convinced the Miners and the Pioneers that the creosote was a bug repellant. It’s not. At 4 inches of rain a year, there was not much water around to bathe. The Miners and the Pioneers did not bathe very often. The Indians on the other hand were very clean. The Indians, trying to be nice, lied to them about the bug repellant, it was actually a deodorant and made them smell better.
Creosote-Photo by Awesome AdventuresCreosote-Photo by Awesome AdventuresWell that is enough bull for one day. I feel I have got to pass it down; it’s all I have got, besides some tall tales. Maybe next time I will tell you about my run in with a Mojave Green Rattlesnake. They are scary little fellows. You might say this was food for thought.
Until we meet again. Happy trails think fast and shoot straight!!!!
Story by Buckshot Billy Miller!!!
Yucca Photo by R MacDowell