How to Find Water in the Wilderness

How to Find Water in the WildernessYou've run out of water on your hike or backpacking trip. What to do? Here's how to find some liquid while you're getting your bearings to hike out or waiting to be rescued. You should also read "Bushcraft: 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival". An additional measure of safety is to always tell someone where you're hiking and for how long, so they can come looking for you.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

 
Step 1
Check your map for blue squiggly marks-those are the streams and creeks. Or do you remember passing them? Return to them if you can do so without getting further lost or going too far away from where someone last saw you.
 
Step 2
Search beneath the surface of gravel washes and dry creek beds, even in the desert. Dig along the outer edges of sharper curves, or the inside banks, in depressions where the water was once deeper, and along the bases of cliffs. You may find moisture. Sop up the seepage with your shirt.
 
Step 3
Look for trees and large clumps of bushes. This indicates seeps nearby or beneath them. Dig down a few feet . If you find damp sand, keep digging. Cottonwood trees in the southwest and willow trees back east both indicate water-they are survivors, so be on the lookout for them.
 
Step 4
A long valley or deep gorge has often been formed by water, so head downwards in them.
 
Step 5
Spread a plastic sheet or space blanket over a shallow depression at night- condensation will accumulate on the underside.
 
Step 6
Look for edible cactus-the ones with the big paddles as its leaves. Trim off the paddle's prickers before eating. This and other kinds of cactus bear fruit so if you're fortunate enough to discover them, try sucking that. You can also try cutting a cactus near its base and chewing the juicy pulp inside.
 
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Carry fruit like apples on your hikes--they provide great moisture and replenish sugar.
 
An ounce of prevention is - not enough water to drink. Bring more water than you think you'll need on your trip. Carry extra water in your car at all times.
 

I couldn't find specific names of any cactus that are poisonous, but that's not to say the don't exist. When in doubt, place a small bit of what you're going to eat on the center of your tongue and see if there's any adverse reaction. Obviously don't do this with deadly poisonous frogs from whose touch you will die very quickly.

 

Resources

Article Written By eHow

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