Can The Chihuahuan Desert Bark?
The Chihuahuan Desert is a vast and varied land inhabited by a bunch of very small ugly little dogs with rat-like features.
Okay...they're not really..er..that ugly and they can even be cute in their own hairless little ways. (Yes, I am aware that some have long coats as well!)
Anyway I doubt very seriously that you would really find many Chihuahua's in the wilds of any desert, much less the Chihuahuan...with the exception of a few household pets.
What you will find there is a most diverse and varied landscape filled with unique indigenous plants and wildlife.
This desert is quite unique in its topography as well, with many mountains, plateaus, forests (at higher elevations), low desert valleys, desert springs (oases), rivers, gorges and deep canyons.
As I have mentioned in other pages this region offers some of the best Jeep trails and back-country exploring anywhere.
Chihuahuan Desert Vistas
The desert boundaries are not well defined because deserts are often difficult to pinpoint their exact borders due to the often gradual blending of factors which typically merge into non-desertlike or other uniquely defined regions.
However, DesertUsa.com states that "in Mexico, the Chihuahuan Desert lies within the Central Plateau, bounded on the west by the Sierra Madre Occidental and on the east by the Sierra Madre Oriental, with its southern boundary in Zacatecas. The deserts northern portion extends into southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and Trans-Pecos Texas".
Desert Image Map
Some of the factors which are utilized in defining deserts are rainfall (or comparative lack of annual rainfall amounts), a preponderance of dry desolate terrain with little or no agricultural value, and limited life sustaining resources (especially for humans and all but the most adapted animal and plant-life).
Sources of food and water are usually minimal in most arid desert environments with only a few and rare exceptions.
The Chihuahuan Desert can be generous with some life sustaining resources, but only in pockets such as in certain mountain regions like the Big Bend Chisos Basin (more abundant wildlife, plant and water sources) and scattered natural springs dotting the desert floor.
The Rio Grande River, defining the Texas and Mexico border, runs through the Northern one-third of the Chihuahuan Desert providing life supporting water along the way.
It has always amazed me how the indigenous desert plants have managed to flourish in such inhospitable conditions such as the Ocotillo, Candelia, Sotol, Creosotebush, Lechuguilla Agave and a huge variety of Cacti.
Sotol Desert Plant
Agave Lechuguilla Plant
The wildlife which survive here are quite amazing as well. It's not unusual to see desert Antelope, White-tailed Deer, Mule-deer, desert Fox, Javelina (Peccaries), Jackrabbits, Cottontail Rabbits, and the ever present Turkey Vulture or Buzzard
Several varieties of legless creatures make their home in the Chihuahuan including the Diamondback Rattlesnake, King snake, Coach-whip snake and others.
Lizards, Centipedes, Millipedes, Beetles (not the Fab Four either), and spiders such as the magnificent Mexican Red Tarantula, which can be the size of an adult's hand, reside here as well.
White Tailed Deer
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Mexican Red Kneed Tarantula Spider
I have spent some of my most memorable times exploring the Big Bend region of the Chihuahuan in various 4x4 vehicles..and of course none better than in my old Jeep.
Explore the Big Bend Region of the Chihuahuan Desert Here!
Remote Desert Road, My '53 Willys Jeep M38A1 and Me
Nevertheless, this is truly a beautiful area for camping, sightseeing, wildlife watching, mountain/canyon climbing, river rafting, desert exploration, or just plain peace and quiet. Yes...the remoteness of this region makes for no traffic, airplane, train or hustle and bustle noise.
The nights are spectacular in that you can see not only stars and constellations, but also hundreds of satellites, meteors and even our cloud-like Milky Way Galaxy.
So when you take your Jeep trip to the Chihuahuan Desert don't forget to listen to the gentle sounds of the wind with no distracting city noise...and...at night...don't forget to look up!
Have fun and Jeep Safely!
The "Window" in the Chisos Basin
Jeep Essentials You Must Have Off Road...Click Here!
Big Bend National Park Page!
Jeeping the Backcountry Safely!
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