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  • Covid has been a real problem for us here at The  Infographics Show. As you've probably noticed,  

  • we haven't put many challenge episodes  out in the last 9 or so months, and well,  

  • that's because it's really hard to challenge our  least important writer- and your favorite lab rat-  

  • to do anything because he can't be around  people. Then we got the idea- what if we  

  • sent him somewhere with no people? So we sent  him to go live three days out in the desert,  

  • where the only things he could infect with covid  were spiders, scorpions, and dangerous snakes!

  • -Alright challenge fans, gotta say, it's  good to be back and doing challenges again.  

  • Covid has made life unbearably boring, and let  me tell you: nothing tests your love quite like  

  • forced quarantine together. Luckily, the  girlfriend and I are each other's best friends,  

  • but when I got the challenge to go out  into the desert for three days... well,  

  • let's just say she was less concerned with  my safety than she's been in the past.

  • So Infographics sent me out  to the desert for three days,  

  • and seeing as I'm writing this, I obviously  survived. How did it go down? Well,  

  • in some ways easier than expectedin others, much more difficult.

  • The premise was simple: I got dropped off atspot somewhere out in the Nevada desert, just over  

  • the border from California. My pickup location  was exactly sixty miles from my drop off location,  

  • and I had only a map and a compass to get to  my pickup. I wasn't dropped off nearly naked  

  • like I was when I did my forest survival, because  the desert is much more lethal than the forest,  

  • so I got a few essentials. I got  exactly two canteens of water,  

  • totaling four quarts of water. Seeing as doctors  recommend you drink three quarts of water a day,  

  • you can already see a problem with that mathThe name of the game would be conservation.

  • I also got one single, and very thinemergency blanket, along with a hunting  

  • knife because the California and Nevada  desert have coyotes- though me personally,  

  • I'm far more worried about feral pigs. Any hunter  in the world will tell you they're more scared of  

  • wild hogs or feral pigs than they are even  bears, because those things are absolutely  

  • vicious. Lastly, I had a signaling mirror  in case things get really, really bad.

  • Day one I got dropped off at my location at  6pm, and from that moment on I had 72 hours  

  • to get to my pickup 60 miles away. Now, right  off the bat let me make the same disclaimer I  

  • made on my last survival video- do NOT try  this if you don't have survival training.  

  • I have years of experience in the world's desertsbecause apparently America doesn't like to pick  

  • fights with nice tropical nations anymore, and  believe me, this is not for the unprepared.

  • I got dropped off near sunset because when  you're in the desert you want to flip your  

  • sleep schedule. People often make the mistake of  thinking you have to conserve water in the desert,  

  • but the truth is that it's far more efficient to  conserve sweat. That means traveling at night,  

  • and taking shelter during the hot dayand if you're out in the desert in winter  

  • time you should still be prepared  for some very high temperatures.

  • My small pack made traveling light, which was  good, because I wanted to move fast enough to  

  • make good time while identifying good shelter to  use during the day. My plan was to move for eight  

  • hours, and then spend two hours moving slower and  finding shelter. I was supposed to be mirroring a  

  • hiker or off-roader who wasn't planning forlong trip, so I wasn't allowed to bring extra  

  • clothes or things like that. Instead, I wore jeans  and a simple outdoors, white long sleeve shirt.

  • When you think desert, you think heat, and rightly  so, but at night it can get extremely cold-  

  • specially in Nevada where in winter  the temperature can swing from as  

  • high as nineties to below freezing in 24  hours. The first night did not disappoint,  

  • and I started shivering pretty quickly so  I wrapped myself in the survival blanket.  

  • These blankets are very light and made out of  reflective foil, but are made to reflect heat  

  • and hold it in, much like the way you wrappotato in foil before throwing it in the oven.

  • You might notice I wasn't given any foodand that was to reflect a real survival  

  • situation. But also, food is a very low  priority for you in desert survival,  

  • in fact, it might get you killed. That's because  digestion is actually very water intensive,  

  • and can seriously eat up your water budgetIn normal survival situations you may have  

  • heard that it's better to do lots of small  snacks throughout the day to keep your energy up,  

  • over eating one big meal, and that's true to an  extent. In the desert you gotta plan in advance,  

  • and it's better to save up small snacks to have  one, single big meal every few days than to  

  • kickstart digestion many times throughout  the day by ingesting individual snacks.

  • Water is everything in desert  survival. And that brings me to sweat.

  • Most people think that humans are not very  well adapted to surviving in the desert,  

  • but the opposite is actually true. Humans do  quite well in the desert- as long as they have  

  • access to water. Our omnivore diet allows us  to eat a variety of things found in a desert,  

  • where a restrictive diet can spell  disaster. And our ability to sweat  

  • along with lack of body hair is an  extremely efficient cooling system.

  • When water is limited though, sweat is your enemy.

  • There's two times you don't want to sweat: in  low temperatures, and when water is sparse.  

  • In Arctic survival, if you sweat, you diebecause hypothermia can quickly set in.  

  • In the desert, there's less- but stillvery real risk of hypothermia at night-  

  • but sweating means losing valuable water.

  • So as I hiked along I had to check  myself to keep up only a moderate pace,  

  • and take frequent rest breaks to avoid sweatingEvery single drop of sweat is wasted water,  

  • and a good survivalist will  budget every last drop.

  • As I moved along I kept an eye on the  stars for direction. Compasses are great,  

  • but they are prone to magnetic interference in  the environment. If you know how to navigate  

  • using the stars though you'll find you  can maintain extremely accurate bearings.  

  • Simply pull out your compass every thirty  minutes or so to double check yourself.  

  • Speaking of stars, you can see every single one  of them if you go far enough out into the desert.  

  • It's honestly incredible, and well  worth a day trip out for any of you  

  • city slickers that have never seen the full  majesty of the entire milky way on display.

  • As morning approached I started looking  for shelter. Day time shelter is extremely  

  • important in the desert, with the main goal  being to keep yourself out of the sun as much  

  • as possible. The only problem was that this  part of the desert was almost completely flat,  

  • which only really left me with one very bad  option. I found a small wadi and started digging  

  • into the soft soil at the bottom, breaking up  the harder parts of the ground with my knife.

  • This was strenuous work given that  I only had my hands and a knife,  

  • and I was sweating, which was bad. Ifdon't get shelter though, it'd be even worse.

  • I dug down a solid foot and a half into the  ground, right next to where the wadi started  

  • to bank up sharply. Then, I took my survival  blanket and turned it shiny silver side outwards,  

  • and using rocks, set it up so it covered the  hole, with one side on the ground next to  

  • me on the hole, and the other side about two  feet above me on the steep bank of the wadi.  

  • Basically, I made a rough tent, with two  large openings that I could slide into and  

  • would work to keep air circulating. The  silver reflective side would reflect the  

  • suns' rays and keep me from overheatingbut the real key with this type of shelter  

  • is to keep the survival blanket off your  body or else you're basically insulating  

  • yourself. That's why digging into the side  of a wadi or rise in the ground is critical.

  • Crawling into my hole I settled in for my first  desert day sleep in about eight years. I took  

  • a very long sip from my water- another desert  survival myth is that you should do small sips at  

  • a time. Don't, this just ends up being wastefultake big, long drinks when you really need them.  

  • Being my first day, I could feel light dehydration  but nothing too serious- I still had one and a  

  • half canteens left. I'd almost certainly run  out of water before the end of the third day,  

  • but if I budgeted right I shouldn't be  running the risk of serious dehydration.

  • Sleeping during the day in the desert  is... not easy, to say the least,  

  • but I long ago learned to snooze most places.  I stayed put in my hole the entire day,  

  • with the temperature easily climbing into the high  eighties. Good thing global warming is a myth,  

  • huh? Also, two scorpions crawled into  my sleeping hole, deciding that it was  

  • a good place to hide from the sun. I crushed  both of their heads, bit off the stingers,  

  • and threw them in my pack. If I got enough  scorpions or other bugs, they'd make a good  

  • snack once I had a sizable enough meal that  it was worth using up the water to eat it.

  • That's another thing about survival- you have to  be an opportunist. You don't know what tomorrow  

  • will bring, so if an opportunity for  materials or food presents itself,  

  • take it. Today I got two scorpions, I might not  find anything else to eat the next two days.  

  • Or my pickup might get into an accident and  leave me stranded for days more than I'd planned.  

  • Always be planning aheadand always be opportunistic.

  • Another good reason to sleep as much as  you can is because, well, laying in a hole  

  • is boring A-F. That's another military  survival tip for you: sleep as much as you can,  

  • not just for energy but also  to avoid mind-numbing boredom.

  • As the sun started to go down, I very happily  crawled out of my hole. My stomach was rumbling,  

  • but I wasn't about to waste water on  digestion. You can easily survive while  

  • hungry, most people just don't like the  uncomfortable feeling of slow starvation.

  • By my estimate, I'd made around 22 miles the  first night, which was really good progress.  

  • The cool temperature helped me control my  sweating, allowing me to push myself harder.  

  • Also, I'm in good shape, traveling light, and  the desert was really flat. I haven't pushed  

  • myself this hard in a while though, and I'll  admit: covid quarantine has made me kind of soft  

  • around the belly, as the girlfriend is fond of  pointing out as she pokes at me and makes the  

  • pillsbury doughboy giggle. I could feel blisters  forming on my feet, but I'd have to tough it out.

  • My second night was, wellpretty uneventful to be honest.  

  • The desert is so sparsely populated  that wildlife isn't much of a threat,  

  • at least until you start looking for shelterbecause that's basically what it too is doing.  

  • The crystal clear night sky is something amazingand you can see every single star in the sky...  

  • and maybe I saw something more. Listen, I'm  not one of those UFO types, and I think the  

  • idea of aliens flying across the galaxy just to  flash some lights in our sky is pretty stupid,  

  • but I swear I saw a light for a while that seemed  to be moving... well, unnaturally. Then it just  

  • faded away. Weird, but I reminded myself that Area  51 is also in Nevada, so who knows what I saw.

  • Speaking of weirdness- here's a  special announcement for all you  

  • cryptid fans. This spring I will be  officially undertaking a hunt for bigfoot,  

  • and because you guys have been asking for it: yesit will feature real camera footage and not just  

  • animation. I'll be recording my trip and  my findings all for your viewing pleasure.  

  • We saw all the comments you guys made in my forest  survival video about possibly hearing Bigfoot,  

  • and the Infographics show was like, hey, why  don't you go find one? So I said sure, and we  

  • carefully researched a site in Oregon that's super  remote and booming with reported bigfoot activity.

  • Will the girlfriend be making an appearanceMaybe, I still haven't convinced her yet.  

  • She's not really the 'camping' type. Buteven if I don't get bigfoot on camera,  

  • I'll at least be able to put to rest all the  rumors in the comments section that I'm not  

  • a real person. Do you know how weird it  is to have people say you don't exist?!

  • Anyways, stay tuned for that challenge  episode dropping early this summer.  

  • As long as Oregon's forests don't  go up in flames like last summer.

  • Alright, so night two I made really  good progress thanks to the desert  

  • being so flat and featureless. The  day had taken its toll on me though,  

  • and by the time dawn came around I had only half  a canteen of water left. I knew I'd inevitably  

  • sweat during the day no matter how muchtried to stay out of the sun, so day three  

  • I'd likely be running with zero water. Pushing  myself as hard as I was, that wasn't good news-  

  • you can go without water for three days before  running risk of deadly dehydration, but that's  

  • if you're not really doing much physical  activity. I still had over twenty miles to go,  

  • and I could definitely feel the effects  of dehydration from my water rationing.

  • I got supremely lucky on dawn of day 3 and  found a small cave. Well, it was more like a  

  • rocky outcropping, with a huge slab of rock  jutting out from the side of a large bluff.  

  • It was deep enough that I'd be able to stay out of  the sun, but the entire time I was worried about  

  • the bluff coming down on top of me, because  your mind really loves to act irrationally.

  • During the day I made it a point to take my  shirt off and lick the inner armpit areas. Yes,  

  • this sounds disgusting, but it was important  that I get some salt back into my system, seeing  

  • as all I had brought was water. I considered  eating my two scorpions, but they were tiny,  

  • maybe if I had five or six of them they'd make  a decent meal. Despite my rumbling stomach,  

  • it just wasn't worth it to  burn water for two quick bites.

  • During the day I heard what's probably  the most terrifying sound you can hear  

  • in the American southwest- bees. Not just any  bees though, these desert-dwelling bees were  

  • almost certainly the dreaded Africanized  honey bees, or killer bees. These bees  

  • are incredibly ornery, and vicious about  attacking anything that disturbs them.  

  • Them flying around in a massive swarm during  the winter could only mean one thing though:  

  • something had messed up wherever they had  made their hive. Meaning they'd be super  

  • angry. Luckily for me, the bees went on their  happy, murdery way, leaving me completely alone.

  • I got an early start on night three, walking  before the sun was fully down and drinking the  

  • very last of my water. Now survival was seriousIf I missed my pickup for some reason, or if  

  • the person picking me up got into an accident and  couldn't come, I could be out here alone for days.

  • I am never really worried in a survival  situation until I've run out of water.  

  • That's when things get deadly serious.

  • You may have heard that you can cut  open cacti and drink the water inside,  

  • and this is wrong. Any moisture you  find is going to be very alkaline,  

  • and likely make you sick, leading to vomiting  or diarrhea- both things that are extremely  

  • costly in terms of water. You've probably heard  you can drink your own pee in an emergency,  

  • and I don't care what Bears Grylls tells youdon't. Seriously, there's a reason pee is a waste  

  • product: because it's full of waste. Drinking  your pee will just put all the junk your body  

  • filtered out back inside you, necessitating  even more water to get it back out again.

  • The best way to find water in the desert is  to watch for large flocks of birds in the sky.  

  • Individual birds are likely specialized for  desert survival, but flocks means that it's a  

  • bird species which is likely transiting the areaThat means they'll be looking for water too. Even  

  • better though is finding anything green. You might  not find any surface water, but dig down a few  

  • inches and you'll likely hit water. You can do the  same in dried up riverbeds, though you may have to  

  • dig a foot or more. Always remember that you're on  a water budget though, and digging means sweating.  

  • If you find nothing after few inches, maybe switch  locations- or give it up and just focus on moving,  

  • if your survival depends on you getting  somewhere other than where you are. Most  

  • times in a survival situation, it's best to just  stay put and make yourself as visible as possible.

  • You've probably also heard about solar stillsand if you have the materials to build one,  

  • it's not a terrible idea to throw one  together. Don't expect much out of it though,  

  • even under the best of conditions  you'll get little more than a sip.

  • If you can catch large bugs, popping them  open and sucking on the innards can get you  

  • a bit of fluids. Just try not to actually eat  them- you don't want to kickstart digestion.  

  • If you are somehow lucky enough to nab a small  animal, don't eat it. Instead, drink the blood-  

  • a lot of desert animals survive with no water  and instead live on the blood from their prey.

  • Sadly, my third night presented no opportunities  for water, and to make matters worse, the blisters  

  • on my feet were now fully formed. Your feet are  incredibly important in a survival situation,  

  • for obvious reasons. You want to always keep  them dry and should air them out every time  

  • you stop for a rest. Blisters can be dangerousbecause they can lead to infection, so you should  

  • try and keep them dry and clean. I had no way of  cleaning them though, so I just had to soldier on.

  • I'd been keeping track of my progress ontopographical map, which is really great for  

  • keeping your precise location as long as you  know how to read these types of maps. However,  

  • in a desert with few significant topographic  features, it's a lot harder. I realized I  

  • was significantly off course by the time the  sun was rising, and my pickup was supposed to  

  • be meeting me at 8 in the morning. I'd  ended up too far north by a few miles.

  • I thought about double timing it to get to the  pickup on time, but in a survival situation you  

  • always have to be thinking tactically. If I got to  the pickup and my ride wasn't there, I may have to  

  • survive out here another day or two on my own. I  couldn't risk exerting myself and losing even more  

  • energy and water. I can't stress this enoughalways, always think ahead in these situations.

  • I finally made it to my pickup just before  noon, and the sun did not disappoint,  

  • roasting me from above. Even with only moderate  winter temperatures, the desert provides no  

  • cover and the sun can be brutal. You might  be inclined to take off clothing to cool off,  

  • but this is the opposite of what you should doInstead cover yourself up with light colors in  

  • order to avoid making your sweating worse, and  to keep from getting sunburnt. There's a reason  

  • you always see middle east desert tribes covered  from head to toe even in 120 degree temperature.

  • My desert survival was