From dust to tribe . . .

Dust and Tribe (D&T) is the experience of growth through adventure.

Our quarterly excursions are opportunities for men and women to push through the boundaries of supposed mental and physical limits into a new awareness of what we can be when we support one another.

It is where we discover what we are (dust) and what we become together (tribe).

Fall 2018: D&T V

On October 20th, 2018, sixteen men will head into Death Valley with their Jeeps and a map. This is their story.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

People Die Here

Death Valley holds the world record for the hottest air temperature ever recorded.

But we're going in October when the average daytime high is barely in the 90s.

I enjoyed the 90s. I still listen to just about everything that came out of Seattle. My last flannel shirt only recently disintegrated, unlike the Smashing Pumpkins which are (mostly) back together.

Sad about the flannel, though. It could have been helpful at night when temperatures in Death Valley typically hover in the 60s, though temperatures much lower have been recorded.

I'll get a new shirt, God willing. And I'll bring plenty of water. You should, too, because Death Valley is the driest place in North America.

Apparently, one or two people die every year from exposure in the park. I don't want that to be you or me, so let's talk a little about how to handle ourselves in the desert.

1. Don't go

This is important and easily the best way to avoid dying in Death Valley. When your friend who knows nothing about 4x4 vehicles invites you to jeep around in the hottest and driest spot in North America, you politely decline like the other 90% of invitees who will go on to live and procreate, passing their genetic mediocrity on to future generations of pasty, near-sighted coupon-clippers.

2. Hydrate cites U. S. Department of Defense research purporting that we could lose up to 6 quarts of water/day if all we did on a 90 degree day was sit in the shade.

I don't believe anything put out by the Department of Defense.

But point taken. With lost fluid, we also lose oxygen carrying capacity. So we gotta drink. A lot. We want to piss clear or close to it. Each of us should plan on a minimum of one gallon of water/day. And with jeeps to stash our gear, this shouldn't be too hard.

3. Salt

We lose more than just water through our sweat, so hydrating isn't enough. In fact, you can make things worse if the only thing you're replacing is water. We lose a fair amount of salt, too, and after awhile you can start to get real bad muscle cramps. Death is likely to follow.

Any good electrolyte supplement will do. You can buy some yummy powders with all kinds of helpful stuff, but regular old salt tabs will do just fine.

4. Cover up

You ever see the Bedouins? The Tuareg?

These brothers are wrapped up. Head to toe. This is how desert dwellers do it. It makes no sense to peel off your clothes and expose your skin to accelerate dehydration and UV exposure. Resist the temptation.

5. Stay in your vehicle

We're going to be driving around. There's no GPS in Death Valley. We'll use the buddy system. We'll have two jeeps driving together at all times. If something happens to one jeep, the other can go for help.

But don't leave your jeep. There's a bit of shade in there. A jeep is easier to spot than a person. It's just safer.

6. Layers

As mentioned at the top, nights can get chilly. So have a few extra layers you can toss on to stay nice and cozy.

Tell us about your desert survival tips in the comments below! And follow Dust and Tribe on Instagram!


  1. Very funny:
    ..."passing their genetic mediocrity on to future generations of pasty, near-sighted coupon-clippers".
    We could add: singing "I have become comfortably numb" by Pink Floyd...
    eating ice cream and Cheetos
    watching mindless TV, as a couch potato.
    My family lived in Saudi Arabia for 35 years. Sometimes we got stuck in sandstorms, where it becomes hard to breathe. Seems like there are no significant sand dunes or sand storms in Death Valley. In 1974, we had a bad car accident on the way to Mecca where my parents almost died. But cars and roads are much less hazardous now.
    With the Creator's Help we will be safe in the desert and will have a safe and adventurous trip with D & T. Looking forward to seeing the stars too

    1. There are actually loads of sand dunes in Death Valley! Mesquite Flat, Eureka, Saline Valley, Panamint, and Ibex. Great sandboarding opportunities await, insha Allah :)