The Lure of The Wilderness
There is a mysterious soothing sensation felt when being sheltered by a tree or a big cave or when near a lake, river or stream. The pleasant feeling that occurs when watching a small fire burning is not fully explained by the radiant heat. I think that these responses developed because they favored survival during the 2,500,000 years of human evolution and that they have not diminished during the brief span of recorded history.
Wilderness areas in general have this effect but it is even more evident in desert wilderness areas. The American deserts have starkly beautiful geology in part due to the complex nature of the local geological history and because great expanses of this geology is exposed to view instead of being covered with soil or vegetation. There are many amazing plants and animals that have evolved unique means of surviving these harsh environments. Water is limited yet when springs or pools are found there is a reinforced sense of amazement.
Like all of our continent, at different times in history these desert lands were occupied by Indians to the maximum density allowed by their culture. In these deserts there remain preserved traces of their kitchens, shelters, trails, tools and art. To walk where they walked, to see where they lived and worked and to see their art adds to a sense of wonder.