This is the story of how I ended up lost and dehydrated in the desert.
"Lost" as in, I (we) had gotten off the trail and didn't know how far we were from civilization, but we were in a National Park, we could hear traffic on a road - like a mirage, it was always too far away - so we knew we were... roughly in the southeastern corner of Utah.
"Dehydrated" as in, according to the sign in a park restroom, I was exhibiting the signs: headache, irritable, loss of focus, and we did not have much water left.
"Desert" as in, the high desert of Utah - glorious to look at, fantastic weather, high enough altitude that the air is thin and temperatures moderate, and arid enough that you never seem to sweat!
This is also the story of my "preparation" for a day of hiking: I had a 32-oz. water bottle (for the two of us) plus some homemade fruit jerky. I felt prepared.
This was the first time I "failed" at a hike: The trail was sort of an inverse horseshoe, so at the most distant point from the Nature Center there was a structure with a lovely stone wall overlooking the view, where people could drive up and get pictures, if they didn’t want to hike.
Drive. So, there was a road.
We rounded that point, and continued back the other side, listening to cars on the road just out of sight, hiking on the primitive trail marked only by stacks of flat stones.
We wound around cluelessly through the high desert, vaguely in the direction of the road until at long last we were there.
Moral of the Story: Bring ample water and snacks into the desert!