As my 4X4 slid sideways on the deeply rutted desert road submerged beneath six inches of murky brown water, my tires spinning madly and spewing geysers of mud, I silently pondered that word, “desert.”
I was in Oregon’s High Desert country in the extreme southernmost portion of Klamath County in late April, finishing up a successful day of varmint hunting, and the California-Oregon border was literally just a rifle shot away. But this place looked like anything but a desert. Green Junipers and blue sagebrush stretched for as far as I could see, the landscape altered only here and there by black basalt rimrock cliffs the size of single story houses. And there was water literally everywhere!
The year’s record rainfall, combined with the area’s natural springs, which keep this country lush, and green well into mid-summer, was forcing me to stay on the main BLM graveled roads as I searched for a place to camp. It was early evening when I finally made the bold turn onto this slippery spur road, and managed to make it a whole 1/4 mile before having to pull over and start unpacking my camp gear.
As the evening wind died, I was immediately assaulted by a boiling cloud of mosquitoes, inspiring me to redouble my efforts to finish building my lava rock fire ring. Dropping the last rock into place, I grabbed my saw and sprinted a few yards into the desert, returning moments later with an armload of questionable firewood. I quickly put some of the smaller pieces into the center of the ring, and then opened my box of ZIP Premium All Purpose Fire Starter as the mosquitos began to feast on my bare arms and neck in earnest. I set one of the ZIP cubes on top of the twigs, and touched my lighter to the corner of its clear wrapper. There was immediate ignition, followed by a very hot burning fire, and instant relief from those biting bugs! This is a great product, which has now earned a permanent place in my camp box.