Are you ready to skip town and move to your land to get away from it all? Are you prepping for SHTF TEOTWAWKI? Are zombies shuffling into your once safe suburbs? Do you just want a place to go if any kind of disaster, natural or man-made hits? If so, then there are some special considerations for “bugging out” in Hudspeth County.
Acres and acres of land. One of the benefits of “bugging out” in Hudspeth county is that you can purchase 20 or more acres for less than the cost of a fraction of an acre somewhere else in the country. And the parcels around yours will tend to be very large also. Whatever or whomever you are avoiding would need to be very determined to scour dozens of football fields worth of land just to find you taking shelter under a Trecul Yucca tree. Below is an example, and it doesn’t take into account any features in your land such as mixed terrain or how much scrub brush / vegetation anyone would need to trek through to find you.
Remoteness. If you do a Google Earth search for land around the USA which is remote but also not already claimed for farmland, you’ll find the area around Sierra Blanca and Van Horn from the mountains close to Mexico to the south, all the way north to Dell City is very sparsely populated, and the available land outside those small cities generally is only available from 5 acres and up. So not only is there plenty of space within a typical lot of land to “bug out” but getting out to where your land is on dirt roads could easily take 30 minutes from the nearest city. Considering the gas stations are few and far between or non-existent in some places around the county, again, it would take someone very determined and with a nearly unlimited supply of gas to root out all the residents around Hudspeth county. Not something a rag-tag band of political extremists is very likely to attempt. Even an oppressive government would find little reward/return as an incentive to hunt down your cache of once legal, now illegal firearms buried somewhere on your 20 acres (or lost in a boating accident in the desert). Little green men in UFOs on the other hand are another story.
You’re not Cornered. With vast swaths of land uninhabited, if you stray off your property to bug out from your own bug out camp(!) temporarily, chances are no one will notice. This is the upside to Texas’ wide open spaces. Some plots of land with limited easements may even require you to use trails through other private but uninhabited property. I would not make a practice of this unless you have an agreement with someone who owns the other land, especially on inhabited or developed property, but you might need to cross other land at least to initially “find” your plot if it is not in a structured subdivision with maintained dirt roads.
Being remote means being prepared. Having remote land also means you need to get used to keeping yourself well supplied and self-sufficient. A spare can of gas and a large bladder of water should be in your vehicle at all times, along with some vacuum-sealed emergency food bars and drinking water that are resistant to heat. Vehicle breakdowns and mishaps can happen. Make sure your vehicle has all the tools needed to fix a flat tire and keep it well maintained. Carry a shovel if you are going somewhere where your vehicle could get stuck. For your place of temporary or permanent residence, you’ll want to have quality sources of protein and a stock of healthy foods or dried fruit so you are not dependent on the closest gasoline stand’s selection of Slim Jims and soda for your food and drink. You may need to drive to pick up your mail periodically rather than expect your mail delivered every day. If you cannot afford a well (or if a well would need to be prohibitively deep), you will need a way to store water that is hauled to your property, and lots of it. More on that below.
Electricity, or the lack of it. If you are lucky to find land that has power run and available nearby, or are willing to spend money to have the electric company run a mile to your home, electricity will not be a problem. A challenge with remote land anywhere is that you may need to rely on other sources such as solar or wind power for your electric. The good news of course is that Hudspeth County has plenty of sunlight(!) and unlike somewhere like the Pacific Northwest or Louisiana, tall trees casting shade on your solar panels or overcast rainy skies is not a problem.
Water, or the lack of it. Water is life. To some, the idea of bugging out in the desert seems crazy because after all, you’ll eventually need water. There are however a few ways to address this concern. One simple one is to get a water container and have water delivered periodically. I’ll do another post on that, because in an end of the world, apocalyptic SHTF scenario you may not be able to depend on regular delivieries. Your preference would be to be as self-sufficient as possible, or able to hold out for a long time at least. A good option is to drill a well powered by solar. Of course a well usually includes at least a small tank for storing the water it pulls up so the pump can run infrequently, and someday that pump will need servicing.
Both water storage and a well would not be unusual in Hudspeth Country remote land. However, all plots of land are not equal. The cost of a well is determined primarily by how deep it has to be dug for a reliable water supply. The cost of a container for water is significantly less, but depending on how remote your land is, and your water usage (if you have a family of 4+, for example), a well may make more sense economically over the long term. This consideration can vary quite a bit between sites. In some places you may find digging a well is a few thousand dollars. In others the cost could be extreme to the point that it would be prohibitive. You may not know the depth required to hit water until after you’ve purchased your land, and you may want more than one estimate. With several acres there may be advantage to trying somewhere else on your property. It may also determine where you choose to live on your property. Another supplemental SHTF option is to dig a space for a cistern to collect and hold rainfall, a watering hole, or gutters around your dwelling to catch rain in a rain barrel. Some desert dwellers have elaborate setups for this. I would not rely on these as your primary source of water, but they can reduce your water usage for things like watering plants or washing gear and tools outdoors. Again, a solar-powered pump could help get the water out of a below-ground cistern with less hassle.
Water Haulage. My advice would be to work with “water haulage” at first while prepping your property and until you know the situation with digging a well on your land. Haulage involves someone delivering, or you yourself towing, a large tank of water on a trailer and supplying it to some kind of reservoir such as an in-ground cistern or above ground tank possibly even leaving the tank on the trailer it was towed in on if your water usage is limited. The idea of water haulage may seem strange to anyone used to city water, but many rural homes have propane brought in on a truck a few times a year, so the concept of supply-by-truck is not unique to the desert. Also please note that I’m not talking about a 10 gallon jug you found at the garden supply store. Water haulage needs to service all your needs for water for a week or more. One person in a typical home can use 80 gallons of water a day. Of course you might find yourself more frugal than that when you can see the water you are using is not from some unlimited hidden source as with city water. You may not want to run a dishwasher, or leave the tap running while washing dishes, for example. Showers vs. baths, etc.
One method I’ve seen is filling your own 500 gallon tank a few times for a few trips and for less than $ 20.00 per 2000 gallons . If you were living alone and conscious of your water usage, 2000 galllons could easily last you a month or much, much longer according to Desert Horizons.
Another way would be to make multiple trips with a smaller tank or several tanks that can fit inside your own vehicle or pickup bed. Obviously if your land has no road access or extremely rough roads only a 4×4 can traverse, then having a large tank of water brought in behind a vehicle would be a challenge. Of course any water well driller or concrete truck would need to contend with such a challenge as well, so I highly recommend accessible property over something hidden in the mountains unless you only intend to use it for short camping trips with hiking involved.
The Desert Can Produce Fruit Too. You are not going to grow typical crops like green beans and corn on remote Hudspeth County land. You may have success with an indoor hydroponics setup depending on how green a thumb you have. The desert, however, has its own “crops”. You may have seen prickly pear cactus pads reddish fruits for sale in your supermarket. If you want to ensure an emergency food supply that actually tastes good and doesn’t need you to provide constant water, you should consider planting some since they will require very little care (unless there is a prolonged drought), and the fruits are honey sweet. Cattle ranchers actually rely on prickly pear as an emergency food.
Trees and shrubs also are always a good choice because they require very little once established. But you are unlikely to be successful growing a fruit tree if you only make infrequent trips out to your land. That said, if you live on your land there are desert-tolerant trees that can do well with some occasional watering, such as Jujube (which has small fruits that taste somewhat like apples but can be dried like dates) and Fig trees. Certain drip irrigation setups can be very frugal also.