Drinking from Desert Wells

“the carson Route offered no advantage in crossing the Forty Mile Desert, though—in fact, it may have been worse. A few dug wells supplied some water (“intensely brackish, bitter with salt and sulphur”) a few miles beyond the Humboldt Sink . .  .

You can visit some of these dug wells along the Carson Route today. I drank from the so-called Double Wells (about five miles south of the Humboldt Sink) on a hot September day much like the emigrants would have experienced. The water tasted of salt and dish soap mixed with algae. It took a whole beer to take the flavor away—and then a second to toast the hapless souls who had to drink the stuff to survive—and then a third to toast the beauty of cold beer on a hot day in the desert.”