Took a ride up Dagger Flats Road. There is an interesting array of desert plants along this road. The Chihuahuan Desert is the second largest desert in North America. Most of it is in Mexico. Rainfall averages 10 inches or less per year most of which comes in July and August. Lechuguilla or "shin dagger". These stout leaves can produce some nasty punctures. Creosote bush. Camels would eat these when other animals wouldn't. Leaves in the desert are bad for a plant (water loss) so these have a protective covering to preserve water. Ocotillo. Most of the time this thing is thorny stalks. In good times it grows small leaves and loses them when water is scarce. Strawberry Pitaya. Prickly Pear Cactus. Almost every state in the US has some species of prickly pear. Texas Persimmon. This variety produces sweet fruit and the black juice is used in drying leather. Torrey Yucca. The old leaves protect the trunk. I mentioned candelilla wax production. It comes from this candelilla plant. Candelilla stores water in the stems which are protected by a covering of wax. People would harvest the plant and then remove the wax by heating the material in a mixture of water and sulfuric acid. The wax is heavy and is useful for chewing gum, cosmetics, car wax, shoe polish, and other products. Giant Dagger Yucca Back in 1914 a guy and his two sons were herding goats on Dagger Flats. The old man went to town to get supplies. He hired a young fellow he found in Marathon to help out with the extra work at kidding time. The kid arrived in Marathon on a freight train and was pretty much a hobo. When they got back to camp at Dagger Tank they found the kid wasn't much of a worker. Instead of work., the kid wanted to read wild west novels. The men were making dinner when they heard the action on a Winchester rifle cycle. One herder named Bill turned to see the boy they hired shoot him. The bullet tore up two ribs and then smashed his jawbone. Another herder rushed the boy to get the gun and he was shot in the head and killed. The old man that hired the boy was shot and killed whiled trying to get up out of a chair. Though wounded, Bill was able to flee into the darkness. He made it about five miles out to the road when he met some Mexican boys that were freighting who took him to Bone Spring. From Bone Spring Bill continued on toward another ranch. Eventually he ran into a rancher who took him to Marathon. Bill told the rancher he had traveled about 30 miles trying to get help and that he only had one drink of water. Twenty eight hours after being shot Bill arrived in Marathon. The doctor in Marathon put Bill on a train to El Paso but said he thought Bill wasn't going to make it. He did and was still going strong about 40 years later. The boy thought he had killed all three of the men so he cooked up a story about how they were attacked by Mexican bandits and how he survived. Some think the kid got some ideas from reading those novels. In the end he was declared insane and put in a nut house in his home state of Illinois. Some time later, the kid escaped from the Illinois facility and killed two more men without cause. He was eventually executed.