Deadlands Reloaded: Lost in the Maze
We’d be remiss if we failed to mention one last piece of advice for West Coast travelers—only fools trust the weather. The specifics vary from place to place, but the one thing you can count on from the weather is that it will be rotten at some point. “Always be prepared to get caught unprepared,” is what Mazers say.
The Great Maze and California are arid to semi-arid country, which means the weather is almost uniformly hot and dry. But the real trouble is in the water patterns. Since most travel through the Maze is done by plying the channels in various watercraft, sailors, travelers, and prospectors alike need to be aware of the deadly hazards that rear their heads nearly every time one sets foot on a boat.
To begin with, the tides are so extreme that a perfectly navigable channel might end up bone dry when the tide goes out. If one finds enough water to sail in, there are so-called “water dogs” that can shake a ship to pieces. Riptides sweep unpredictably through the Maze, buoying boats along or smashing them like toys against the rock walls. Powerful whirlpools, unpredictable waterspouts, and boiling sulphur pools in regions of volcanic activity—all are common perils capable of capsizing even the largest vessels.
The only rule of West Coast weather is that it doesn’t follow any rules. And while the above phenomena get most of the column inches, the real day-to-day danger is from the weather that no one predicts. Squalls, sand storms, floods, mudslides—these sorts of catastrophes have been encountered all over the Maze.
Be prepared to get caught unprepared!