Best Crash Course in Desert Survival 2015 | Ancient Pathways LLC | Goods & Services | Phoenix

What should we do if bitten by a venomous snake while hiking? What if our car breaks down in the middle of the desert and we have no cell service? What wild plants in our backyard are edible and which ones will kill us? Well, you can learn the answers to these questions by taking any of Ancient Pathways' desert survival classes. The company is based in Flagstaff but teaches all over the state. You can sign up for a one-day course in primitive and modern desert survival tactics, and you'll learn about building emergency shelters and locating water. If you're more adventurous, you can sign up for a three-day intensive course and learn all about tracking animals, capturing wild game, and using the stars to navigate. There's plenty of outdoor hands-on experience, and head instructor Tony Nester has taught survival skills to Army Special Operations and U.S. Border Patrol agents. If you want to impress your friends — or just make it out alive should disaster strike — then Ancient Pathways has your back.

2532 North Fourth Street, Flagstaff

After stints working in nurseries and the Department of Agriculture, Michael Lanier couldn't contain his knack for raising plants to the confines of his home in downtown Phoenix's Garfield neighborhood. Lanier took his green thumb public this year, opening The Bosque inside monOrchid gallery on Roosevelt Row. Living up to its botanical name, the plant boutique offers apartment-friendly greenery with an assortment of cactus and succulents, as well as pothos plants. Though Lanier's focus is on low-maintenance desert flora, he also offers such non-native oddities as coconut trees and coffee plants and takes special orders. With a little water and some guidance from Lanier, aspiring horticulturists can go green with ease.

You may think that getting a cactus in Phoenix is an easy feat. They're everywhere, right? This may be true, but don't you even think about touching that saguaro down the block. For one, it's illegal to move a saguaro without a permit and, two, messing with those spines is risky, at best. Instead, leave the dirty work to the professionals at Phoenix Desert Nursery. Besides saguaros in various stages of growth, this nursery has almost every cactus you could think of. Looking around the property is like gazing over a vast ocean of terrifyingly spiny beauty. You'll find everything from chollas to organ pipes, aloes to prickly pears. Hoping to add some hip succulents to your windowsill and Instagram account? Yep, Phoenix Desert Nursery's got your back.

Readers Choice: Moon Valley Nursery

Best Place to Build Your Car in the Desert

Local Motors

There's nothing quite like getting in your car at 120 degrees and playing hot potato with your seatbelt buckle before clicking it into place and bracing yourself for the slow and steady burn of the nylon belt. Let's face it: Cars are not made for the desert, but Local Motors is on a mission to change that. The hottest car on LM's Phoenix roster is the Rally Fighter, a car specifically designed to take on off-road desert terrain and catch the eyes of anyone cruising down I-10. But to get your hands on one, you'll have to help build it. Every car purchase comes with a commitment of either one week or two three-day stretches in which the buyer builds the car alongside one of Local Motor's mechanics — everything from laying brake lines to assembling the Chevy E-ROD LS3 engine. Yield: a uniquely badass (desert) experience.

Whether you have a plot at a community garden or a succulent on your countertop, you're likely contributing to the growth and longevity of plants suited to the Arizona desert. And though seeds of these plants can be snagged at hardware stores and online depots alike, Native Seed/SEARCH hopes to educate the public and support native (and increasingly endangered) desert flora that could disappear faster than a terrarium at a hipster boutique. The Tucson-based nonprofit is home to 1,900 accessions of native arid-lands-adapted crops. And as a hopeful antidote to Monsanto and climate change, NS/S opened a seed library in its retail storefront where library members can check out seeds, grow their own plants, and "return" seeds harvested from their plants so they can be used by other members. Get planting, Phoenix.

3061 North Campbell Avenue, Tucson

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