This tire track is probably 10 years old. Note the dark crusty appearance of the soil, it’s a living layer composed of a network of lichens, algae, fungi, and minerals that provide the life-supporting foundation for all desert plant life. It holds in moisture and nutrients for plants and trees, and prevents the wind and rain from blowing away the loose soil underneath. When we drive across it, it creates a trench that will erode and undermine whole sections of land, creating dust, erosion, and eventually trail closures. Stay on the trail.