If they'd been at Burning Man, it would have been much harder, because there's nothing there but flat blowing alkali dust, hot sun in the day, and cold at night.
What follows are some of the ways people have found to thrive in this very difficult environment.
The [www.burningman.org Burning Man] festival is held each year at the end of August for the week of the labor Day weekend. It's in Black Rock Desert of Nevada, which is a totally flat alkali dry lake.
This photo gives a good sense of what the surface is like. Now imagine a hundred square miles of just that. Now have fifty thousand people set up camp with gigantic artworks and lots of loud music. Do any possible problems occur to you?
This photo illustrates some solutions. It's a tent peg for holding up a shade structure.
There were 60 mph winds this year. Very few structures blew down due to good use of rebar (reinforcing rod manufactured for cement work) tent stakes.
This rebar tent stake is put through a rubber foot to make it more visible and entertaining. There's an orange mushroom rebar cap on the end so someone doesn't get impaled by falling on it. The guy line to the tent is tied with a tautline hitch so it can be easily tightened. The guy line is ornamented with christmas lights and yellow caution tape so someone doesn't trip on it. A very competent and decorative installation.
Step 1: Traditional Desert Shelter
The cloth is a fairly loose weave that filters out the dust but allows airflow in dust storms.
It's much cooler inside than you would expect from the dark color of the cloth.
Apparently the heated cloth induces a convection current of air up and out of the tent.
There are removeable wall panels that can be put up in dust storms. The side walls on the southern side are always left up.