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The Desert Speaks
THE DESERT SPEAKS is an Emmy award-winning series focusing on desert regions around the world. Much more than a nature documentary, THE DESERT SPEAKS presents stories about the people, cultures, plants, animals and geological features encountered on travel adventures in deserts near and far away. Host David Yetman is a research scientist at the University of Arizona's Southwest Center and is a nationally known author and accomplished photographer who specializes in the plants, geography and people of northwestern Mexico. Using boats, bikes and burros, Yetman takes viewers from Bolivia to Baja California, bringing his boundless enthusiasm, energy and knowledge to the series.

Below is a list of broadcasts scheduled to air in the next 60 days on any of our three channels.

Episode #1410
Living Traditions of The Tohono O'odham
The Tohono O'Odham ("Desert People") live on the second-largest reservation in the United States, located southwest of Tucson, Arizona and share hundreds of miles with the Mexico border, across which some still live. Although many O'Odham live off the reservation and don't grow traditional crops, among the older members their language is still very much alive, as are many of the cultural traditions and beliefs. Learn how a concerned group of tribal members knowledgeable in these traditions are taking an active part in passing down practices of saguaro fruit harvesting and basket weaving to their children and grandchildren.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Aug 7th @ 7:00 am

Episode #1411
Origins of a Royal Road
The trade route of El Camino Real (The Royal Road) served as an interchange of cultures and riches for the Puebloan people hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans. Later, the route became the tattered thread that sewed together the Spanish strongholds in southern Mexico to the tiny, distant settlements of Nuevo (New) Mexico. Take a three-part journey along this historic route of communication, conquest and gold, from Mexico City through the Chihuahuan Desert to the mountains of Santa Fe, New Mexico and explore the natural and cultural wonders that dot the landscape along the way. The journey begins at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, considered by many to be the most religious site in Mexico. From there, journey into the jungle landscape outside the city and marvel at the ornate buildings of the ancient settlement, Tepotzlan, and the Aztec ruins of Tula, which lies on the original El Camino Real. The next stop on the route is Queretero, a city known for its Romanesque aqueduct system that carried water to the parched city. Also explore a subterranean drainage system that has been turned into roads in the mining town of Guanajuato, known primarily as the hotbed of Mexican independence from Spain.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Aug 14th @ 7:00 am

Episode #1412
Royal Road Across The Frontier
In the second part of the journey along the ancient highway, learn about the traditional hot springs of Aguas Calientes that gave the ancient traveler a brief respite from the dry, dusty roads. While the springs no longer exist, the town still marks the boundary between the lush green landscape behind and the dry dangerous desert frontier that looms ahead. The first stop in the desert is the mining town of Zacatecas. Travel deep into the bowels of the gold and silver mines and take a ride high above in a cable car. Other desert stops on this part of the journey include the agricultural, commercial and tourist center of Durango, originally founded as a mining town in 1563, and the towns of Mapami and Valle de Allende.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Aug 21st @ 7:00 am

Episode #1413
Royal Road To The Final Outpost
The third installment of the trip along El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro includes a visit to Hildago del Parral, and its monument to the famous soldier of Mexican independence, Pancho Villa. Nearby Santa Barbara, also along the original route, is a festive sight with deep, proud roots to the ancient Royal Road. El Paso del Norte marks the passage of the route across the border into the U.S. A stop in Chamizal National Memorial on the border reveals the historic importance of the Rio Grande to Mexico and the U.S. Next, visit Dona Ana, one of the first permanent settlements north of the Rio Grande. Travel through Jornada del Muerto (Dead Man's Journey) - a dry, flat and arid stretch of the route that left ancient travelers along the Royal Road disconnected from any source of water for nine days. Hatch, New Mexico is still known for the same types of chilies that the Spaniards encountered on their way through the valley corridor centuries ago. The journey north from here was initially considered too dangerous for permanent settlement because of constant raids from indigenous groups. The current town of Albuquerque is located at a natural crossing of the Rio Grande and was settled nearly a century after the last stop on El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. Santa Fe was eventually established as the new capital of the Spanish Empire, and is now the true end of the journey along El Camino Real.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Aug 28th @ 7:00 am

Episode #1501
Goat Packing in The Red Desert
Natural historian and eccentric scientist John Mionczynski (also known as "Mr. Red Desert") "invented" goat packing nearly 30 years ago in the high and cold Red Desert of Southwest Wyoming. He guides host David Yetman on a journey through the "heart" of the desert - the Honeycomb Buttes, which boast extremely colorful honeycomb rock formations. Along the way, they get to know their four-legged companions and experience the adventures involved in goat packing, including searching for wild cilantro, onion and garlic in the desert and using the excretion from ants as salad dressing.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Sep 4th @ 7:00 am

Episode #1502
Wyoming's Red Desert
Host David Yetman hops into a 50-year-old BMW motorcycle sidecar to explore Wyoming's mysterious Red Desert, one of the least known and most threatened deserts in North America. Also called the "Great American Desert," this eight-million-acre area has vast and varying landscapes including the largest active sand dune system in North America and the Great Divide Basin - the only place in the United States where the Continental Divide splits before rejoining. It is also steeped in history and fable, with ties to the Oregon Trail and the gold rush, as well as its share of ghost towns. Though it is high and cold, the Red Desert is home to the largest desert elk herd in the nation, the largest migratory game herd in the continental U.S. and over 350 wildlife species. Other highlights include a look at wild mustangs, petroglyphs and aspen groves. But all of these wonders exist under the constant threat of future oil and gas development.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Sep 11th @ 7:00 am

Episode #1503
Heart of a Pueblo
Plazas are the heart and soul of bustling Mexican cities and sleepy desert pueblos alike. Renowned architect Bob Vint travels with host David Yetman to explore a range of plazas, from pre-Hispanic to modern, and examine their unifying characteristics. The program includes a sampling of cities with some of the most beautiful and influential plazas, from the first pre-Hispanic plazas in Chichen Itza to one of the world's largest plazas in Mexico City. Then it's on to the small town of Potscurro to discover how courtyards are to the home as plazas are to the town. The program also uncovers how plazas were valued and used by people in the New World thousands of years before Spanish contact.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Sep 18th @ 7:00 am

Episode #1504
Gateway To The Galapagos
The Desert Speaks begins its journey to the Galapagos Islands with a visit to Ecuador, which is to the islands as the United States is to Hawaii. After visiting a market on the mainland and a village with a monument to the equator, it's off to the islands of Bartolome and Genovese to explore their volcanic origins and get an up-close and personal look at the native wildlife. Some of the featured animals include several species of Boobies, waved Albatross, marine iguanas, Galapagos Hawks and the Magnificent frigate birds. A special treat for desert dwellers is the island version of the Prickly Pear Cactus, only this version has soft, "pettable" spines.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No upcoming airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Sep 25th @ 7:00 am


This list includes any broadcasts that aired in the past 2 months on any of our three channels.

Episode #1409
Desolation Canyon River Journey
Take a trip down the virtually unknown Green River in Utah, which is often overshadowed by its more famous counterpart - the mighty Colorado River. Along the river's course explore what is perhaps the best-known geographical feature of the river, the prehistoric creatures buried along its banks in Dinosaur National Monument. No trip down the Green River would be complete without a venture through the appropriately named Desolation Canyon and some of the wildest, least inhabited areas remaining in the U.S. This 84-mile long gorge is deeper, at some points, than the Grand Canyon and exposes sediments accumulated over millions of years. Learn how the Green River is one of the most important rivers in the desert southwest and continues to be shaped by changes in the surrounding geology, vegetation and modern-day dams.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Jul 31st @ 7:00 am

Episode #1408
Peru's Canyon of The Condor
Travel through Peru's Colca Canyon - at 12,000 feet one of the tallest and deepest canyons in the world - in search of Andean Condors, massive birds with wingspans more than 11 feet wide. Explore the natural history of these graceful creatures and learn their ritualistic significance to the native people of the area. Along the way through the canyon, examine the terraced farming that is a result of pre-Incan engineering sophistication. See how the native people still live pretty much the same way as they did before the arrival of the Incans. Learn how the fruit of the huge sancayo cactus is harvested and enjoy a traditional lunch with a group of workers taking a break from their potato harvesting. Then take a look at how the plowshare and oxen are still used in the harvesting process. Finally, admire a colorful field of ripening quinoa and visit a pair of women winnowing the essential Andean crop.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Jul 24th @ 7:00 am

Episode #1407
Sea To Sky: Along an Incan Road
Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes are enigmatic remains of pre-Incan cultures, with vast rock art sites, colossal effigies etched into the nearly lifeless desert and burial sites that lay forgotten under the arid land for centuries. Examine these ruins and remains before venturing to the skies for a bird's-eye view of the famed Nazca lines. These mysterious drawings in the desert floor are astonishing in their creativity and size, with images of hummingbirds, monkeys and parrots hundreds of feet long and perfectly proportioned and geometric shapes that extend for miles. Theories abound about why these images were created and how the feat was accomplished. Also, explore spiral structures that provided access to the labyrinth of underground canals and aqueducts used by the Nazcans for irrigation. The next stop is Arequipa, a former colonial capital of the Spanish that was built on an ancient Incan site. The trip ends at a burial ground on the shores of a high Andean lake that has been used for millennia and demonstrates the incredible stone-carving abilities of the Incas.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Jul 17th @ 7:00 am

Episode #1406
Tracks in The Shifting Sand
Explore one of the largest dune fields in North America at the Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area. The Algodones Dunes in Southern California stretch across more than two hundred square miles and are visited by more than 1.4 million people each year, most of whom use some sort of off-road vehicle. A state highway splits the northern part of the dune field between wilderness and recreational area, but the task of monitoring the usage creates problems of its own. In stark contrast, the Gran Desierto Dunes are characterized by magnificent isolation. Located in Mexico, these dunes lie within a biosphere reserve and are further protected from large crowds by a nearly inaccessible road built essentially from well-placed trash and old tires. See firsthand why this dune system is known for its unique formations created by the constantly shifting winds and how the native plants adapt to the unpredictable gusts. Finally, visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in southern Utah and become a track detective to learn what stories can be told by animal tracks left in the sand.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Jul 10th @ 7:00 am

Episode #1405
Monumental Dunes
The accumulation of wind-blown sand into a dune marks the beginning of one of Nature's most interesting and beautiful phenomena. In addition to the remarkable structure and patterns of sand dunes, they also provide habitats for a variety of wildlife. The arid regions of the southwestern United States contain a vast variety of dune systems. Visit three groups of sand dunes located on public land in the United States. First, explore a set of dunes that sit at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and are fenced in by two river systems complete with stands of Aspen trees. Learn how these river boundaries affect the nearby dunes and inspect the insects that call the dunes their home. Next, travel to the base of the Guadalupe Mountains in west Texas where a tiny gypsum dune system plays host to wildflowers on its edges and rodents living within. Finally, visit White Sands National Monument in New Mexico and examine ancient hearths built by Native Americans who made the trek to the dunes to escape the harsh mountain winters.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Jul 3rd @ 7:00 am

Episode #1403
People and Their Prickly Plants
Enjoy a slice of the cactus-collecting life with a look into the ways people collect and enjoy some of the oddest plants in the world, then head to Scottsdale, Arizona to see the largest private collection of desert-area plants in the world. Also on the itinerary are visits to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum and an amazing collection at Bach's Nursery in Tucson, Arizona, where they have a better success rate with their individually raised saguaro cacti than Mother Nature herself. Finally, travel on Interstate 10 to Los Angeles for North America's largest cactus and succulent show - the Olympics of cactus cultivation.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Jun 19th @ 7:00 am

Episode #1402
Ancient Andean Civilizations
La Paz, Bolivia, at nearly 12,000 feet, is one of the highest cities in the world and the mystical home to a variety of religious beliefs as evidenced by the amulets and ceremonial items sold in the Witches' Market in the city center. The surrounding countryside holds the remains of the Tiahuanacos whose culture, impressive rockwork and irrigation accomplishments were a source of inspiration to the Incas. After exploring the archeological wonders of the area, take a side trip down the aptly-named "Most Dangerous Road in the World" - a narrow, precipitous dirt road that snakes its way along the sheer cliffs of the Andes. Then, it's off to Lake Titicaca to examine the traditional reed boats used to transfer stones across the lake for use at Tiahuanaco. Finally, hop on a more modern vessel to visit Isla del Sol, the legendary birthplace of the sun and the Grand Inca and home to the mysterious Temple of the Sun - said to be the origin of the Incas.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt Life Channel 2.3

Fri Jun 12th @ 7:00 am

The Driest Desert in The World
The Pan-American Highway stretches thousands of miles from Alaska to the southern tip of Chile and includes a jaunt through the extremely arid coastal desert of Peru. From Peru's capital city of Lima, hit the road on an adventure through this "driest desert in the world." The first stop is the Ballestas Islands 15 miles off the coast and home to a rich array of marine life. Get an up-close look at the marine mammals and millions of sea and shore birds. Learn how the cold Humboldt Current attracts the wildlife to the islands and contributes to the dry desert on the mainland. Along the way, marvel at a 600-foot geoglyph of a San Pedro cactus carved into a hillside hundreds of years ago. The road continues through the desert town of Ica and its oasis surrounded by immense sand dunes, which encompass more than 1,000 square miles of shifting sand. Finally, visit Toro Muerto - essentially a large canvas of rock and sand that contains one of the richest collections of petroglyphs in the world.
26 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.

tpt MN Channel 2.2

No previous airings of this
episode on this channel.


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