Latest Desert Tales

  •   It was the first morning, of a several day Death Valley excursion – Blackrock Well was the first location on our agenda. The night prior, my exploration partner and I drove in from Joshua Tree. We  arrived at the Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin, a couple of hours after dark. We made camp there that evening, sleeping outside of the cabin – but utilizing the adjacent fire ring to keep warm. It was mid-October, and a chill was in the air – temperatures overnight dipped into the lower 40s, it was eye-opening as to what we would experience in the following days. […]

    Blackrock Well Petroglyphs (Death Valley National Park)

      It was the first morning, of a several day Death Valley excursion – Blackrock Well was the first location on our agenda. The night prior, my exploration partner and I drove in from Joshua Tree. We  arrived at the Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin, a couple of hours after dark. We made camp there that evening, sleeping outside of the cabin – but utilizing the adjacent fire ring to keep warm. It was mid-October, and a chill was in the air – temperatures overnight dipped into the lower 40s, it was eye-opening as to what we would experience in the following days. […]

  • Hunter Mountain is a forested gem in an ocean of hot dry desert – at an elevation of 7,140 feet, the temperatures are cooler, there is more game, as well as an abundance of water. The Timbisha Shoshone, at one time inhabited the valleys below – Saline, Hidden, Racetrack – as well as Lee Flat. Hunter Mountain itself was also utilized for both summer and winter camps.  To the Timbisha, Hunter Mountain is a sacred hunting ground, a place that they once gathered for communal rabbit and antelope hunts. The mountain’s vegetation also provided the material needed to make baskets. […]

    Jackass Spring Petroglyphs (Death Valley National Park)

    Hunter Mountain is a forested gem in an ocean of hot dry desert – at an elevation of 7,140 feet, the temperatures are cooler, there is more game, as well as an abundance of water. The Timbisha Shoshone, at one time inhabited the valleys below – Saline, Hidden, Racetrack – as well as Lee Flat. Hunter Mountain itself was also utilized for both summer and winter camps.  To the Timbisha, Hunter Mountain is a sacred hunting ground, a place that they once gathered for communal rabbit and antelope hunts. The mountain’s vegetation also provided the material needed to make baskets. […]

  •   Keeler Talc Mine aka. The White Horse Mine, is one of those obscure locations that nobody seems to really know anything about. Located only one mile south of the extensively mined Ubehebe Talc Mine, in the Cottonwood Mountain – the Ubehebe operation far overshadowed that of its neighbor, despite not having been discovered until two years after Keeler. The cluster of claims known as White Horse Talc #1, White Horse #2, and White Horse Talc #3-#4 unpatented lode claims, were discovered in 1943 by Alexander “Shorty” Borden, Bev Hunter, Roy Hunter, and Hellen Kraft. “Death Valley – Historic Resource […]

    Keeler Talc Mine (aka: White Horse Mine) (Death Valley National Park)

      Keeler Talc Mine aka. The White Horse Mine, is one of those obscure locations that nobody seems to really know anything about. Located only one mile south of the extensively mined Ubehebe Talc Mine, in the Cottonwood Mountain – the Ubehebe operation far overshadowed that of its neighbor, despite not having been discovered until two years after Keeler. The cluster of claims known as White Horse Talc #1, White Horse #2, and White Horse Talc #3-#4 unpatented lode claims, were discovered in 1943 by Alexander “Shorty” Borden, Bev Hunter, Roy Hunter, and Hellen Kraft. “Death Valley – Historic Resource […]

  •   Hunter Mountain in the Cottonwood Range is starkly different from a vast portion of Death Valley National Park – so much so, that one would think that they had entered a National Forest as opposed to a “desert park.”  Gone are the sand dunes, and vast wide open spaces – this is the land of mountain springs, Pinyon pine forest, and bright green vegetation. There are even deer that manage to survive here, I happened to be so lucky, as to have caught a glimpse of one bouncing across Hunter Mountain Road. Before miners arrived, Native American people flocked […]

    Spanish Spring Triple-Arrastra (Death Valley National Park)

      Hunter Mountain in the Cottonwood Range is starkly different from a vast portion of Death Valley National Park – so much so, that one would think that they had entered a National Forest as opposed to a “desert park.”  Gone are the sand dunes, and vast wide open spaces – this is the land of mountain springs, Pinyon pine forest, and bright green vegetation. There are even deer that manage to survive here, I happened to be so lucky, as to have caught a glimpse of one bouncing across Hunter Mountain Road. Before miners arrived, Native American people flocked […]

  •   Hidden Valley Road is a long, often straight stretch of dirt road – in suitable condition (most of the time) for the average high clearance vehicle to make its way down the lonesome road.  It wasn’t always as lonely of a road or valley, as it appears today. In the early 1900’s, much like other isolated portions of today’s Death Valley National Park, there were camps of hard-working people at every turn. There was a mining boom underway, and hardy people poured into the hot, rugged terrain with dreams of striking it rich. For most that dream was nothing […]

    Lost Burro Mine (Death Valley National Park)

      Hidden Valley Road is a long, often straight stretch of dirt road – in suitable condition (most of the time) for the average high clearance vehicle to make its way down the lonesome road.  It wasn’t always as lonely of a road or valley, as it appears today. In the early 1900’s, much like other isolated portions of today’s Death Valley National Park, there were camps of hard-working people at every turn. There was a mining boom underway, and hardy people poured into the hot, rugged terrain with dreams of striking it rich. For most that dream was nothing […]

  •   Traveling the “loop” from Pleasant Canyon over to South Park Canyon in the Panamint Mountains is always an enjoyable time; it doesn’t matter how many times you have completed the round trip – it never gets old. The historical aspects, and the natural beauty of climbing out of the barren desert valley, into a lush oasis, rugged mountain terrain, and finally a Pinyon pine tree forest – always leaves me in awe. I’ve covered several of the prominent historical mines and camps (Clair Camp, World Beater, etc…) along this route, but have never made any mention of Rita’s Cabin. […]

    Rita’s Cabin (Death Valley National Park)

      Traveling the “loop” from Pleasant Canyon over to South Park Canyon in the Panamint Mountains is always an enjoyable time; it doesn’t matter how many times you have completed the round trip – it never gets old. The historical aspects, and the natural beauty of climbing out of the barren desert valley, into a lush oasis, rugged mountain terrain, and finally a Pinyon pine tree forest – always leaves me in awe. I’ve covered several of the prominent historical mines and camps (Clair Camp, World Beater, etc…) along this route, but have never made any mention of Rita’s Cabin. […]

  • On a recent trip to Death Valley National Park, I was traveling along Racetrack Valley Road – from Teakettle Junction toward the Ubehebe Crater, on my way to Beatty, NV. It had been a long day of exploring in the vicinity of Hunter Mountain, and Hidden Valley, and I was thinking that it was about time to bed down for the evening at the Stagecoach Hotel & Casino. It had been a few days since my body had touched anything resembling a shower or soft mattress with sheets, and a blanket. While I highly enjoy roughing it in the outdoors, […]

    “Cottonwood Shaman Cave” and “Prismatic Canyon” (Death Valley National Park)

    On a recent trip to Death Valley National Park, I was traveling along Racetrack Valley Road – from Teakettle Junction toward the Ubehebe Crater, on my way to Beatty, NV. It had been a long day of exploring in the vicinity of Hunter Mountain, and Hidden Valley, and I was thinking that it was about time to bed down for the evening at the Stagecoach Hotel & Casino. It had been a few days since my body had touched anything resembling a shower or soft mattress with sheets, and a blanket. While I highly enjoy roughing it in the outdoors, […]

  •   Finding rock art  in Death Valley National Park, is like finding a needle in haystack – it’s not that there isn’t plenty of it to find, it is rather that with 5,219 square miles of wilderness, it is sometimes a daunting task to figure out where to begin. In the case of this particular site, I had come across photographs of the pictographs, and their surrounding mountains;  with a few additional hints I was able to place the valley. Google Earth was further able to assist me, when I was able to line up photographs with satellite imagery, which […]

    Hidden Valley Pictograph Shelter (Death Valley National Park)

      Finding rock art  in Death Valley National Park, is like finding a needle in haystack – it’s not that there isn’t plenty of it to find, it is rather that with 5,219 square miles of wilderness, it is sometimes a daunting task to figure out where to begin. In the case of this particular site, I had come across photographs of the pictographs, and their surrounding mountains;  with a few additional hints I was able to place the valley. Google Earth was further able to assist me, when I was able to line up photographs with satellite imagery, which […]

  • The desert is full of myths and legends – we have everything from the Yucca Man of Joshua Tree National Park, the witch of Tahquitz Canyon, to thousands of unfounded UFO sightings. One such legend is the Japanese Camp that overlooks Johnson Valley and Landers – while no monsters, witches or extraterrestrials are involved – it is an interesting story, but with no facts to back it up. The story is a simple one, and has now been passed on for several generations – a Japanese family or families, fled to this remote location in the San Bernardino Mountains, to escape […]

    Japanese Camp (San Bernardino Mountains)

    The desert is full of myths and legends – we have everything from the Yucca Man of Joshua Tree National Park, the witch of Tahquitz Canyon, to thousands of unfounded UFO sightings. One such legend is the Japanese Camp that overlooks Johnson Valley and Landers – while no monsters, witches or extraterrestrials are involved – it is an interesting story, but with no facts to back it up. The story is a simple one, and has now been passed on for several generations – a Japanese family or families, fled to this remote location in the San Bernardino Mountains, to escape […]

  • Rainbow Basin Natural Area is located about eight miles north of the city of Barstow, CA in the Calico Peaks Range. I have included a click-able map at the bottom of this post, it will take you to an interactive Google map for easy driving instructions. The scenic loop drive is along a well maintained dirt road that is suitable for most passenger vehicles, including a standard car (please be aware that this status can change at any time, especially after heavy rain – when in doubt contact the Barstow BLM Field Office at (760) 252-6000 for current conditions). The […]

    Rainbow Basin Natural Area – Scenic Drive

    Rainbow Basin Natural Area is located about eight miles north of the city of Barstow, CA in the Calico Peaks Range. I have included a click-able map at the bottom of this post, it will take you to an interactive Google map for easy driving instructions. The scenic loop drive is along a well maintained dirt road that is suitable for most passenger vehicles, including a standard car (please be aware that this status can change at any time, especially after heavy rain – when in doubt contact the Barstow BLM Field Office at (760) 252-6000 for current conditions). The […]

  •   Charles Manson – what can one say about this man, that hasn’t already been said? Not a damn thing – since his arrest in 1969 for his involvement in the grisly Tate-Labianca murders, the public has made it very well known their hated and fear of this man. But then there are his followers. Yes, you heard me right – Charles Manson still has a strong cult following, larger than what it was in the 1960’s, while preaching “Helter Skelter”,  and indoctrinating homeless youth in Southern California into his misguided hippie gang. The new face of Charles Manson is […]

    Spahn Ranch – “The Manson Cave” (Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park)

      Charles Manson – what can one say about this man, that hasn’t already been said? Not a damn thing – since his arrest in 1969 for his involvement in the grisly Tate-Labianca murders, the public has made it very well known their hated and fear of this man. But then there are his followers. Yes, you heard me right – Charles Manson still has a strong cult following, larger than what it was in the 1960’s, while preaching “Helter Skelter”,  and indoctrinating homeless youth in Southern California into his misguided hippie gang. The new face of Charles Manson is […]

  •   Over the 4th of July weekend, I found myself wandering aimless in southern Utah. My agenda had been blown to smithereens a couple of days prior when monsoon season hit, squashing my plans to hike the fifty mile Paria River Canyon in the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Having spent a few days in the Paria area, I decided to move on. I spent one night in Kanab, then bright in early on the morning of the 4th, I made my way to Zion National Park. It was still early when I pulled up to the East gate – there was […]

    East Rim Trail aka…That {expletive} Mountain! (Zion National Park)

      Over the 4th of July weekend, I found myself wandering aimless in southern Utah. My agenda had been blown to smithereens a couple of days prior when monsoon season hit, squashing my plans to hike the fifty mile Paria River Canyon in the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Having spent a few days in the Paria area, I decided to move on. I spent one night in Kanab, then bright in early on the morning of the 4th, I made my way to Zion National Park. It was still early when I pulled up to the East gate – there was […]

Death Valley Jim Radio Program Archives

  •   This week we are joined by Ranger X, a mysterious ex-Joshua Tree National Park Ranger, who has published a collection of paranormal stories revolving around Joshua Tree. That book is titled, “Paranormal Joshua Tree,” and since it’s release last fall, it has been a best seller on Amazon.com. Ranger X talks with us about UFO sightings, the desert version of Bigfoot – known at The Yucca Man, Barry Storm and his jade mine, and the grave robbing of Johnny Lang’s bones. It a spooktacular show, that you don’t want to miss!   STREAM OR DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAM IN MP3 […]

    Death Valley Jim Radio Program – “Paranormal Joshua Tree” – w/special guest Ranger X

      This week we are joined by Ranger X, a mysterious ex-Joshua Tree National Park Ranger, who has published a collection of paranormal stories revolving around Joshua Tree. That book is titled, “Paranormal Joshua Tree,” and since it’s release last fall, it has been a best seller on Amazon.com. Ranger X talks with us about UFO sightings, the desert version of Bigfoot – known at The Yucca Man, Barry Storm and his jade mine, and the grave robbing of Johnny Lang’s bones. It a spooktacular show, that you don’t want to miss!   STREAM OR DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAM IN MP3 […]

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  •     This week we sit down with the newly appointed Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent, David Smith.  We get to know Smith, by discussing his lengthy 22-year National Park Service career, and the various duties he has performed, working his way up the ladder to becoming the Superintendent of Joshua Tree. Smith also informs us of various structural changes that he has planned for Joshua Tree – and shares his love of community involvement, and educating people about their parks. Also discussed at length, is the controversy of the Park Service, and the suppression of cultural sites within park […]

    Death Valley Jim Radio Program – “Joshua Tree National Park” – w/special guest Superintendent David Smith

        This week we sit down with the newly appointed Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent, David Smith.  We get to know Smith, by discussing his lengthy 22-year National Park Service career, and the various duties he has performed, working his way up the ladder to becoming the Superintendent of Joshua Tree. Smith also informs us of various structural changes that he has planned for Joshua Tree – and shares his love of community involvement, and educating people about their parks. Also discussed at length, is the controversy of the Park Service, and the suppression of cultural sites within park […]

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  •   This week we sit down with Albert Okura, “The Chicken Man” – Okura is the owner of the successful SoCal fast food chicken restaurant chain, Juan Pollo. In 2005, Okura purchased the semi-Ghost Town of Amboy, CA – he has since been working to restore the community that was once the home of up to 700 people, during the heyday of the Route 66 boom.  Okura is also the proud owner of another Route 66 treasure – the site of the original McDonald’s in San Bernardino, which has been turned into an unofficial-McDonald’s Museum, and corporate office of Juan […]

    Death Valley Jim Radio Program – “Amboy, CA – One Man’s Dream of Owning a Ghost Town” – w/special guest Albert Okura

      This week we sit down with Albert Okura, “The Chicken Man” – Okura is the owner of the successful SoCal fast food chicken restaurant chain, Juan Pollo. In 2005, Okura purchased the semi-Ghost Town of Amboy, CA – he has since been working to restore the community that was once the home of up to 700 people, during the heyday of the Route 66 boom.  Okura is also the proud owner of another Route 66 treasure – the site of the original McDonald’s in San Bernardino, which has been turned into an unofficial-McDonald’s Museum, and corporate office of Juan […]

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Death Valley Jim News

  • Every year, the Desert Sun runs “The Best of the Valley” contest, to see who is the most talked about, and most beloved personalities, and businesses in various categories across the Coachella Valley. The coveted titles covers everything from Bakery, Night Club, to Radio Personalities.  I was honored with having received a nomination in “Radio Personality” in the first round, for my program on KPTR-1450 AM.  I’m flabbergasted to find that I’ve made the top 5, and have moved onto the finals. Thank you to everyone that voted for me in the preliminary round! Voting in the final round is […]

    “Best of the Valley” Finalist

    Every year, the Desert Sun runs “The Best of the Valley” contest, to see who is the most talked about, and most beloved personalities, and businesses in various categories across the Coachella Valley. The coveted titles covers everything from Bakery, Night Club, to Radio Personalities.  I was honored with having received a nomination in “Radio Personality” in the first round, for my program on KPTR-1450 AM.  I’m flabbergasted to find that I’ve made the top 5, and have moved onto the finals. Thank you to everyone that voted for me in the preliminary round! Voting in the final round is […]

  •   Last night CMT unleashed two-episodes of their new “reality” program, entitled “Death Valley”. The program, is advertised as a true to life look at the “characters” that live in and around Death Valley National Park – dubbed by cast member, and Darwin, CA resident Don Betts as, “The gates to hell”. The show’s trailer depicts Don as a psychopath, toting his homemade weapons, such as the “The Nailinator,” a club with nails sticking out of it.  He explains, “I tell you what, this sucker will take out your tires, and it will take out your face.” He elaborates, talking […]

    “Desertsploitation” – CMT’s Death Valley

      Last night CMT unleashed two-episodes of their new “reality” program, entitled “Death Valley”. The program, is advertised as a true to life look at the “characters” that live in and around Death Valley National Park – dubbed by cast member, and Darwin, CA resident Don Betts as, “The gates to hell”. The show’s trailer depicts Don as a psychopath, toting his homemade weapons, such as the “The Nailinator,” a club with nails sticking out of it.  He explains, “I tell you what, this sucker will take out your tires, and it will take out your face.” He elaborates, talking […]

  • I’m not passionate about a lot of things – but those things that I am, are closely related to the desert, whether it be historical or cultural elements, biological, or environmental. It hasn’t always been this way, as a teenager I was passionate about music; in a period of my twenties (after 9/11) it was politics. In my late twenties and now into my mid-thirties, I’ve grown into finding the love of my life – the deserts of the American Southwest. I would have at one time called people like me “Tree hugger” or “Libtard” – today I wear the […]

    Destroying our Desert in the name of “Green” Energy

    I’m not passionate about a lot of things – but those things that I am, are closely related to the desert, whether it be historical or cultural elements, biological, or environmental. It hasn’t always been this way, as a teenager I was passionate about music; in a period of my twenties (after 9/11) it was politics. In my late twenties and now into my mid-thirties, I’ve grown into finding the love of my life – the deserts of the American Southwest. I would have at one time called people like me “Tree hugger” or “Libtard” – today I wear the […]

  •   National Public Lands Day is Saturday, September 27th.  This is a day to lend a helping hand in cleaning up our public lands.  I have put together a list of California and Nevada desert clean-ups, a link is provided to obtain additional details from the National Public Lands Day website.   Why is National Public Lands Day Important? NPLD educates Americans about the environment and natural resources, and the need for shared stewardship of these valued, irreplaceable lands; NPLD builds partnerships between the public sector and the local community based upon mutual interests in the enhancement and restoration of […]

    National Public Lands Day – September 27th – Desert clean-up locations

      National Public Lands Day is Saturday, September 27th.  This is a day to lend a helping hand in cleaning up our public lands.  I have put together a list of California and Nevada desert clean-ups, a link is provided to obtain additional details from the National Public Lands Day website.   Why is National Public Lands Day Important? NPLD educates Americans about the environment and natural resources, and the need for shared stewardship of these valued, irreplaceable lands; NPLD builds partnerships between the public sector and the local community based upon mutual interests in the enhancement and restoration of […]

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