Latest Desert Tales

  •     Sometimes I receive anonymous tips on places that are suggested that I pay a visit. Almost a year ago to this day, I received an email with a GPS coordinate, and the word “Mikiska” beside it, a messy scan of a few pages of a document called “Rock Art Papers Vol. 3″ was also included. Despite not posting this for a year, I paid “Mikiska” a visit almost immediately (goes to show how back logged I can become). “Mikiska” is located in an eastern draining canyon along the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains in Johnson Valley. I’m […]

    “Mikiska” Rock Art (Johnson Valley)

        Sometimes I receive anonymous tips on places that are suggested that I pay a visit. Almost a year ago to this day, I received an email with a GPS coordinate, and the word “Mikiska” beside it, a messy scan of a few pages of a document called “Rock Art Papers Vol. 3″ was also included. Despite not posting this for a year, I paid “Mikiska” a visit almost immediately (goes to show how back logged I can become). “Mikiska” is located in an eastern draining canyon along the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains in Johnson Valley. I’m […]

  • The Civilian Conservation Corps was a government agency that operated from 1933 – 1942; and was part of the New Deal. The agency was created to provide jobs for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families (unemployment compensation), between the ages of 18–25. The agency had a focus on conservation and the development of natural resources on rural land owned by federal, state and local government. During the CCC’s short existence, members planted nearly 3 billion trees, constructed more than 800 parks and upgraded most state parks, and built public roadways in remote areas. Valley of Fire was one of the […]

    Civilian Conservation Corps Stone Cabins & Petroglyphs (Valley of Fire State Park)

    The Civilian Conservation Corps was a government agency that operated from 1933 – 1942; and was part of the New Deal. The agency was created to provide jobs for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families (unemployment compensation), between the ages of 18–25. The agency had a focus on conservation and the development of natural resources on rural land owned by federal, state and local government. During the CCC’s short existence, members planted nearly 3 billion trees, constructed more than 800 parks and upgraded most state parks, and built public roadways in remote areas. Valley of Fire was one of the […]

  •   Lone Rock is just what you would image it is from it’s name, it is a single large boulder that sits away from a boulder strung canyon wall (sorry, no pictures of Lone Rock…I was too busy looking at petroglyphs).  The park provides a single table and grill, making for a nice picnic area. Lone Rock itself is not a secret, it is clearly marked, and located near the rock cabins. The petroglyphs are located along the western cliff side, and are probably not much of a secret either, but more than likely missed by the casual visitor. The […]

    Lone Rock Petroglyphs (Valley of Fire State Park)

      Lone Rock is just what you would image it is from it’s name, it is a single large boulder that sits away from a boulder strung canyon wall (sorry, no pictures of Lone Rock…I was too busy looking at petroglyphs).  The park provides a single table and grill, making for a nice picnic area. Lone Rock itself is not a secret, it is clearly marked, and located near the rock cabins. The petroglyphs are located along the western cliff side, and are probably not much of a secret either, but more than likely missed by the casual visitor. The […]

  • Blood and gore, two unpleasant words that perfectly describe what took place here, the Paiute village site of Moqua, in 1844.  Kit Carson and Alexander Godey, while on Fremont’s second expedition in the area, had managed to track down a band of Paiute Indians, who had been accused of horse theft at Bitter Springs (located on modern-day Fort Irwin). Carson and Godey tracked the Paiute back to their village site in the Kingston Mountain Range, and when they found them they had already butchered and began cooking the horses. The two men, shot two of the Indians, and proceeded to […]

    Screaming Bloody Murder at Horse Thief Springs – The Paiute village of “Moqua”

    Blood and gore, two unpleasant words that perfectly describe what took place here, the Paiute village site of Moqua, in 1844.  Kit Carson and Alexander Godey, while on Fremont’s second expedition in the area, had managed to track down a band of Paiute Indians, who had been accused of horse theft at Bitter Springs (located on modern-day Fort Irwin). Carson and Godey tracked the Paiute back to their village site in the Kingston Mountain Range, and when they found them they had already butchered and began cooking the horses. The two men, shot two of the Indians, and proceeded to […]

  • The Cat Stair Canyon site is a small but very interesting site in southern Utah. It is located south of Highway 89, in a gorge directly below the highway. From the gorge you can hear people zooming past; totally unaware of the 6,000 year old rock art directly below them. The site is accessed via dirt road, just east of the canyon off of the highway. A closed gate is across the road, open it and drive through to the parking area below. A trail leaves the parking area and enters the wash below. Follow the wash west until you […]

    Cat Stair Canyon Rock Art (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument)

    The Cat Stair Canyon site is a small but very interesting site in southern Utah. It is located south of Highway 89, in a gorge directly below the highway. From the gorge you can hear people zooming past; totally unaware of the 6,000 year old rock art directly below them. The site is accessed via dirt road, just east of the canyon off of the highway. A closed gate is across the road, open it and drive through to the parking area below. A trail leaves the parking area and enters the wash below. Follow the wash west until you […]

  •   The Lonely Dell Ranch is located at Lees Ferry in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, in Northern Arizona. It’s location is remote in terms of there not being any nearby cities, but many smaller communities are within a short driving distance. Lee’s Ferry itself is a popular destination to launch boats into the Colorado River; and for Grand Canyon boating adventures. Lee’s Ferry is also the end point for anyone hiking straight through the Paria River Canyon. Lee’s Ferry was founded in the 1870s by Jacob Hamblin; he was working for the Mormon Church who wanted to colonize […]

    Lonely Dell Ranch (Glen Canyon National Recreation Area)

      The Lonely Dell Ranch is located at Lees Ferry in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, in Northern Arizona. It’s location is remote in terms of there not being any nearby cities, but many smaller communities are within a short driving distance. Lee’s Ferry itself is a popular destination to launch boats into the Colorado River; and for Grand Canyon boating adventures. Lee’s Ferry is also the end point for anyone hiking straight through the Paria River Canyon. Lee’s Ferry was founded in the 1870s by Jacob Hamblin; he was working for the Mormon Church who wanted to colonize […]

  •   The Calico Mountains, predominantly know for their 1880′s silver rush that produced over twenty million in silver ore in just over twelve years, and the town by the same name that supported the 500+ mines. Today the town is a gimmicky look at what an old west town supposedly once looked like, but with the feeling of an amusement park. The amusement park reference is not a coincidence, considering Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm once owned and operated the town as a roadside attraction, before signing it over to the people of San Bernardino in 1966. The county […]

    The Careless Management and Destruction of the Calico Mountains

      The Calico Mountains, predominantly know for their 1880′s silver rush that produced over twenty million in silver ore in just over twelve years, and the town by the same name that supported the 500+ mines. Today the town is a gimmicky look at what an old west town supposedly once looked like, but with the feeling of an amusement park. The amusement park reference is not a coincidence, considering Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm once owned and operated the town as a roadside attraction, before signing it over to the people of San Bernardino in 1966. The county […]

  •   Sometimes adventures aren’t meant to happen the way you plan them, or they just might not be meant to happen at all. I had planned to hike the Paria River Canyon near Lee’s Ferry, AZ over a week in the beginning of July, the forecast was looking like I would have perfect weather for the duration of my backpacking trip; until the day before I was to leave. I was on the phone with my mom back in Pennsylvania, when I pulled up the forecast to see a string of thunderstorms now posted for every day of my trip. […]

    Death Valley Jim does the Paria Canyon Wilderness & Vermilion Cliffs National Monument (Part 1)

      Sometimes adventures aren’t meant to happen the way you plan them, or they just might not be meant to happen at all. I had planned to hike the Paria River Canyon near Lee’s Ferry, AZ over a week in the beginning of July, the forecast was looking like I would have perfect weather for the duration of my backpacking trip; until the day before I was to leave. I was on the phone with my mom back in Pennsylvania, when I pulled up the forecast to see a string of thunderstorms now posted for every day of my trip. […]

  •   “Petroglyph Canyon” in Zion National Park is a pretty well guarded secret. On the National Park Service’s scale of cultural site classifications it has been ranked a #2. What that means is, if you go up to a ranger and ask them where to see petroglyphs they will not tell you about this site. If you asked them about “a canyon with petroglyphs,” they again will not acknowledge it. However if you asked for the site by name, they might tell you about it, it just depends on the ranger. This classification system has always come across as kind […]

    “Petroglyph Canyon” (Zion National Park)

      “Petroglyph Canyon” in Zion National Park is a pretty well guarded secret. On the National Park Service’s scale of cultural site classifications it has been ranked a #2. What that means is, if you go up to a ranger and ask them where to see petroglyphs they will not tell you about this site. If you asked them about “a canyon with petroglyphs,” they again will not acknowledge it. However if you asked for the site by name, they might tell you about it, it just depends on the ranger. This classification system has always come across as kind […]

  •   Before a recent trip to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, I had learned of this small petroglyph site in the Kaibab National Forest, outside of Williams, AZ.  A short hike, and a couple of panels of petroglyphs sounded like a nice break from the monotony of being behind the wheel on a long 8 hour drive.  Not being one that is overly familiar with the lay of the land in these parts, I wasn’t sure how difficult the site would be to locate; but I was pleasantly surprised to find a marked trailhead and an adjacent parking area directly along […]

    Keyhole Sink Petroglyphs (Kaibab National Forest)

      Before a recent trip to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, I had learned of this small petroglyph site in the Kaibab National Forest, outside of Williams, AZ.  A short hike, and a couple of panels of petroglyphs sounded like a nice break from the monotony of being behind the wheel on a long 8 hour drive.  Not being one that is overly familiar with the lay of the land in these parts, I wasn’t sure how difficult the site would be to locate; but I was pleasantly surprised to find a marked trailhead and an adjacent parking area directly along […]

  •   Ibex Springs is located along the extreme southeastern border of the Death Valley National Park. Despite it’s close proximity to Highway 127; between Shoshone and Baker, the entire southeastern corridor of the park remains one of the least visited sections of this vast desert park. In 1881, Frank Denning and Stanley Miller (both miners) found an outcrop of silver and copper in the hills north of Saratoga Springs; they named it Ibex. In May of 1882, the two men sold the claim to Reverend Calvine A. Poage, the publisher of the San Francisco Occident for the sum of $48,000. […]

    Ibex Springs Ghost Town and Talc Mines (Death Valley National Park)

      Ibex Springs is located along the extreme southeastern border of the Death Valley National Park. Despite it’s close proximity to Highway 127; between Shoshone and Baker, the entire southeastern corridor of the park remains one of the least visited sections of this vast desert park. In 1881, Frank Denning and Stanley Miller (both miners) found an outcrop of silver and copper in the hills north of Saratoga Springs; they named it Ibex. In May of 1882, the two men sold the claim to Reverend Calvine A. Poage, the publisher of the San Francisco Occident for the sum of $48,000. […]

  • Back in April of 2012, I told you the story of the Old Dutch Cleanser Mine and Cudahy Camp in the El Paso Mountain Range.  Several months back I was contacted by Shirley Terral; a woman who spent a couple of years of her childhood growing up at the old mining camp, during a period that her father worked at the adjacent Old Dutch Cleanser Mine.  Shirley was kind enough to share her story, as well as a series of photographs from her childhood. I have tried to match-up some of the photos that I took in 2012 with her […]

    Cudahy Camp and The Old Dutch Cleanser Mine (1946-1947)

    Back in April of 2012, I told you the story of the Old Dutch Cleanser Mine and Cudahy Camp in the El Paso Mountain Range.  Several months back I was contacted by Shirley Terral; a woman who spent a couple of years of her childhood growing up at the old mining camp, during a period that her father worked at the adjacent Old Dutch Cleanser Mine.  Shirley was kind enough to share her story, as well as a series of photographs from her childhood. I have tried to match-up some of the photos that I took in 2012 with her […]

Death Valley Jim Radio Program Archives

  •   On this first episode of The Death Valley Jim Radio Program, Jim, and John Grasson of Dezert Magazine sit down and have a chat with Ted Faye of Gold Creek Films about mules, borax, and the lost treasure story of Kokoweef. Ted is the author of The Twenty Mule Team of Death Valley (Images of America (Arcadia Publishing)), and has produced a slew of Death Valley/Mojave Desert documentaries including the Weird Tales Video Series. His work has been showcased at the annual 49ers Encampment in Death Valley National Park, and he has spoken at and gained the respect of […]

    Death Valley Jim Radio Program w/special guest Ted Faye (7/19/2014)

      On this first episode of The Death Valley Jim Radio Program, Jim, and John Grasson of Dezert Magazine sit down and have a chat with Ted Faye of Gold Creek Films about mules, borax, and the lost treasure story of Kokoweef. Ted is the author of The Twenty Mule Team of Death Valley (Images of America (Arcadia Publishing)), and has produced a slew of Death Valley/Mojave Desert documentaries including the Weird Tales Video Series. His work has been showcased at the annual 49ers Encampment in Death Valley National Park, and he has spoken at and gained the respect of […]

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Death Valley Jim News

  •   You may have read my article, “The Careless Management and Destruction of the Calico Mountains” that I posted last week. The article was a grim look at the vandalism that has taken place in Mule Canyon and the Bismarck Mine. I’m pleased to announce that myself along with Southern California Off-Road Explorers have put together a BLM sanctioned clean up of these areas on August 23d.   We will meet at 7:30am at the Mule Canyon turn off, off of Calico Road.  Every member of the clean up crew will have to register with the BLM agent that has […]

    Calico Mountains / Bismarck Mine Cleanup – August 23rd

      You may have read my article, “The Careless Management and Destruction of the Calico Mountains” that I posted last week. The article was a grim look at the vandalism that has taken place in Mule Canyon and the Bismarck Mine. I’m pleased to announce that myself along with Southern California Off-Road Explorers have put together a BLM sanctioned clean up of these areas on August 23d.   We will meet at 7:30am at the Mule Canyon turn off, off of Calico Road.  Every member of the clean up crew will have to register with the BLM agent that has […]

  •   Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. 5: Death Valley National Park Sometimes secret places are in some of the most well-known places in our public lands. These secret places are kept a secret because there are groups or organizations that do not feel you, the reader of this very book, can be trusted with these secrets. In his beginnings, Death Valley Jim was a lot like those who read his books. He combed through piles of research, many of which led to dead ends and poorly documented sites. He also encountered outright refusal from rangers and other “protectors” […]

    Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. 5: Death Valley National Park

      Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. 5: Death Valley National Park Sometimes secret places are in some of the most well-known places in our public lands. These secret places are kept a secret because there are groups or organizations that do not feel you, the reader of this very book, can be trusted with these secrets. In his beginnings, Death Valley Jim was a lot like those who read his books. He combed through piles of research, many of which led to dead ends and poorly documented sites. He also encountered outright refusal from rangers and other “protectors” […]

  •   After several months of negotiation, Jim is pleased to announce the DEATH VALLEY JIM RADIO PROGRAM. This July, Jim will debut his program on Saturday afternoons, on RR BROADCASTING’s KPTR 1450 AM radio station, out of Palm Springs, CA. While Jim is known sometimes for his controversial view points on cultural and environmental preservation, the program will not only be politically and environmentally motivated, but also have a  major focus on highlighting interesting people and businesses in the California and Nevada Desert regions. Each week of the DEATH VALLEY JIM RADIO PROGRAM will feature guests from various walks of […]

    Death Valley Jim takes to the Air Waves

      After several months of negotiation, Jim is pleased to announce the DEATH VALLEY JIM RADIO PROGRAM. This July, Jim will debut his program on Saturday afternoons, on RR BROADCASTING’s KPTR 1450 AM radio station, out of Palm Springs, CA. While Jim is known sometimes for his controversial view points on cultural and environmental preservation, the program will not only be politically and environmentally motivated, but also have a  major focus on highlighting interesting people and businesses in the California and Nevada Desert regions. Each week of the DEATH VALLEY JIM RADIO PROGRAM will feature guests from various walks of […]

  • USA Today recently published an article entitled, “20 Reasons to Visit Dazzling Death Valley“. The list consists of the same old bullshit that has filled every mainstream guide-book, Death Valley NP newsletter, website, etc., for as long back as people have visited Death Valley for recreational purposes.  These lists are commonplace among travel websites and newspapers, the writers likely have little sense of adventure; and obviously little creativity. Because of this I have come up with Death Valley Jim’s, “15 Real Reasons to Visit Death Valley National Park.” Why only 15? I’m not here to do all the work for […]

    15 Real Reasons to Visit Death Valley National Park

    USA Today recently published an article entitled, “20 Reasons to Visit Dazzling Death Valley“. The list consists of the same old bullshit that has filled every mainstream guide-book, Death Valley NP newsletter, website, etc., for as long back as people have visited Death Valley for recreational purposes.  These lists are commonplace among travel websites and newspapers, the writers likely have little sense of adventure; and obviously little creativity. Because of this I have come up with Death Valley Jim’s, “15 Real Reasons to Visit Death Valley National Park.” Why only 15? I’m not here to do all the work for […]

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