Latest Desert Tales

  •   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 […]

  •   Queen Mountain is on the northern edge of Joshua Tree National Park.  West of the mountain is the aptly named Wonderland of Rock, northwest is Indian Cove, and to the northeast, the Oasis of Mara – all of which are rich in Native American history. It would only make sense that the Chemehuevi (the native people of the area) would have made their way up Queen Mountain. In the past year, I have taken four trips to the top of Queen Mountain. It is a different world from that of the desert below – plant life thrives, with a […]

    Queen Mountain Pictographs and the William Mike Theory (Joshua Tree National Park)

      Queen Mountain is on the northern edge of Joshua Tree National Park.  West of the mountain is the aptly named Wonderland of Rock, northwest is Indian Cove, and to the northeast, the Oasis of Mara – all of which are rich in Native American history. It would only make sense that the Chemehuevi (the native people of the area) would have made their way up Queen Mountain. In the past year, I have taken four trips to the top of Queen Mountain. It is a different world from that of the desert below – plant life thrives, with a […]

  • The Trona Pinnacles are the very definition of “weird landscape,” with their outer space like appearance. Located in Searles Valley – on the Searles Dry Lake, the Pinnacles are located roughly twenty-three miles east of the community of Ridgecrest, CA – and thirteen miles south of Trona. For those visiting Death Valley National Park, the Pinnacles are south of Stovepipe Wells; roughly 82 miles.  Access is very simple, with the main entrance being well-marked, off of Route 178. Once off of the pavement, there is a seven mile stretch of dirt road – this can be a little slow going depending […]

    Trona Pinnacles {REBOOT}

    The Trona Pinnacles are the very definition of “weird landscape,” with their outer space like appearance. Located in Searles Valley – on the Searles Dry Lake, the Pinnacles are located roughly twenty-three miles east of the community of Ridgecrest, CA – and thirteen miles south of Trona. For those visiting Death Valley National Park, the Pinnacles are south of Stovepipe Wells; roughly 82 miles.  Access is very simple, with the main entrance being well-marked, off of Route 178. Once off of the pavement, there is a seven mile stretch of dirt road – this can be a little slow going depending […]

  •   I have traveled the Panamint Mountain Range countless times over the years. I have hiked and driven the canyons and drainages, and I’ve camped among the burros. This not only goes for the Panamints, but a large portion of the Mojave Desert, yet I haven’t seen it all, and I likely never will. There is far too many countless crevices for one person to see in their entire life, much less multiple lives…if you believe in such a thing.  The prospectors of yesteryear, who spent a majority of their adult lives wandering the desert in search of ore, have […]

    The Panamint Mountains through my Lens

      I have traveled the Panamint Mountain Range countless times over the years. I have hiked and driven the canyons and drainages, and I’ve camped among the burros. This not only goes for the Panamints, but a large portion of the Mojave Desert, yet I haven’t seen it all, and I likely never will. There is far too many countless crevices for one person to see in their entire life, much less multiple lives…if you believe in such a thing.  The prospectors of yesteryear, who spent a majority of their adult lives wandering the desert in search of ore, have […]

  • Long before cars speed by on the 118, and even before the Spanish Portolà expedition reached Simi Valley in 1770 – Simi Valley was home to a band of Chumash Indians. Over 5,000 years ago the Chumash settled Simi Valley; there was no freeway system, no streets lined with businesses, no children playing in fenced backyards. Simi Valley was wild, as wild as Alaska’s, Yukon. When the Chumash first arrived in Simi Valley, their way of life was very primitive. Hunting technology was still at it’s earliest form, thus, these early Native American settlers survived on mostly acorn and marsh […]

    Hummingbird Spring – Chumash Habitation Area (Simi Valley)

    Long before cars speed by on the 118, and even before the Spanish Portolà expedition reached Simi Valley in 1770 – Simi Valley was home to a band of Chumash Indians. Over 5,000 years ago the Chumash settled Simi Valley; there was no freeway system, no streets lined with businesses, no children playing in fenced backyards. Simi Valley was wild, as wild as Alaska’s, Yukon. When the Chumash first arrived in Simi Valley, their way of life was very primitive. Hunting technology was still at it’s earliest form, thus, these early Native American settlers survived on mostly acorn and marsh […]

  •   “Creator gave us sacred places, we have not forgot. Not just rocks with paintings, but all that is around here – guardian spirit rocks, as well.” – Chumash Elder Once again, I find myself venturing outside of my usual territory, my comfort zone, my home, my beloved scorched desert. But the more time that I spend in the Sespe Wilderness, Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Ynez Mountians, the more they begin to also feel like home; with a few noticeable difference, more trees, and overall much denser vegetation. These places remain truly wild despite their relatively short […]

    The Painted Wind Cave – Santa Ynez Mountains

      “Creator gave us sacred places, we have not forgot. Not just rocks with paintings, but all that is around here – guardian spirit rocks, as well.” – Chumash Elder Once again, I find myself venturing outside of my usual territory, my comfort zone, my home, my beloved scorched desert. But the more time that I spend in the Sespe Wilderness, Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Ynez Mountians, the more they begin to also feel like home; with a few noticeable difference, more trees, and overall much denser vegetation. These places remain truly wild despite their relatively short […]

  • I enjoy wandering, I prefer it over walking the same old trail that thousands of people have walked before me. The reward in not taking the beaten path sometimes comes in finding interesting places or things that are not common knowledge. I’ve scoured around Queen Mountain and Valley at various times over the past year. The area has kind of become my go to place when I’m feeling too lazy to plan anything else. Don’t take that the wrong way, I do thoroughly enjoy the area. Along the base of Queen Mountain there are stacks of boulders, a variety of […]

    The Mystery Fireplace and mines of Queen Valley (Joshua Tree National Park)

    I enjoy wandering, I prefer it over walking the same old trail that thousands of people have walked before me. The reward in not taking the beaten path sometimes comes in finding interesting places or things that are not common knowledge. I’ve scoured around Queen Mountain and Valley at various times over the past year. The area has kind of become my go to place when I’m feeling too lazy to plan anything else. Don’t take that the wrong way, I do thoroughly enjoy the area. Along the base of Queen Mountain there are stacks of boulders, a variety of […]

  •   Welcome to cattle country, the abundant number of hockey pucks is all that you need for proof of that –  along with the bull that is staring you down after having startling him awake during his creosote induced slumber. Either way, this portion of the eastern Mojave is the home of open grazing, and desert living like it is supposed to be done.  Despite being a National Preserve, there are plenty of private ranches that still have grazing rights to a large portion of the land. Rustler Canyon would be considered remote to most people, the nearest sign of […]

    Rustler Canyon (Mojave National Preserve)

      Welcome to cattle country, the abundant number of hockey pucks is all that you need for proof of that –  along with the bull that is staring you down after having startling him awake during his creosote induced slumber. Either way, this portion of the eastern Mojave is the home of open grazing, and desert living like it is supposed to be done.  Despite being a National Preserve, there are plenty of private ranches that still have grazing rights to a large portion of the land. Rustler Canyon would be considered remote to most people, the nearest sign of […]

Death Valley Jim Radio Program Archives

  •   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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  •   On this weeks program we speak with Mark Jorgensen. Mark is a retired superintendent at Anza Borrego Desert State Park, and an authority on Desert Bighorn Sheep.  His credentials also include work with the Bighorn Institute, and The Desert Bighorn Council. Mark has recently released a book, along with Jeff Young (photographer), titled “Desert Bighorn Sheep: Wilderness Icon,” through Sunbelt Publishing. It is the most comprehensive photographic work on this elusive symbol of the deserts of the southwest United States and northern Mexico. Mark brings his five decades of experience studying desert bighorn sheep and managing their habitat to […]

    Death Valley Jim Radio Program – “Desert Bighorn: Wilderness Icon” – w/special guest Mark Jorgensen

      On this weeks program we speak with Mark Jorgensen. Mark is a retired superintendent at Anza Borrego Desert State Park, and an authority on Desert Bighorn Sheep.  His credentials also include work with the Bighorn Institute, and The Desert Bighorn Council. Mark has recently released a book, along with Jeff Young (photographer), titled “Desert Bighorn Sheep: Wilderness Icon,” through Sunbelt Publishing. It is the most comprehensive photographic work on this elusive symbol of the deserts of the southwest United States and northern Mexico. Mark brings his five decades of experience studying desert bighorn sheep and managing their habitat to […]

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  •   This week, we are joined by documentary film maker Robert Lundahl. Lundahl’s “Who Are My People?” is a film that takes a first hand look at the massive scale of destruction taking places in the deserts of the Southwest, all in the name of “green” energy. No longer is it just pristine desert lands being destroyed, it is also lands that are sacred to the indigenous people of the Colorado River region, and beyond. Lands that their ancestors left mysterious, yet sacred messages. Listen in, as we discuss the insanity that is “GREED” solar. “Who Are My People?” on […]

    Death Valley Jim Radio Program – “The Green Destruction of the Desert” – w/special guest Robert Lundahl

      This week, we are joined by documentary film maker Robert Lundahl. Lundahl’s “Who Are My People?” is a film that takes a first hand look at the massive scale of destruction taking places in the deserts of the Southwest, all in the name of “green” energy. No longer is it just pristine desert lands being destroyed, it is also lands that are sacred to the indigenous people of the Colorado River region, and beyond. Lands that their ancestors left mysterious, yet sacred messages. Listen in, as we discuss the insanity that is “GREED” solar. “Who Are My People?” on […]

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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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