Latest Desert Tales

  •   Black Canyon and Inscription Canyon are very special to me, these were the first places that I encountered Native American petroglyphs. Prior to visiting these beautiful canyons, I had focused all of my energy on visiting ghost towns, and mines – how quickly that changed after the ancient designs carved in the black basalt canyon walls also became etched in my mind. My fascination grew into an addiction overnight, to the point that I will endure anything, just to be able to see “rock art” first-hand, and document it for my own purposes. Neither of these canyons are big […]

    Black Canyon & Inscription Canyon {REBOOT}

      Black Canyon and Inscription Canyon are very special to me, these were the first places that I encountered Native American petroglyphs. Prior to visiting these beautiful canyons, I had focused all of my energy on visiting ghost towns, and mines – how quickly that changed after the ancient designs carved in the black basalt canyon walls also became etched in my mind. My fascination grew into an addiction overnight, to the point that I will endure anything, just to be able to see “rock art” first-hand, and document it for my own purposes. Neither of these canyons are big […]

  • Red Rock Canyon State Park is a gem in the California State Park system. It is located along Highway 14, about twenty-five miles north of the town of Mojave, at the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.  It is a unique niche in the Kern County desert, which is often seen as a barren desert wasteland, by those that don’t stop to discover the beauty first hand, or are just to arrogant or blind to see it. The park is most widely know for its colorful sandstone formations, rocky cliffs, and desert buttes. Because I am not a […]

    Red Rock Canyon State Park (California)

    Red Rock Canyon State Park is a gem in the California State Park system. It is located along Highway 14, about twenty-five miles north of the town of Mojave, at the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.  It is a unique niche in the Kern County desert, which is often seen as a barren desert wasteland, by those that don’t stop to discover the beauty first hand, or are just to arrogant or blind to see it. The park is most widely know for its colorful sandstone formations, rocky cliffs, and desert buttes. Because I am not a […]

  •   How have I never written about Titus Canyon before? I have driven Titus Canyon Road more times than I have fingers; have spent hours photographing sunrises along the famous Red Pass. I’ve been here when it was snowing, and when it has been over 100 degrees. In all honesty these aren’t the first words that I’ve written, on at least one other occasion I’ve sat down and tried to come up with something to say, but ended up at a loss for words. I still have no idea what I’m going to say, but here it goes… If coming […]

    Leadfield Road aka. Titus Canyon Road (Death Valley National Park)

      How have I never written about Titus Canyon before? I have driven Titus Canyon Road more times than I have fingers; have spent hours photographing sunrises along the famous Red Pass. I’ve been here when it was snowing, and when it has been over 100 degrees. In all honesty these aren’t the first words that I’ve written, on at least one other occasion I’ve sat down and tried to come up with something to say, but ended up at a loss for words. I still have no idea what I’m going to say, but here it goes… If coming […]

  •   The eastern Mojave Desert contains a treasure trove of archaeological sites of various sizes and significance; many of which are little to not at all known by the general public. The Cow Cove petroglyph site has become more of a public rock art site, it’s semi-remote location in the northeast coroner of the Aiken Cinder Cone field has been regularly advertised in multiple guide books (including my own), as well as having been published on several websites. With this “reboot,” I have provided a map of the area, including the hiking trail, and an outline of the area containing […]

    Cow Cove Petroglyphs (Mojave National Preserve) {REBOOT}

      The eastern Mojave Desert contains a treasure trove of archaeological sites of various sizes and significance; many of which are little to not at all known by the general public. The Cow Cove petroglyph site has become more of a public rock art site, it’s semi-remote location in the northeast coroner of the Aiken Cinder Cone field has been regularly advertised in multiple guide books (including my own), as well as having been published on several websites. With this “reboot,” I have provided a map of the area, including the hiking trail, and an outline of the area containing […]

  •   The Mojave National Preserve is still very much a wild place, a vast majority of it’s 2,403 square miles remains highly undocumented (at least in the public sector), and rarely visited. For years, I have enjoyed visiting the Preserve over any of the other California desert parks; mostly because you can spend days out bumping along dirt roads or hiking, and never see another soul. Perhaps that is why it remains off of the radar for most people; no food, no gas, and no hotels are a big turn off to most folks. In the spirit of Grumpy Cat, […]

    Burro Canyon Petroglyphs (Mojave National Preserve)

      The Mojave National Preserve is still very much a wild place, a vast majority of it’s 2,403 square miles remains highly undocumented (at least in the public sector), and rarely visited. For years, I have enjoyed visiting the Preserve over any of the other California desert parks; mostly because you can spend days out bumping along dirt roads or hiking, and never see another soul. Perhaps that is why it remains off of the radar for most people; no food, no gas, and no hotels are a big turn off to most folks. In the spirit of Grumpy Cat, […]

  • In early 2013, while out hiking in the El Paso Mountains outside of Ridgecrest, I found a small Native American camp. I have never gotten around to posting it, because I forgot about it; and recently rediscovered the photographs on my hard drive. Unfortunately that also means that I don’t remember the location of the camp, but I assume that it was in the north-west portion of the range. Based on the territory of the camp, it was most likely inhabited by the Desert Kawaiisu; previously known as just the Kawaiisu. Recent research has introduced the idea that there was […]

    Kawaiisu camp in the El Paso Mountains

    In early 2013, while out hiking in the El Paso Mountains outside of Ridgecrest, I found a small Native American camp. I have never gotten around to posting it, because I forgot about it; and recently rediscovered the photographs on my hard drive. Unfortunately that also means that I don’t remember the location of the camp, but I assume that it was in the north-west portion of the range. Based on the territory of the camp, it was most likely inhabited by the Desert Kawaiisu; previously known as just the Kawaiisu. Recent research has introduced the idea that there was […]

  • It has been a little over a year and a half since I first wrote about the Terese petroglyph and village site (CA-KER-6188) in the eastern portion of the El Paso Mountain Range. At the time of my first visit, there hadn’t been any documentation of Terese on the internet, with the exception of a passing mention in a couple of scientific papers. Public information, and photographs were nonexistent. I published my original article on Feb., 15th 0f 2013, with what I believe to have been the first public photographs documenting the site. Several other amateur archaeologists, explorers and photographers have […]

    Terese Petroglyphs / Village (Coso Style Petroglyphs / El Paso Mountains) – {REBOOT}

    It has been a little over a year and a half since I first wrote about the Terese petroglyph and village site (CA-KER-6188) in the eastern portion of the El Paso Mountain Range. At the time of my first visit, there hadn’t been any documentation of Terese on the internet, with the exception of a passing mention in a couple of scientific papers. Public information, and photographs were nonexistent. I published my original article on Feb., 15th 0f 2013, with what I believe to have been the first public photographs documenting the site. Several other amateur archaeologists, explorers and photographers have […]

  •   Sometimes from my home  in Joshua Tree, I can smell the foul odor of decaying fish from the Salton Sea, forty-seven miles away, but that is on a rather rare occasion.  For years I have seen photographs of The Salton Sea, in its current state of urban decay. Nothing would prepare me for a first-hand visit to this once thriving Southern California vacation spot; despite having zoomed past it on a few occasions, driving the 86 highway on my way to more desirable places like Anza Borrego State Park; I only stopped long enough to grab a drink and utilize the facilities of a gas station. The […]

    The Salton Sea, A Place Where Dreams Go To Die

      Sometimes from my home  in Joshua Tree, I can smell the foul odor of decaying fish from the Salton Sea, forty-seven miles away, but that is on a rather rare occasion.  For years I have seen photographs of The Salton Sea, in its current state of urban decay. Nothing would prepare me for a first-hand visit to this once thriving Southern California vacation spot; despite having zoomed past it on a few occasions, driving the 86 highway on my way to more desirable places like Anza Borrego State Park; I only stopped long enough to grab a drink and utilize the facilities of a gas station. The […]

  •   Kaleidoscope Canyon is located in the southern Black Mountains. You will not find it listed on any park brochure or map. Those that are aware of it, have guard it’s location, keeping it relatively unknown, and rarely visited. Since visiting in December of 2012, I have wanted to return, but have yet to find the time to do so. This canyon is by far the most colorful canyon that I’ve seen in Death Valley, it easily puts the highly visited Artist Palette to shame.  The hike starts out two miles after turning on Highway 178 from Badwater Road. In […]

    Kaleidoscope Canyon (Death Valley National Park) – {REBOOT}

      Kaleidoscope Canyon is located in the southern Black Mountains. You will not find it listed on any park brochure or map. Those that are aware of it, have guard it’s location, keeping it relatively unknown, and rarely visited. Since visiting in December of 2012, I have wanted to return, but have yet to find the time to do so. This canyon is by far the most colorful canyon that I’ve seen in Death Valley, it easily puts the highly visited Artist Palette to shame.  The hike starts out two miles after turning on Highway 178 from Badwater Road. In […]

  • This summer I have found myself venturing out of the desert quite a bit, and into the mountains in search of cooler temperatures and new things to see. Don’t worry, I’ll be back in the deserts as soon as the monsoonal moisture high tails it out of there. It is only fitting that I take my love and passion for Native American rock art to the mountains, and the Los Padres National Forest has plenty of it to see. Much like our desert rock art sites, the forest sites are equally if not more fiercely protected by their “keepers,” making […]

    Chumash Pictographs in the Los Padres National Forest

    This summer I have found myself venturing out of the desert quite a bit, and into the mountains in search of cooler temperatures and new things to see. Don’t worry, I’ll be back in the deserts as soon as the monsoonal moisture high tails it out of there. It is only fitting that I take my love and passion for Native American rock art to the mountains, and the Los Padres National Forest has plenty of it to see. Much like our desert rock art sites, the forest sites are equally if not more fiercely protected by their “keepers,” making […]

  •   White Tank Campground is one of the smallest campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park, and is best fitted for those wishing to car camp. There are limited resources provided, and there is no water available, so bring plenty. Besides camping, White Tank provides for some easy hiking and exploring opportunities around the White Tank monzogranite boulders, that the area takes it’s name from. How was White Tank monzogranite formed, you ask? Well, Joshua Tree National Park provides the following explanation: White Tank monzogranite commonly displays sets of cracks, called joints, that intersect at roughly right angles. The nearly vertical […]

    White Tank and “The Arch” (Joshua Tree National Park)

      White Tank Campground is one of the smallest campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park, and is best fitted for those wishing to car camp. There are limited resources provided, and there is no water available, so bring plenty. Besides camping, White Tank provides for some easy hiking and exploring opportunities around the White Tank monzogranite boulders, that the area takes it’s name from. How was White Tank monzogranite formed, you ask? Well, Joshua Tree National Park provides the following explanation: White Tank monzogranite commonly displays sets of cracks, called joints, that intersect at roughly right angles. The nearly vertical […]

  •     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 […]

Death Valley Jim Radio Program Archives

  •   On this weeks program, we are joined by Carl and Margaret Chavez as we travel to Bodie, California in 1966 and 1967. Carl was one of the earliest California State Park Rangers to be assigned to the remote ghost town of Bodie. He and his wife, Margaret arrived just as winter was setting in, in October of 1966. It wasn’t long after that Margaret learned that she was pregnant, and would have to make due with the less that hospitable conditions of a ghost town in the harsh winter. Last year the couple published their memories of Bodie in […]

    Death Valley Jim Radio Program – “A Year in Bodie” w/special guests Carl & Margaret Chavez

      On this weeks program, we are joined by Carl and Margaret Chavez as we travel to Bodie, California in 1966 and 1967. Carl was one of the earliest California State Park Rangers to be assigned to the remote ghost town of Bodie. He and his wife, Margaret arrived just as winter was setting in, in October of 1966. It wasn’t long after that Margaret learned that she was pregnant, and would have to make due with the less that hospitable conditions of a ghost town in the harsh winter. Last year the couple published their memories of Bodie in […]

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  • Jim, and John sit down for an exclusive, hour-long chat with tommi Johnston, the widow of Robert Johnston aka. The Ballarat Bandit.  Robert Johnston was a husband, and father of four when he left Canada to find himself in the Southern California desert.  For nearly a year he survived the harsh, Death Valley desert; becoming the focus of an intensive man-hunt after committing a series of  burglaries around the Ghost Town of Ballarat, CA and the Panamint Mountains.  Most of his theft involved basic supplies like food, water, and camping gear…but he also had a thing for guns. The FBI, […]

    Death Valley Jim Radio Program – The Ballarat Bandit w/special guest tommi Johnston

    Jim, and John sit down for an exclusive, hour-long chat with tommi Johnston, the widow of Robert Johnston aka. The Ballarat Bandit.  Robert Johnston was a husband, and father of four when he left Canada to find himself in the Southern California desert.  For nearly a year he survived the harsh, Death Valley desert; becoming the focus of an intensive man-hunt after committing a series of  burglaries around the Ghost Town of Ballarat, CA and the Panamint Mountains.  Most of his theft involved basic supplies like food, water, and camping gear…but he also had a thing for guns. The FBI, […]

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  •   This week on the Death Valley Jim Radio Program, we focus on basic survival in the desert. We speak with Rob Riddlemoser, owner of Off The Grid Survival Supply Store in Palm Desert, and past star of Doomsday Preppers about the basics of survival in the desert. Rob fills us in on the importance of having a survival kit in our cars, and what should be in those.  We also discuss Earthquake preparedness, and what and how much/many of those items you should have stockpiled in case of an emergency. We also speak with Laura Hunter of Escondido based […]

    Death Valley Jim Radio Program w/special guest Rob Riddlemoser & Laura Hunter (8/9/2014)

      This week on the Death Valley Jim Radio Program, we focus on basic survival in the desert. We speak with Rob Riddlemoser, owner of Off The Grid Survival Supply Store in Palm Desert, and past star of Doomsday Preppers about the basics of survival in the desert. Rob fills us in on the importance of having a survival kit in our cars, and what should be in those.  We also discuss Earthquake preparedness, and what and how much/many of those items you should have stockpiled in case of an emergency. We also speak with Laura Hunter of Escondido based […]

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Death Valley Jim News

  •   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 […]

  • I’ve done more ranting as of late, than writing about historic places. I haven’t intended for it to be this way, it has just sort of happened based on a number of circumstances that have either frustrated or infuriated me; in most cases both. I’ve never in the past considered myself an environmentalist, and I probably have a long way to go before any fanatical enviro-group would ever allow me to join their ranks. I find that I fit somewhere right in the middle – enough to piss off the complete tree-huggers, and the people with “this is my public […]

    Something stinks in Barstow

    I’ve done more ranting as of late, than writing about historic places. I haven’t intended for it to be this way, it has just sort of happened based on a number of circumstances that have either frustrated or infuriated me; in most cases both. I’ve never in the past considered myself an environmentalist, and I probably have a long way to go before any fanatical enviro-group would ever allow me to join their ranks. I find that I fit somewhere right in the middle – enough to piss off the complete tree-huggers, and the people with “this is my public […]

  • I first learned of the disappearance of Erin Corwin, a young pregnant Marine’s wife stationed on the Twentynine Palms Marine Base via a local “for sale” group on Facebook, just a day or two after she had been reported missing by her husband, Jonathan Corwin on June 29th, 2014.  This was before local media or national media picked up the story, which would go on to make headlines across the country. I didn’t know Erin, her husband or anyone else directly involved with the couple, but the story had a profound impact on me; after all, this happened in my […]

    My thoughts on the murder of Erin Corwin

    I first learned of the disappearance of Erin Corwin, a young pregnant Marine’s wife stationed on the Twentynine Palms Marine Base via a local “for sale” group on Facebook, just a day or two after she had been reported missing by her husband, Jonathan Corwin on June 29th, 2014.  This was before local media or national media picked up the story, which would go on to make headlines across the country. I didn’t know Erin, her husband or anyone else directly involved with the couple, but the story had a profound impact on me; after all, this happened in my […]

  •   Jim, and John sit down for an exclusive, hour-long chat with tommi Johnston, the widow of Robert Johnston aka. The Ballarat Bandit.  Robert Johnston was a husband, and father of four when he left Canada to find himself in the Southern California desert.  For nearly a year he survived the harsh, Death Valley desert; becoming the focus of an intensive man-hunt after committing a series of  burglaries in the Ghost Town of Ballarat, CA and the Panamint Mountains.  Most of his theft involved basic supplies like food, water, and camping gear…but he also had a thing for guns. The […]

    The Ballarat Bandit: Special Report – The Death Valley Jim Radio Program – 8/16/14

      Jim, and John sit down for an exclusive, hour-long chat with tommi Johnston, the widow of Robert Johnston aka. The Ballarat Bandit.  Robert Johnston was a husband, and father of four when he left Canada to find himself in the Southern California desert.  For nearly a year he survived the harsh, Death Valley desert; becoming the focus of an intensive man-hunt after committing a series of  burglaries in the Ghost Town of Ballarat, CA and the Panamint Mountains.  Most of his theft involved basic supplies like food, water, and camping gear…but he also had a thing for guns. The […]

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