“Mojave Car Wash”

Walking down the wash

This is an interesting little corner of the Mojave. I was surprised to see so many old junked cars out here. It is pretty unusual to see so many in one place but why are they here? They all seem to be missing their engines and drive-trains. One engine could have been used to power equipment at the mine, so why six more?
(read more…)

Cary Ranch Pictographs

These are very interesting.

A few years ago, my friend Rick and I were invited out by Dick Cary to visit his historic Cary Ranch and examine some of the pictographs there. The ranch area was first inhabited by the Mountain Cahuilla indians. The site is near a natural pass and an old indian trail that connects inland Southern California shrub lands to Anza Borrego country of the Sonoran Desert.
(read more…)

Summit Mine

Waste rock was easy to get rid of.

High up in the spires of the Sierra Nevada there lies a hidden and seldom visited mine where a trail goes through the mountain.

To get there, you have to follow a steep trail across jagged granodiorite cliffs. A thousand feet below is the old mining camp of Lundy and the views of 13,057 ft (3,979m) Mt. Dana across the canyon are quite spectacular.
(read more…)

Adamson Mine

At 12,990′, the Adamson is the highest mine in the Sierra Nevada. And as you might suspect, getting there is no easy feat. It is a strenuous 8.6 mile (one-way) and 3,670 foot climb up the rugged Wheeler Ridge to reach it. This is the top of the Sierras. Altitude sickness is a real concern here so be aware of headaches and fatigue. Turn around and head down if you feel sick.
(read more…)

Jayhawker Spring Petroglyphs, Death Valley National Park

That's Jayhawker Spring.

The Jayhawkers are famous for their harrowing journey through the unexplored lands of Death Valley in 1849 on their way to reach the fabled gold fields of California’s Mother Lode. They made it, but only after burning their wagons and ditching some of their possessions. They are likely the first white people to set foot in the vast alkali valley and are credited for giving Death Valley its name.
(read more…)

Peg Leg Smith’s Inscription

Alysia up at the inscription.

Sometimes in the desert, you can find what you are looking for.

It was already dark by the time we started our drive out into the desert. The sky was completely overcast and the wind was howling. And after a few hours of driving on the highway, it started to rain. Light at first and then heavy and constant. We weren’t exactly looking forward to getting into camp late at night in a heavy rain. But that is what we did. And after more than an hour of driving down rocky dirt roads and navigating across sandy washes, we spotted a faint light off in the murky distance. Minutes later, we rolled into our friend’s camp. They had gotten there earlier in the day and were wisely already hunkered down in their tent. We buckled down in our truck for the night. Wind and rain rocked the truck for hours and made for a restless sleep.
(read more…)

“Sky Cross” Pictographs, Joshua Tree National Park

The ceiling of the shelter is amazing.

Deep in the wilderness of Joshua Tree National Park is a site that I call the “Sky Cross” Pictographs. This is a rather large rock shelter with unusual red lines painted across a domed ceiling. The lines form arches across the ceiling and remind me of the night sky. There is even a small sun glyph on the eastern wall. I think a few of the other small designs could also be stellar constellations. Near the rear of the room, a small tunnel leads into another chamber with only a couple of very faint pictographs. This is Serrano and Cahuilla territory and I wonder if any other similar panels of broad bands of pictographs exist?
(read more…)

“Monolith Alcove” Pictographs, Joshua Tree National Park

Out in the rocks.

Not too long ago, I met up with DarthJenni and JP to do some exploring in the backcountry of Joshua Tree. We went on a slightly longer-than-normal hike into a seemingly endless maze of granite boulders, arches and spires. It was almost enough to get lost in.
(read more…)

Cary’s Castle, Joshua Tree National Park

The front of the Castle in Janurary, 2016. Note the door is missing.

Tucked away in the backcountry wilderness of Joshua Tree National Park is a hidden gem called Cary’s Castle. In 1935, and at the tender age of 24, a young man named Arthur L. Cary (often misspelled “Carey”) moved from Colorado to the Coachella Valley. Besides starting a small family, he almost immediately became involved in mining. He staked a few claims, along with his father, in their spare time. This one was called the “Welcome Stranger” but seems to have been owned by Arthur alone. He spent much of his time out here from 1938 to 1941 developing the mine and enjoying the remote country. He probably built the Castle at that time.
(read more…)

Spoked Wheel Geoglyph

The spoked wheel geoglyph.

At the end of a long day exploring pictographs around the badlands of Anza Borrego, we made one last stop – the Spoked Wheel Geoglyph.
This ceremonial site is a twenty foot diameter geoglyph consisting of two circles with spokes connecting them. A native trail runs nearby.
(read more…)