More From The Desert National Wildlife Refuge

A bosque is a name for a desert woodland, in this case, a large gallery forest of honey mesquite trees.
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The Desert Dwarfs Man and Machine

A look at the vastness of just one part of the Mojave Desert, here in Clark County, Nevada.

Driving_North_on_Southern_Nevada_Liteweight_Road from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.
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New Videos for Wikimedia Commons

Chasing an unseen ATV rider across the dry bed of Jean Lake

ATV riders coming back from Jean Lake, their dust clouds making a dead lake live

This one isn’t going to make it into Wikipedia. Fun with swirls
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The Kokoweef Mine and Cavern

Read some outdoor stuff at my rockhounding blog:


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rocks and lapidary Uncategorized

Field Trip in California’s Mojave Desert Coming Up!

I’ve been to this rock shop several times and gone out on one of their field trips. Highly recommended to do both. If you can’t catch this trip, check out their schedule for future events. Only fifty people permitted on this trip. Have fun!

Field Trip March 23d

Mining Supplies and Rock Shop and Hesperia Recreation and Park District are sponsoring field trips for $10.00 per person paid in advance, in our store.  If you wish to pay through our website it will be $11.00 per person.  Go to, choose field trips and buy the field trip you wish to attend by clicking the “add to cart” button. Paying at the sight is $20.00 per person. Everyone paying in advance will receive an email explaining where the gathering site is, what time to meet, what we will be finding, what to bring, approximate times, etc. You are welcome to join up with others at the site who may have 4-wheel drive. We will be accepting only 50 people for this trip.

Saturday, March 23rd, North Cady Mountains – 4-wheel trip

Hi all, we will be meeting right off the Basin Rd exit on I-15.  We are meeting at 8:00am and will be leaving the staging area by 8:15am sharp!  This is a location that never fails to please.  Collecting areas exsist for fluorite, many colors of agate, Sagenite, nodules and so much more. At this site there are many options to choose from.  Collecting can be done in the parking area or we can hike to any of the many locations all with 1 mile or so of the parking area.  This is an advanced 4-wheel drive out to the site. All vehicles going must be high clearance 4-wheel or all-wheel drive. Deep sand and a few very rough hills are included in this drive.  There is a gas station one exit past Basin Rd, but it is not cheap!  Those who want to go and do not have 4-wheel drive may try to team up with people who do at our gathering site, but this is not a guarantee.

You will need to bring a rock hammer and a bucket to carry your finds in.  You may also want to bring extra tools such as a heavy hammer, chisels, protective eye wear, and a pickaxe, in case you want to try and pry loose some of the agate seams still locked in the hard matrix rock.  Make sure to have plenty of water, some snacks, sunscreen, and a full size spare tire (or two) for your vehicle.  Some of the sites require a bit of a hike to get to and the ground can have a lot of loose rocks so please where some good shoes!  Hope to see you all there!!!

For further information please call: Mining Supplies and Rock Shop 760.508.1080 or William A Johnson Trip Leader Cell: 760-267-1333.


Lois Papner
Mining Supplies and Rock Shop

760 244-9642


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All The Things I Can’t Tell You!

I’m having all sorts of fun and sometimes terrifying experiences connected to writing my book. But I can’t post what I discover here because that content needs to go into the book. It’s very frustrating since I am used to sharing my writing life. Until I can figure out a compromise, here’s a photo of the railroad bridge at Afton Canyon, near the end of the Mojave River in San Bernardino County in California. If you plan to drive to the BLM campsite near the bridge in the near future, bring a 4WD with lockers. You’ll need them.

Oh, I may be sending my first Tweet soon.  I’ve connected my  SPOT X satellite messenger device to my Twitter account as I experiment with this new product. The Twitter link below this photograph should work if you’d like to follow.


Magazine article Photography Uncategorized

The New Outdoor California Is Out!

I have eight photographs in the current issue, including all that you see here. I wish I could point you to an online copy but the magazine has no web edition. If you’re a photographer, you might consider subscribing. The magazine runs quite a few photo contests and the entries are all superb.

As I have said before, Outdoor California (external link) ranks with Audubon or National Geographic when it comes to wildlife photography. Me, I just do landscapes for my articles. I am really honored to be in such a fine magazine. I already have plans for my next article, I want to capture sunrises and sunsets over a remote California lake. Maybe I’ll get my drone back in the air.

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A Sneak Peek at My Latest Article

I shouldn’t do this but it’s in the cause of promoting interest in the next issue of Outdoor California. (external link). They’re a publication that rivals Audubon in presentation and anyone interested in California wildlife should subscribe. I took the photograph but I did not title the article, I rather like the title the editor came up with. Click on the image to enlarge the photo.

This photograph was kludged together by combining two images from two .pdf files. The magazine’s layout will be much nicer, even with a fold. This image constitutes what they call an inside double page. Outdoor California pays for photographs, by the way, something rare these days. My investment in photographic equipment and a drone may eventually pay off. Do you notice the clouds in this picture? They were wonderful on my first visit to the territory. But on my second visit, back with the drone, they were gone. Much magic lost.

I do not not have the patience of a professional photographer. For more photos, such a photographer would keep returning until they had the right conditions, possibly camping out at sunrise or waiting for sunset, the so called golden hours. If you want a little more on the original photograph, without the text, click here. (internal link)

Magazine article Photography Uncategorized Writing tips

My Camp Cady Wildlife Area Article Will Be Out Soon

My Camp Cady Wildlife article for Outdoor California (external link) will be out soon. Here’s a sidebar they didn’t use and photographs that weren’t selected. The Camp Cady Wildlife Area, operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, is about twenty-five road miles from Barstow in the Mojave Desert of California.

This is Hunter Thompson territory, when he wrote that classic introduction to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. “We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.”

You Can’t Get There From Here

This road should go through. That’s what I thought, after a treacherous length of sand almost swallowed my truck. The map I diligently printed out before my trip showed the Mojave Trail Road as the main road to Camp Cady. Problem was, the map didn’t correspond to the ground I was looking at. Almost stuck a minute before, I reversed course once I needed four-wheel drive.

Having retreated to firm ground besides a weathered collection of mailboxes, I looked over the territory. Where was the headquarters building? A Fish and Wildlife boundary sign on an old barbed wire fence told me that I was in the neighborhood. But 1,800 acres is a big area and I couldn’t see anything resembling the 1920’s ranch compound I read about.

I warily eyed the road. Beyond the mailboxes the floor of the road collapsed into billowy white sand. Perhaps that was sjust a rough patch? What if I tried again, this time keeping up my speed and momentum? A distant house had its driveway marked with a no trespassing sign. You don’t walk past those in the desert. I was on my own for directions. Keeping my truck in four-wheel drive I headed once more down the road.

With my wheels churning up sand like a giant egg beater, I was making good progress for a few hundred yards until the post. The large, solidly planted steel post in the center of the road. I cut my speed as there was absolutely no way around it. It was clearly put there to keep anyone from proceeding further. With no turnaround area at all, I once again threw the truck into reverse and sped out as fast as I could to the safety of the mailboxes. I made it. I later accessed Camp Cady by way of Palma Vista and Fort Cady Roads, the only recommended route.

Lessons learned. Don’t go beyond the ability of your vehicle, even if you have four-wheel drive. Call ahead to any desert destination to confirm your route and the road. Additionally, be prepared for problems. I carry a shovel, a tow rope, recovery boards, and a sturdy air compressor. Deflating your tires lets you gain more adhesion on sand. But you’ll need to air up once back on firm ground.

Again, the way to Camp Cady is accessed by way of Palma Vista Road and then Fort Cady Road. (See the map.) It can be managed by most vehicles, especially SUVs and all-wheel drive vehicles. Make sure of your directions. Follow GPS waypoints if you will, but realize that you must take the right roads in connecting those GPS dots. Stop before proceeding blindly and call the headquarters’ building if you can’t figure how to get there. The caretaker may be out on the property, so be prepared to wait for a response.

Signs leading to the bad road.

The real road to the Camp Cady WA. You have to negotiate unmarked intersections. And, yes, there are streets with no names.

Arrested development in the desert. Barn from the 1920s, now a subject for architecture students.

Lovely, eh? A shot from my drone. The WA is actually a very important desert riparian habitat. You just can’t see it close up in this photo.

Okay, this photo was used in the article. But I had previously used it at this site (internal link), long before I knew they would select it. This is the Mojave Trail road, by the way, the one you do NOT want to take.

A preliminary map. Never finished. Distances are in miles between diamonds. Barstow is about twenty miles down I-15, to the West.

Photography Uncategorized

The Mojave Desert In One Picture

My road trip through the Mojave proved successful but I’ll be going back soon. Just one picture from my trip. This is the Mojave Trail Road, along the Mojave River, some miles outside of Newberry Springs. Click here for a bigger picture. (internal link)