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Mojave River – Journal of Jedediah Smith

Map showing Smith’s routes across the Victor Valley in 1826 and 1827

The next day W S W 8 or 10 miles across a plain and entered the dry Bed of a River on each side high hills. Pursuing my course along the valley of this river 8 or 9 miles I encamped. In the channel of the river I occasionally found water. It runs from west to east alternately running on the surface and disappearing entirely in the sands of its bed leaving them for miles entirely dry. Near the place where I entered its Bed it seemed to finally lose itself in the plain.* (* It is perhaps reasonable to suppose that the Salt Plain has been formed by the waters of this river overflowing the level country in its freshets and in the dry season sinking in the sand and Leaving a deposit of salt on the surface. The waters of the River at this place are sufficiently salt to justify this conclusion.) At this time my provision was nearly exhausted although I thought I had provided enough to last me 10 or 12 days. But men accustomed to living on meat and at the same time traveling hard will eat a surprising quantity of corn and beans which at this time constituted our principal subsistence. One of my guides said he knew where his people had a cache of some provision and the next day as I traveled on he went with one of the men to procure some at night they returned bringing something that resembled in appearance loaves of bread weighing each 8 or 10 pounds. It was so hard that an ax was required to break it and in taste resembled sugar candy. It was no doubt sugar but in that imperfect form in which it is found among nations to which the art of granulation is unknown. On inquiry I found it was made from the cane grass which I have before spoken of on Adams River and the same of which the Amuchabas make their arrows. For three days nothing material occurred Our course was up the river which sometimes run in sight and then for miles disappeared in the sands. In places I found grass and the sugar cane and in some places small cottonwood. I also saw the tracks of horses that had been here during the summer. My guides Belonged to a tribe of Indians residing in the vicinity called the Wanyumas.  Not numerous for this barren country could not support them. At this place was some sign of antelope and mountain sheep Mr. Rogers killed an antelope which tasted quite strong of wormwood. On the 4th night from the salt plain an Amuchaba Indian that had come this far with me disappeared. I suppose he had become tired of the journey and returned. My guides had expected to find their families here but were disappointed. The next day still following the course of the River which had a strong current in places 20 yds in width and in others entirely disappeared in the sands. After a long days travel I arrived late at a Wanyuma lodge. Close by were 2 or three families of the same tribe. Here I remained the following day and in the mean time was well treated by these Indians. They gave us such food as they had consisting of a kind of mush made of acorns and pine nut bread made of a small berry. This bread in appearance was like corn bread but in taste much sweeter. As there were in the neighborhood a plenty of hares the Indians said they must give us a feast. Several went out for this purpose with a net 80 or 100 yards long.  Arriving at a place where they knew them to be plenty the net was extended among the wormwood. then divided on each wing they moved in such direction as to force the frightened game to the net where they were taken while entangled in its meshes. Being out but a short time they brought in 2 or three dozen a part of which they gave me.  Seeing some tracks of antelope Mr. Rogers and myself went out and killed two. In this vicinity there are some groves of cottonwood and in places sugar cane and grass. On the following day after making the Indians some presents I moved on keeping a right hand fork my course nearly S W passing out at the head of this creek and over a ridge I entered a ravine running S W I proceeded down it nearly to where it entered some high hills which were apparently covered with pine. At this place I encamped. In the course of the days I passed hills covered with a scattering growth of bastard cedar and bushy oak. Some antelopes were seen in the course of the day and the tracks of bear and black-tailed deer.

Source: Mojave River – Journal of Jedediah Smith

Indian Queho Part III

The sheriff and his posse of miscreants figured Queho to be as stupid as he was lame.  It wouldn’t take them long to drag this whelp to justice and have him hanged. Something they didn’t count on though, was that Queho was an Indian, and the Indians all seemed to know each other.

I think Queho gave the stolen horse to a friend that led the posse all over the countryside.   First one way, then the other.  The law had no luck in tracking him down.

There were some more murders; brutal ones, death by pickaxe, by beating, by knife.  Another posse was sent out.  After a few days it was discovered that the Indians in the crew would slip away in the mornings and send smoke signals to reveal their location to Queho.

Queho remained at large.

More killings, more Queho sightings.  Kids were scared to death by the stories their parents would tell of the boogie-man, Queho. He would get them if they weren’t careful.

It seemed though, Queho didn’t hate all white men entirely.  One gentleman offered to share a sandwich with Queho when they ran across each other at a small, shady spring. In turn, Queho offered him a dead rat, a perfectly acceptable portion in a well-balanced Indian meal.  The man refused, but Queho was grateful for the offering and didn’t kill him.


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Division 1

Cottonwoods near Mojave River at Bryman (Helendale Bluffs)

1) Cottonwoods near Mojave River at Bryman (Helendale Bluffs)

Helendale Bluffs #1

2) Helendale Bluffs Sunrise #1

Helendale Bluffs #2

3) Helendale Bluffs Dawn #2

 Rainbow off 395 - Adelanto

4) Rainbow off 395 – near Shadow Mountain Road

Division 2

Sunset & Candy - Joshua Tree*

1) Sunset & Candy –
Joshua Tree*

2) Cougar Buttes – Lucerne Valley

Every Moment - Rainbow Basin near Barstow

3) Rainbow Basin near Barstow

Division 3

West Fork, Mojave River Bluffs

1) West Fork, Mojave River Bluffs #1 – Summit Valley

West Fork Mojave River Bluffs #2 - Summit Valley

2) West Fork Mojave River Bluffs #2 – Summit Valley

Sunrise, Juniper Woodland - Summit Valley

3) Sunrise, Juniper Woodland – Summit Valley

Summit Valley from Highway 173 Viewpoint

4) Summit Valley from Highway 173 Viewpoint

Las Flores Ranch

5) Las Flores Ranch

Division – 4

Upper Mojave River Narrows - Victorville

1) Upper Mojave River Narrows – Victorville

Verde/Kemper Campbell Ranch view toward Spring Valley Lake - Victorville

2) Verde/Kemper-Campbell Ranch view toward Spring Valley Lake – Victorville

Division 5

View of easterly Apple Valley from Bass Hill

1) Misty March Morning – View of easterly Apple Valley from Bass Hill at Sunrise

Bell Mountain from southeast

2) Bell Mountain from southeast

View from southern Apple Valley toward northeast

3) View from southern Apple Valley toward northeast

Division 6

Lower Mojave River Narrows - Victorville

1) Lower Mojave River Narrows – Victorville

Cottonwood Forest - Mojave River at Oro Grande

2) Cottonwood Forest – Mojave River at Oro Grande

Stoddard Mountain as viewed from near I-15

3) Stoddard Mountain as viewed from near I-15

Division 7

View from I Ave/Lemon - Hesperia

1) View from I Ave/Lemon – Hesperia

Predawn, Escondido, Hesperia

2) Predawn, Escondido, Hesperia

Antelope Valley Wash/Ranchero - Hesperia

3) Antelope Valley Wash/Ranchero – Hesperia

New Image Gallery

Just testing it out. 🙂


Local History — A 30 Second Story — Silverwood

Silverwood LakeThis is Silverwood Lake. It is named after some guy named Silverwood rather than the silver wood that grows around the lake and Summit Valley. Before they could have the lake there had to be the dam. The dam in this picture is Cedar Springs Dam. Before the dam there was Cedar Springs. It was a small town. It was flooded to make the lake. Everyone moved out first. Some other stuff happened here before that.

The end.

A Photo Tip

Power lines, not being all that aesthetic, can really mess up a pretty, scenic shot. Not much can be done about them, but if you are under them, they more or less cease to be an issue, and the maintenance roads in the right-of-way can lead to many other opportunities.


Pilot Rock – San Bernardino Mountain Range

Pilot Rock, Pilot Knob–I’m certain there is some kind of argument going on for what the proper name is; but the operative word is ‘Pilot.’ I’ve seen this peak from the highlands way out in the desert, however, it comes plainly into view along the Mojave River southwest of Barstow. Pioneers along the Old Spanish Trail, and later, the Mormon Road to California, would use this point to guide them from the low riverbed to the top of the Cajon Pass to begin the descent to their hard-earned destination.

Pilot Knob, Pilot Rock, San Bernardino Mountains

Pilot Knob, San Bernardino National Forest