Monthly Archives: December 2012

New Pages

Both pages in this update are out of the Mojave, but were essential to the Mojave as destinations and bases of operation.

Mission San Gabriel

Image of Mission San Gabriel

San Gabriel Mission

The mission was the destination for early explorers, trappers, and traders to southern California.

San Bernardino, California

San Bernardino and San Bernardino valley

San Bernardino, California as seen from the San Bernardino mountain range

Initially starting as an “Astencia” or outpost to the San Gabriel mission, Mormons purchased the land from The Lugo brothers and turned it into a stronghold and ultimately into the gateway to southern California.


Point of Rocks

With the completion of the text in Pioneer of the Mojave by Richard Thompson, I’ve been going through and putting in links and back links. One page I’ve finally got around to making is a page about Point of Rocks, a stop along the Mormon trail near where Helendale is today.

Point of Rocks

American Avocet

Quite a pretty bird, one I had probably seen before, but never really paid attention to.  These were in the Saline Valley, one of the most remote and difficult-to-access locations in Death Valley National Park. These birds stand out to me now because someone I talked to said that these birds wandered in during a wet spring and never left;  that it was too far to the next body of water that was livable for them, and ultimately, they just began to live here throughout the year.  I know better now, however, there is no sense in throwing a good story like that away.

American Avocet

American Avocet in the Saline Valley

Newberry Springs?

For a few months in 1883 when the Southern Pacific Railroad was being built, the Watson post office lived out its short tenure.  Watson was named Watson for Josiah Watson who was the postmaster. When the Watson post office closed the railroad named their station Newberry.  For a few months in 1899, the Newberry post office was reestablished then discontinued.  In 1911 the post office reopened and was named Wagner after Madge Wagner who ran it.  In July of 1919, the name was changed from Wagner to Water, who wasn’t a person but was named for the water that was pumped out of the ground for the Sante Fe Railroad’s use.  Then, years later in 1967, the name was changed from Water to Newberry Springs. No one is quite certain who Newberry was, to begin with, but it could either be for either one or both of two brothers named Newberry who lived near the springs, of which one was killed in a gunfight over water rights to the springs and ended up being buried on top of a hill not far from the springs. Or the name of the springs came from Dr. J.S. Newberry, a physician in the 1857 survey expedition led by Lt. Joseph C. Ives.

Newberry Springs, California

Newberry Springs

Cousin Jack

A Cousin Jack could be a cousin named Jack- But back in the 1800s it could have been a miner of Cornish, English, Irish, or Welsh origin.  Another thing a cousin Jack could have been was a dugout that a miner lived in, roofed over with dirt providing insulation making it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

A cousin Jack in Leadfield ghost town, Death Valley National Park


Pilot Rock

Pilot Rock, 18 miles south of Victorville, California in the San Bernardino mountain range can be seen from far out into the Mojave Desert. Pioneers on the Mormon Road would head in the general direction of the  5,260 foot high peak in order to find the Mojave River and their way into southern California.

Pilot Rock


Zion – Behind the Scenes

Here is what I saw while I ate my sandwich at Zion. It was a salami sandwich. It was very good, with plenty of mustard and just a light spread of mayonnaise. My wife won’t let me put a whole lot of mayo on my sandwiches because she says it will get rotten or something and kill me. I don’t sweat it because I’ve done worse to myself and haven’t died yet. I’ve learned to do as she tells me though. It just makes things flow a little smoother–Like a little extra mayonnaise would help the sandwich go down easier.


Zion – click the photo to see a larger version or buy a print.