Category Archives: Blog

Timelessness of Cathedral Valley

A light wind buffets as I walk toward the edge of the cliff and the scents of pinyon and juniper come together in the dry, clear desert air of Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park. Below spreads a large valley filled with seemingly impossible natural formations: huge formations of hard sandstone shaped by millennia of unimaginable […]

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Majorie Reed Desert Artist

Marjorie Reed is best known for her paintings of the stage stations and scenes along the Butterfield Overland Stage Route. Born in Springfield, Illinois in 1915, Reed’s family moved to southern California when she was twelve. Shortly afterward her father, Walter Reed, began working as a free lance graphic artist for Mission Engraving and Offset, […]

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The Marshall/Wimmer Nugget

It was Dahlonega Mint assayer, Dr. Matthew Stephenson, who asked miners in his famous Courthouse speech to stay in Georgia rather then go to California. Pointing to Crown Mountain, he told them: “Boys, there’s millions in it!”1 A phrase later immortalized by Mark Twain. The miners left anyway to participate in the first global gold […]

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Return of the Little Buffalo

American  bison once roamed the prairies in numbers so large it was said that a man could walk on the backs of the buffalo from horizon to horizon. The Lakota, the northernmost division of the Great Sioux Nation, refer to the animals as Ta-Tanka. Lakota and other Native American tribes killed only what they could […]

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Wyatt Earp in San Bernardino County: The Early Years

He spent more of his life in San Bernardino County, California, than anywhere else, but if the man had to depend on his exploits here to justify his claim to fame. He’d be remembered only as a citizen who preferred the solitude of the desert, to the bustle of the gambling halls and saloons of […]

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Micro-crystalline Azurite layered over Malachite

                      Old classic specimen of micro-crystalline Azurite layered over Malachite! Circa late 1880-1890s. From the Lavender Pit, Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona. Measures 6.5 cm by 10.2 cm by 6.7 cm in total size. Ex. Robert Whitmore Collection  Read more at http://www.geologyin.com/2014/12/micro-crystalline-azurite-layered-over.html#dqRYFRK8vGrZzrJ4.99

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Why “Z” instead of “S”?

I wanted to take just a moment to explain why I have used a Z in our name instead of the standard “S”. Simply said, it’s respect, the original Desert magazine was an icon for Southwest publications and who am I to tread on their name. They deserve the respect that they have earned, for […]

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South Rides Again

There was another great western writer like Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour who featured areas of the Anza-Borrego desert in the setting for his novels. He was a writer who knew how to rivet the attention of the reader from the very first page of his novels. In the years that have passed, his name […]

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San Miguel’s Lost Treasures

  California’s mission San Miguel, located in San Luis Obispo County, has long been a popular tourist attraction. Founded in 1797 by Padre Fermin F. De Lausen, the mission represents a Queen Anne style architecture, pleasant grounds, and a colorful history. Like many histories, however, this one has some dark elements, one of which is […]

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Bum, SoCal’s First Canine Hero

In 1886 a steamship from San Francisco, the Santa Rosa, arrived in San Diego, and among those who got off the boat was a stowaway… a dog described as a St. Bernard-Spaniel mix. Someone began calling him “Bum” and the name stuck. He quickly adapted to life on land and made himself a member of […]

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Campo The Forgotten Gunfight

As Tiburcio Vasquez uttered the word “Pronto” on that March day in 1875, the trap door swung open and the leader of one of the most notorious gangs of bandidos the state of California has ever seen dropped from the gallows. The rope snapped his neck, putting an end to the life of the convicted […]

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Lost Treasure of Travertine Pt.

It was near the close of 1750 when a group of French and Spanish renegades headed north, after plundering silver and gold artifacts from churches in Mexico. But the local Indians were not willing to part with their treasures so easily, with each theft the group trailing the renegades got bigger and bigger. It was […]

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Mad Conquistadors Lost Gold

                There is a primal lesson that all people should learn in childhood. Treat people with respect….. If you don’t, it just might end up killing you. Unfortunately for a man named Don Juan, this lesson was tragically learned way too late. But for whatever reason, this lesson […]

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Mooney Falls, Az

Mooney Falls is the tallest falls located on the Havasupai reservation at 190′, but the trail can cause most people some anxiety. Visitors will have to walk through blasted out tunnels, use chain guides, steps that have been carved into the rock, and even climb down a ladder that was built in the late 1800’s. […]

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Grandma Prisbey’s Village

Beginning construction in 1956 at age 60, and working until 1981, Tressa “Grandma” Prisbrey transformed her one-third acre rural lot into Bottle Village, a fantasyland of shrines, wishing wells, walkways, fountains, follies, plus 15 structures to house her collections – all made from found objects. The name “Bottle Village” comes from the structures themselves – made of […]

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