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Monday, August 20, 2018

Our own Grand Canyon...

All rights reserved.  Photo by Scott Schwartz.

Sometimes referred to as the "Grand Canyon Of The Mojave," Afton Canyon was carved by the Mojave River, which flowed from Lake Mannix.  This process started 15,000 yeas ago.

8,000 year-old tools and pottery have been found in the area; recorded history starts with missionaries, traders, and scouts, who passed through here during the late 18th century.

The photograph above was taken from a portion of the Mojave Road which takes one along the  Mojave River bed, south east of Afton Canyon.  The mountains shown are the Cady Mountains.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Rails Through The Cajon Pass...

Traffic through the Cajon Pass began to increase steadily, after the Mormon pioneers started traversing the Pass in 1848.  The Cajon Pass became a regular route for freight wagons and merchant caravans.  It didn't take much imagination to see that a means of handling the increasing volume was needed.  

As early as 1857, a Lieutenant R.S. Williamson conducted a survey in preparation for a railroad through the Cajon Pass.  His surveey included the construction of a tunnel through the pass. 

July, 2018.  Photo by Scott Schwartz, taken near the Mormon Rocks.

But, the railroad idea didn't gain any real traction until 1875, when a mining boom in Panamint City occurred.  At this point, construction of the railroad was started, along with the digging of the tunnel.

However, the mining boom in Panamint fizzled, and work on the railroad stopped.  That is, until 1879, when some engineers concluded that the railroad could be routed through the Pass in a manner that avoided the construction of the expensive tunnel.  

So, work on the railroad started once again, and trains were chugging through the Cajon Pass by 1885.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Desert Legends...El Paso Mounains

This is the former home of Evelyn "Tonie" Seger, who moved here with her husband in 1963.  She and her husband left their residence in Huntington Park, so that her sick husband could recover with the aid of the dry desert air.

Seger's husband died within a year of her arrival.  During an interview that I conducted with her during the late 1990's, Seger told me that her husband had been trying to locate a water source for their settlement, and that his wish, as he lay dying, was that Evelyn continue her search for water. 

According to Seger, she later found the water source with the aid of a divining rod.

For forty years, Evelyn Seger was the guardian of Burro Schmidt Tunnel, lecturing visitors on the tunnel's history, and on desert lore. 

Seger died in 2003.  Sadly, her home has decayed, due to neglect, and to vandalism.

However, the tunnel is still accessible, and it still attracts scores of visitors.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Campsite Of Pioneers: Mormon Rocks, also known as Rock Candy Mountains.

Sometimes referred to as "the father of San Bernardino County."  Jefferson Hunt was an officer in the Mormon Battalion, which had been formed in order to help the U.S. fight the Mexican-American War.  After the war, he, and a detachment of soldiers were stationed in the Cajon Pass in order to guard settlers against marauding Indians.

After being discharged from the Army, Hunt led caravans of wagons between Utah and San Bernardino, and, at the urging of his church, formed a Mormon colony in San Bernardino.

This spot is where a group of Mormons were supposed to have camped, while en route to San Bernardino in 1851.

Mormon Rocks, at sunset.
Photo taken on 7/29/18.
The road on the left is Hwy. 138.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Goler Gulch...

According to legend, Death Valley pioneer John Goler found signs of gold in the El Paso Mountains, while he was making his way back to Los Angeles.  He was never able to find his "lost" gold, but others followed in pursuit of the gold. 

The area shown in this photo (which I took in May, 2018) is known as "Goler Gulch", in the El Paso Mountains.  By 1893, there was a mining settlement here, but, as with most such settlements, only a few crumbling foundations and some rusty pipes remain.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Cajon Wash: Escaping a petty world...

Here's more in connection with my weeks-long "study" of the Mormon Rocks area.

Despite the blistering heat which baked the Inland Empire, this weekend, I had to feel the warm wind on my face.  I had to remind myself that there's more to life than working in an office during the week.

On the right, of course, are the Mormon Rocks.  The footage was filmed as my DJI Phantom 4 drone blasted through Cajon Wash at an insect-smashing speed of 15 miles per hour. Immediately behind me (as in my person, not necessarily the drone), was this:

Photo by Scott Schwartz.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

I'm just curious...

How many of you would be interested in an online basic photography course, taught by me?