Marl Spring


Marl Springs is a historical site located in the Mojave Desert National Preserve in California. The area has significance due to its role as a water source for travelers and settlers in the desert region. Here’s a brief history of Marl Springs:

  1. Native American Presence: The Mojave Desert has a long history of Native American habitation. The Chemehuevi and Mojave people were among the indigenous groups living in the area. These Native American communities deeply understood the desert environment and its resources.
  2. Exploration and Early Settlement: In the 19th century, the Mojave Desert attracted explorers, pioneers, and prospectors seeking new opportunities. The Mojave Road, a route through the Mojave Desert, and Marl Springs became a crucial water source for travelers along this route.
  3. Military Use: During the mid-1800s, the U.S. Army established a military presence in the Mojave Desert. With its reliable water source, Marl Springs was a strategic location for military operations and a resting point for troops moving through the region.
  4. Mining Activity: Like many areas in the Mojave Desert, Marl Springs saw mining activity during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Prospectors sought minerals such as gold and silver in the surrounding hills, contributing to the region’s development.
  5. Railroad Expansion: The railroad‘s arrival led to changes in transportation patterns, reducing the importance of some stagecoach routes. However, Marl Springs retained significance for those traveling by road or seeking water in the desert.
  6. Mojave Desert National Preserve: In 1994, the preserve was established to protect the unique desert ecosystem and preserve its cultural and historical resources. Marl Springs is now part of this national preserve, allowing visitors to explore its historical remnants and appreciate its role in the region’s past.

Today, Marl Springs stands as a testament to the challenges and opportunities the Mojave Desert presents, showcasing the intersection of natural resources, human history, and the development of transportation routes in the American West.

Afton Canyon

Afton Canyon Natural Area

Afton Canyon is a scenic and geologically interesting area located in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, USA. It is often called the “Grand Canyon of the Mojave” due to its impressive and rugged landscapes. One of the notable features of Afton Canyon is its association with the Mojave River.

The Mojave River runs through Afton Canyon, creating a unique riparian (riverbank) environment amid the desert. The river, although intermittent in some sections, has carved a deep and narrow canyon through the surrounding sedimentary rocks, exposing colorful layers of sediment and providing a habitat for various plant and animal species.

Afton Canyon is part of the Mojave National Preserve, a unit of the National Park Service. The area is popular for outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, and camping. The canyon also features a historic railroad route, including a section known as the “Afton Canyon Natural Area,” which showcases the old railway trestle that spans the Mojave River.

The geology of Afton Canyon is noteworthy, as it exposes layers of sedimentary rocks, including sandstone and mudstone, which tell a story of the region’s geological history. The canyon’s formation is attributed to the erosive power of the Mojave River over time.

Visitors to Afton Canyon can explore its scenic beauty, enjoy recreational activities, and learn about the unique geological and natural features that make this area a special part of the Mojave Desert.

Rocket Test Site

Documentation compiled after 1968 (see full notes below gallery)

Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (site) 

Significance: Since its inception, the AFRL has been devoted to the advancement of rocket technology in support of U.S. military weapons and space flight superiority. Unlike any other facility associated with rocket systems research, design, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E), the AFRL provided facilities for all aspects of systems development and supported some aspect of the evolution of each of the significant rocket and missile systems developed between the Cold War era and the present.

Test Area 1-100 played an exceptionally important role in the development of the Minuteman missile program and in the RDT&E of performing “hot-firings” from underground missile silos. Air Force engineers at the AFRL developed the technology for achieving a successful hot-firing and designed the first silo facility in the United States that could perform this function. The ability to hot-fire the Minuteman missile was one of its most influential features because it reduced the launch time to 30 minutes or less, which put the United States on par with Soviet launch capabilities.

Test Area 1-115 was the first testing facility constructed at the AFRL and was exceptionally important in the advancement of both Air Force and contractor testing and evaluation of four nationally significant missile programs and generations of intermediate rocket programs. Early tests at Test Area 1-115 of the rocket-assisted takeoff (RATO) system reflect the AFRL’s early association with the Air Force Flight Test Center, whereas later tests of the Atlas, Thor, Titan, and Bomarc programs illustrate the AFRL’s exceptionally important role in the advancement of the U.S. Cold War race for technological superiority.

Test Area 1-125 is a unique facility at the AFRL because it originally was built for and by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as the F-1 production test facility. Although NASA had other testing facilities across the United States, the ability to construct three test stands capable of testing engines with 2 million pounds of thrust and use the RDT&E facilities of the AFRL proved to be a valuable asset to the success of the Apollo/Saturn V program.

Test Area 1-120 provided the Air Force and industry with testing facilities that played an exceptionally important role in the advancement of nationally significant missile programs. Test Stand 1-A originally was constructed to accommodate a fully assembled Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It supported that program until an accident damaged the stand’s superstructure. After the launch of Sputnik and the ensuing focus on the Apollo Saturn V program, new construction and existing facilities were turned over to NASA and Rocketdyne to perfect the E-1 and F-1 engines.

The superstructure of Test Stand 1-A was rebuilt to accommodate the Rocketdyne F-1 engine, which eventually propelled the Saturn V lunar rocket.- 

Survey number: HAER CA-236-  Building/structure dates: 1948-1967 Initial Construction

Missing Pet

Mike, the pet jackrabbit, is missing!

This is a photo of Mike bolting out of the brush after some rustling around in there and getting part of his ear bitten off and eaten or something. Mike was last seen near Salt Springs hopping across the desert in the epitome of fear and the adrenaline rush of flight.

Mike, was the family’s favorite lagomorph. They would see him during their desert travels all over the place hopping out of a bush or across their path when they least expected.

After a fruitless 3 minute search for Mike, the family left to check-in at their hotel.

“Coming out of the parking area there was a clunk noise like we hit something,” one of the children stated.

“Mom started to say something, but dad said for her to shut up,” the kid continued.

There is no reward. Only closure for the kids.

Lone Wolf Colony

Health Ranch – Apple Valley, Ca.

Lone Wolf Colony is a Historical Landmark in the Town of Apple Valley, California.

Over 15 million people were killed during World War I (1914-1918), and a countless number of people were injured. The use of poison gas as a weapon caused many of these deaths and injuries. Suffering from the effects of poison gas during some returning Pacific Telephone and Telegraph employees were unable to obtain hospitalization or other care. The Southern California Telephone Company in Los Angeles began working to provide care and lodging for these recuperating veterans. By 1924 the Lone Wolf Colony was established.

Last Season

The season of the long shadows is over. Shadows clinging to the trunks of awkward trees, cactus, brush, and the base of rocks, stretched in desperation fearing their silent annihilation in the encroaching dark.

The new season brings foreshortened versions of silhouettes from the south. They emerge from the base of the mountains and then rapidly down the bajadas and canyons and arroyos, as it were. The day is quickly painted over in unsunlight and deep twilight while a cold nether rolls across the bristly plain.

The little rat people may look out of their little rat homes before retreating into their little rat holes to do whatever it is that little rat people do there.

The cutest little adorable cottontail bunny hippity-hops cautiously down the little bunny trail to have a little bunny snack. Or to die. Little bunnies generally do not usually live any longer than the moment they learn what a coyote is.

Alas! At the smother of darkness, the coyote has completed his transformation from a lazy begging dog to a starving psychotic murderer.


American Automobile Assoc. photo

The pretty senorita is standing next to a carreta, a two-wheeled cart pulled by mules to haul freight in early Spanish and Mexican California. The carreta could be built quickly and inexpensively. Four-wheeled wagons in Southern California were a rarity if there were any at all until the first ones rolled in through the Cajon Pass in 1849 driven by Mormon pioneers.