Mono Lake

https://digital-desert.com/mono-lake

Mono Lake, located near Lee Vining, is a unique and fascinating natural wonder in California. This saline soda lake is known for its mesmerizing tufa towers and limestone formations that rise from its surface. These towers, created over thousands of years by interacting freshwater springs and alkaline lake water, create a surreal and otherworldly landscape.

The lake itself covers an area of about 70 square miles and is an important habitat for a variety of plant and animal species. It is particularly famous for its abundant birdlife, including migratory birds such as Wilson’s phalarope and California gull. The lake’s brine shrimp and alkali flies attract many migratory birds, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Visitors to Mono Lake can explore its beauty and learn about its unique ecosystem through various activities. One of the most popular activities is a scenic drive along the Mono Lake Scenic Area, which offers breathtaking views of the lake and its surroundings. Visitors can stop at several viewpoints and interpretive signs to learn about the lake’s geology, wildlife, and cultural history.

Guided tours are available for those looking to get a closer look at the Tufa Towers. These tours provide an opportunity to walk among the tufa formations and learn about their formation and significance. It is important to note that climbing on the tufa is strictly prohibited to preserve their delicate nature.

In addition to the lake itself, the town of Lee Vining offers a range of amenities for visitors. There are several lodging options, restaurants, and shops where visitors can relax and refuel after a day of exploring Mono Lake. The town also serves as a gateway to nearby attractions, such as Yosemite National Park and the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains.

Overall, visiting Mono Lake and Lee Vining is necessary for nature lovers and those seeking a unique and awe-inspiring experience. Whether you are interested in the lake’s geological wonders, its diverse birdlife, or simply enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings, Mono Lake offers something for everyone. So, you can plan your visit and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this extraordinary destination.

Rainbow Basin

/rainbow-basin/

Rainbow Basin is a unique geological formation in the Mojave Desert in California, United States. Spanning over 1,800 acres, this breathtaking landscape is known for its vibrant colors and fascinating rock formations.

The basin gets its name from the colorful layers of sedimentary rock that are exposed on the surface, creating a stunning visual display. These layers were formed over millions of years due to various geological processes, including the deposition of sediments, erosion, and the uplifting of the Earth’s crust.

One of the main attractions of Rainbow Basin is its diverse range of colors. The rocks here display shades of red, orange, yellow, green, and purple, creating a natural rainbow-like effect. This vibrant palette results from the minerals in the rocks, such as iron oxides, manganese, and copper.

The unique rock formations in Rainbow Basin are also breathtaking. Their intricate shapes and patterns provide a fascinating glimpse into geological history.

Aside from its geological wonders, Rainbow Basin is also home to various plant and animal species. Desert vegetation thrives in this arid environment, with cacti, shrubs, and wildflowers dotting the landscape. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot animals like the desert tortoise, jackrabbits, and various bird species.

Exploring Rainbow Basin is a treat for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The area offers several hiking trails that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the desert’s beauty.

Visitors to Rainbow Basin should come prepared with water, sunscreen, and sturdy footwear, as the desert environment can be harsh. It is also important to respect the fragile ecosystem and follow any posted regulations to preserve this unique natural wonder.

In conclusion, Rainbow Basin is a mesmerizing destination showcasing nature’s wonders. With its vibrant colors, stunning rock formations, and diverse wildlife, it offers a truly unforgettable experience for those who venture into the Mojave Desert. Whether you are a geology enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique outdoor adventure, Rainbow Basin is a must-visit destination.

The California Method

From the revised Journals of Jedediah Smith edited by Walter Feller

About 18 miles from the first mentioned creek, we crossed another 80 yards wide in appearance like the first, and three miles further came to a farm. In this distance, we had passed many herds of cattle belonging to the residents of the Angel village and some thousands of wild horses. The wild horses sometimes become so abundant to eat the grass relatively clean.

My guide informed me that the village’s inhabitants and vicinity collect whenever they consider the country overstocked. They build a large and sturdy pen with a small entrance, and two wings extending from the access to the right and left. Then mounting their swiftest horses, they scour the country and surrounding large bands; they drive them into the enclosure by hundreds.

The brutal California method of training bridle horses

The California Method – Edward Vischer, 1874

They may lasso a few of the most handsome and take them out of the pack. A horse selected in this manner is immediately thrown down and altered, blindfolded, saddled, and haltered (for the Californians always commence with the halter). The horse can then get up, and a man is mounted. When he is firmly in his seat and the halter in his hand, an assistant takes off the blind the several men on horseback with handkerchiefs to frighten and some with whips to whip-raise the yell, and away they go. The poor horse, so severely punished and spooked, does not think of flouncing but dashes off at no slow rate for a trial of his speed. After running until he is exhausted and finds he cannot eliminate his enemies, he gives up.

He is tied for 2 or 3 days, saddled, and ridden occasionally. If he proves docile, he is bound by the neck to a tame horse until he becomes attached to the company, then let loose. But if a horse proves immediately refractory, they do not trouble themselves with him long but release him from his bondage by thrusting a knife to his heart.

Cruel as this fate may seem, it is a mercy compared to the hundreds left in the pack, for they die a most lingering and horrible death within a narrow space without the possibility of escape. Without a morsel to eat, they gradually lose their strength and sink to the ground making vain efforts to regain their feet, when at last, all-powerful hunger has left them, the strength to raise their heads from the dust, their eyes becoming dim with the approach of death, may catch a glimpse of green and widespread pastures and winding streams while they are perishing from want.

They die one by one, and at length, the last and strongest sinks down among his companions to the plain. No man of feeling can imagine such a scene without surprise, indignation, and pity. Indignation and wonder that men are so heartless and unfeeling. Pity for the noblest of animals dying from want amid fertile fields. A disgraceful fact to the Californians not credited to a single narrator but has been since corroborated.

Alfalfa

This article was written circa 1904

The cultivation of alfalfa has become an important industry in this
state and throughout the West. As San Bernardino County can claim the
first successful culture of this plant in the United States, a brief outline of
its history may not be out of place.

Lucerne Valley, Ca.

Alfalfa is the oldest grass known, having been introduced into Greece
from Media, 500 years before Christ. The Romans, finding its qualities good, cultivated it extensively and carried it into France when Caesar reduced Gaul. It has always been extensively cultivated in Europe under the name of lucerne, supposed to be derived from the province of Lucerne in Switzerland. The name alfalfa was given to the plant in Chili, where it grows spontaneously in the Andes as well as on the pampas of that country and of the Argentine Republic.

Oro Grande, Ca.

It was introduced into the United States as early as 1835—and probably
earlier—and attempts at cultivation in New York and other Eastern states
were unsuccessful.

In the United States Agricultural Report for 1872, Mr. N. Wyckoff, of
Yolo, Napa County, Cal, reports: “In the winter of 1854. I sowed four acres
with alfalfa, or lucerne, as it was then called, seed brought from Chili. As
far as I know, it was a part of the first parcel of seed brought into this
country. My sowing proved so foul with weeds that I plowed it up and
did not re-sow until 1864.” The United States Agricultural Report of
1878, a considerable production of alfalfa is reported from some of the
northern counties of the state.

In the winter of 1852-3, a party of Mormons arrived in San Bernardino from Australia. At least one of the party, Mr. John Metcalf, brought with him some alfalfa seed. This was sown on his place, now the Metcalf place on Mount Vernon Avenue, near First street. It was irrigated from Lytle Creek and did well, and the plant was soon cultivated by others. The seed was at first sold for $1.00 per pound and was distributed from San Bernardino to other points in Southern California. The early supply of seeds for Los Angeles was obtained from San Bernardino and the seed was taken from here to Salt Lake thus the alfalfa industry, one of the most important in Utah, was started. The alfalfa crop is now one of the most important of the county and San Bernardino County had, in 1900, more than six thousand acres seeded to this plant.

INGERSOLL’S CENTURY ANNALS OF
San Bernardino County
1769 to 1904 (201)

The Overland Trail

Camp Cajon
Camp Cajon Dedication

by J.C. Davis

An alkali flats

Over the sagebrush desert gray,
Through alkali patches pale,
It stretches away and away and away –
The weary overland trail.

Where they who followed have smoothed the path
For the track of the iron horse
Between the rocks and around the hills
It threads its sinuous course.

And ever the wagon tracks diverge,
Like strands of a parted skein;
And anon the old trail straightens out
And gathers them again.

Eagle Butte

When bison fleeing the red man’s chase
Stampeded the toiling train.
And dust clouds rose as thundering herds
Swept over the rolling plain.

These deep-worn ruts that divide the bank
At this dry arroyo’s brink
Still tell of the awful, maddening thirst
Of the beasts that rushed to drink.

Wagon

Rushed down to drink, too oft, alas,
To find but a bed of dust,
Or, here and there, a sunken pool
White with alkali crust.

And many a rock was an ambuscade
That sheltered a skulking foe;
And wild shrieks echoed the Indian yell,
While men and women and children fell
And arrows flew like snow.

Unnamed graves

And smoking heaps in the dawn-light gray
Unfolded the tragic tale
Of the wagon camp that was sacked and burned
On the winding, windswept trail.

And many a ghastly heap of bones,
Bleached white by the sun and wind,
Is the final record of man or beast
That faltered and fell behind.

Who runs may read, as he speeds along,
Its record of blood and tears;
May see dim specters wan and worn,
The ghosts of the vanished years.

My heartbeats quicken, the trail grows dim,
My eyes are blind with tears
As | think with pity and pain and pride
Of those daring pioneers.

And in fancy I see, as my palace winged
Flies over the iron rail
The long, slow-creeping, wagon train
That traveled the overland trail.

Out Where the West Begins

Camp Cajon
Camp Cajon Dedication

by Arthur Chapman, (1917)

Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger,
Out where the smile dwells a little longer,
That’s where the West begins;
Out where the sun is a little brighter,
Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter,
Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter,
That’s where the West begins.

Out where the skies are a trifle bluer,
Out where the friendship’s a little truer,
That’s where the West begins;
Out where a fresher breeze is blowing,
Where there’s laughter in every streamlet flowing,
Where there’s more of reaping and less of sowing,
That’s where the West begins.

Out where the world is in the making,
Where fewer hearts in despair are aching,
That’s where the West begins.
Where there’s more of singing and less of sighing,
Where there’s more of giving and less of buying,
And a man makes a friend without half trying—
That’s where the West begins.

Camp Cajon
The Dedication of Camp Cajon

The Flag

Camp Cajon
Camp Cajon Dedication

(Read by Judge Rex B. Goodcell at the dedication of Camp Cajon July 4, 1919, and by William M. Bristol at the dedication of Live Oak Park by the Chamber of Commerce of northern San Diego County, July 17, 1920.)

The Flag by Charles L. Frazer

Hats off, ye men! Now lift the flag on high:
Break out its folds and let them proudly fly
As from its staff on this our natal day
There floats the banner none may take away.

Its streaming lines, its starry field of blue
Are caught by winds that long have known
them true:
And rising, falling, with exquisite grace,
They kiss each other in a fond embrace.

Flag of our own, we give thee to the breeze:
Thrice hail on land, thrice hail on bounding
seas:
On armored deck, o’er valley, peak and crag.
Wave on, and on, our own beloved flag!


Thrice-hallowed flag, one moment thou shalt be
Half-masted for those Sons of Liberty
Who, over seas or on the swelling flood
Have re-baptized thee with a nation’s blood.

Our hero dead! No matter how they fell.
In camp, at sea> on crimson fields of hell;
They gave their all our pledged faith to keep,
Tis ours to pay them homage as they sleep.

Courtesy Austin Daily Herald

Peace to their ashes; let us write each name
In fadeless glory on the roll of fame:
And unborn freemen shall their valor tell
Soldier, and sailor, fare, O fare thee well!
* * * *

Flag of the free, beloved on land and main.
May treason never thy escutcheon stain;
Defeat—the battle lost—were better far
Than that dishonor dim one single star.

Aye, better that thy stars forever set;
And God, and men» and angles thee forget.
Than that thy name should ever used be
To bind one shackle on humanity.

But thou, O flag, shalt not thine honor yield!
Not by one thread, or star upon thy shield
I Through calm and storm undaunted shalt
thou ride.
And all thy deathless principles abide.

Courtesy Santa Fe New Mexican

O, Thou Who boldest in Thy guilding hand
‘ The veiled future of this mighty land.
Keep Thou our flag, and may it ever be
Triumphant in the cause of liberty!

Then fly, proud flag, from thine exalted
place;
Shine on. ye stars, by God’s eternal grace!
With faith undimmed we dedicate anew
Ourselves to thee—the Red, the White, the
Blue.

The Dedication of Camp Cajon

The following text has been adapted from a history of San Bernardino County by John Brown Jr. first published in 1922 describing the celebration of the opening of Camp Cajon.

The content has not been changed other than scan errors corrected and minor grammar changes to improve readability by modern standards.

Camp Cajon

On the north and east of San Bernardino Valley are the San Bernardino Mountains and beyond them the vast Mojave Desert. Through this high mountain range is a natural gap—a parting of the heights—a winding, tortuous passage, dividing the mountains and uniting the white sands on the north with the green lands of the south.

Looking south from the desert rim toward San Bernardino

This is Cajon Pass. Cajon—pronounced cah-hone with the second syllable strongly accented—is the Spanish word for “box.” Because a portion of the defile is walled by high cliffs, the early Spaniards christened a portion of it “Paso del Cajon”—Box Pass. Through this pass comes the National Old Trails Highway, now paved from San Bernardino to Summit, a distance of 26 miles. It parallels the long abandoned and almost obliterated Santa Fe Trail over which, in 1849, and in the early ’50s, the Pioneers came to lay the foundations for a Southland empire.

Bennett’s Long Camp – Death Valley National Park

At the point in the Pass where the old trail from Salt Lake joined the one from Santa Fe there stands a tall monument, erected in honor of those hardy adventurers. It was built in 1917 by the survivors of the Forty-Niners and their descendants and was dedicated on December 23 of the same year.

Santa Fe & Salt Lake Trail plaque

A short distance northward from the monument, and just 20 miles from San Bernardino is Camp Cajon, a welcome station for the incoming motor traveler, which an eastern writer has termed “California’s Granite Gate.” It, too, is a monument dedicated to the present and the future as the pioneers’ monument is to the past. Camp Cajon is the conception of William M. Bristol, orange grower, poet, and dreamer of Highland, 25 miles southeastward. Mr. Bristol first dreamed of his dream of Camp Cajon at the dedication of the Pioneers’ Monument.

Welcome to Camp Cajon

Thirty years before, Mrs. J. C. Davis, a Wisconsin woman, had spent a winter in California and returned home, wrote, and published a poem entitled “The Overland Trail,” a graphic pen picture of the old trail as seen from the windows of a modern Pullman car. Mr. Bristol was present at the dedication of the monument for the purpose of reading this poem as a part of the formal program. It is an interesting fact that Mrs. Davis had returned to California and was residing at Devore, at the southern portal of the Pass, Without knowing that she was to contribute in any way to the ceremonies of the day, she was taken into the Bristol family car and was present to hear her poem unexpectedly read nearly a third of a century after it was written.

The Overland Trail
The Flag
Out Where the West Begins
Just California

At the close of the ceremonies, the throng adjourned to the willow grove, where Camp Cajon now stands, and, sitting on the sandy ground, at a picnic dinner, It was then and there that the need for permanent conveniences for such an occasion occurred to Mr. Bristol, and on that day he began the formulation of the plans for making his dream come true. In May 1919, he pitched his tent in the willow grove, then a jungle, intending to take a two months’ vacation from his orange grove, and build a dozen concrete dining tables, each with benches of the same massive and indestructible type. That was the extent of his original dream. But so enthusiastically was his innovation received by the world at large, and especially by Southern California, that his vacation was stretched to two years; and when he finally resigned as director and returned to his home, there were fifty-five tables instead of the dozen, besides numerous other structures not contemplated in the original plans. He was not only an architect but an artisan, much of the actual work of construction being done by himself, personally, the ornamental mosaics of dark and white stone and the hundred or more metal tablets on the tables and buildings being his own handiwork. A wealth of beautiful blue granite boulders near at hand inspired and aided in the building of various structures which promise to stand for all time.

Perhaps the most elaborate structure at the camp is the Elks’ outpost
clubhouse, erected by all the Elks’ lodges of Southern California at a
cost of several thousand dollars and dedicated to loyal Elks of the world. It affords conveniences for serving a meal to half a hundred people, and, standing and facing upon California’s most popular transcontinental highway, it also proclaims that the order stands ready to meet and greet all comers to the Southland. Across its face, in a beautiful mosaic of dark and white stone are the initials, “B. P. O. E.,” and above this in the same artistic stonework, is the Elks’ clock, with its hands pointing to the mystic hour of eleven. Below is a metal tablet carrying the entire text of -Arthur Chapman’s poem, “Out Where the West Begins.” Elsewhere is a double tablet carrying John S. McGroarty’s favorite poem, “Just California.” And on the camp, flag column is four stanzas of Charles L. Frazer’s poem. “The Flag.” Each table and stove, each broiler and barbecue pit carry a tablet with an inscription and the name of the donor.

Perhaps the spirit of Camp Cajon is best and most briefly expressed in two tablets that read. “To the desert-weary traveler,” and “To the stranger within our gates.”

The following is the list of tables, stoves, and so on, with donors and the main part of inscriptions:

  • Twenty miles to San Bernardino, the Gate City, and home of the National Orange Show.
  • Thirty miles to Redlands and famous Smily Heights.
  • Twenty-three miles to Colton, the Hub City, where industry reigns.
  • Twenty-five miles to East Highlands, the Buckle of the Citrus Belt.
  • Twenty-three miles to Highland, gateway to City Creek, and Rim of the World.
  • Thirty-five miles to Mirage Valley, where things grow without irrigation.
  • Twelve miles to Sheepcreek, a watered and fertile valley.
  • Ten miles to Baldy Mesa, where things grow without irrigation.
  • Forty-five miles to Chino, where everything grows.
  • Twenty-three miles north to Adelanto, the transformed desert.
  • Twenty miles to Apple Valley, where apples keep the doctor away.
  • Twenty-three miles to Lucerne Valley, a land of abundant shallow water.
  • Sixty-one miles to Barstow, the metropolis of Mojave Valley.
  • Twenty-four miles to Victorville, the center of Victor Valley.
  • Fourteen miles to Hesperia, gateway to Big Bear Valley.
  • Seventy miles to Santa Ana, the county seat of Orange County.
  • At the south portal of Caion Pass, Devore, the home of the muscat grape.
  • Twenty miles to Del Rosa, beneath the Arrowhead.
  • Twenty miles to Arrowhead Hot Springs, the hottest springs known.
  • Twenty miles to Rialto’s orange grove.
  • Twenty-three miles to Fontana, the largest orange grove in the world.
  • Twenty-five miles to Bloomington, orange, and lemon empire.
  • Thirty-five miles to beautiful Etiwanda, home of the grape and the lemon.
  • Thirty-five miles to Cucamonga with its peaches, grapes, and “welcomes.”
  • Forty miles to Ontario, the model city. offers opportunity.
  • Thirty-five miles oceanward to Upland, and Euclid Avenue.
  • To all nature lovers, by the employees of the State Hospital at Patten.
  • Dedicated to checker players by the family of John Andreson, Sr., a pioneer of 1850. To the “Stranger within our gates,” by the family of David H. Wixom.
  • The “West to the East ever calls,” Hiram Clark and family.
  • Dedicated to the people of Needles by George E. Butler.
  • Dedicated to the people of Cloverdale, Michigan, by Mrs. Chas. H. Schaffer of Marquette, Mich.
  • To commemorate the visit of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, dedication tour, April 28, 1920.
  • In honor of Fred T. Perris, who, in 1884, led the iron horse through Cajon Pass.
  • To the Pioneers of San Bernardino Valley, by Native Sons who have gone afield. (Judge B. F. Bledsoe, Paul Shoup, and others).
  • To our Pioneers, by Arrowhead Parlor, Native Sons.
  • To the Trailmakers, by officers and men of Santa Fe.
  • To Highway Builders, by officers and men of Santa Fe. Redlands Rotary Club, with Rotary emblem.
  • Riverside Rotary Club, with Rotary emblem.
  • San Bernardino Rotary Club, with double table, and international Rotary emblem.
  • “The groves were God’s first temples,” by W. M. Parker.
  • “Now good digestion wait on appetite, and health on both,” by A. C. Denman. Jr.
  • “To the desert-weary traveler,” by W. J. Hanford.
  • A bake-oven, dedicated to the baking public, by W. j. Hanford.
  • A family broiler, dedicated to the broiling public, by C. G. Lundholm.
  • A pump, dedicated to the “drinking public,” by W. D. Anderson. A community broiler, “Max Aron bids you broil your steak.”
  • A big range. Orange County.
  • One barbecue pit. dedicated to the “barbecuing public.” by W. J. Curtis, J. W. Curtis, Henry Goodcell, Rex B. Goodcell, Herman Harris, John Andreson, Jr. Joseph E. Rich, W. E. Leonard, E. E. Katz and Mrs. F. I. Towne.
  • Flag column, erected by the Native Sons of Illinois, as a tribute to the State of their adoption.
  • “I love you, California.” Column, its mosaics, and tablets, the handiwork of F. M. Bristol, contributed by him.
  • Flag pole, gift of J. B. Gill, formerly Lieutenant-governor of Illinois.
  • Large tablet carrying four stanzas, Chas. L. Frazer’s poem, “The Flag.”

Elevation 3,002 feet.

HISTORY OF SAN BERNARDINO AND RIVERSIDE COUNTIES
by JOHN BROWN, Jr.
Editor for San Bernardino County
THE WESTERN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION — 1922

276

A Bum Investment

HESPERIA, CA.

Max Stroebel, who was to become known as the Father of Orange County, acting as agent for a syndicate bought 50,000 acres of land encompassing much of what makes Hesperia today. Purchasing the land was in anticipation of a railroad which was not to be for nearly 15 years, far too long for the investors. The land was sold at a loss and became the property of a German Temperance Colony.

Hesperia, Ca.
https://digital-desert.com/hesperia-ca/

California Southern Railway