Home in the High Desert

I’m a desert rat. That name in itself says a lot about me.

I’m comfortable in the High Desert of Southern California. I know much of the area due to my early interests in rock hounding and a four-wheel drive club I belonged to for 18 years. I was devouring books about the desert, its history, its Native Americans, and in substitution for books that didn’t provide what I wanted, I would go out and investigate myself.

High Desert Mining Site
Last remnants of Mining

I tromped around the High Desert looking for the elusive field flowers from noted biologists who had done the footwork years before. I found the treasures that most people wouldn’t care to find. I was eager to find ghost towns, and even more curious to hear the stories about the first adventurers who broke ground out here.

My interests are wide and first began with watching Western TV shows, then reading about the West, then collecting the West — antiques, when I could afford them, and collectibles when I came across them.


An Art Deco teapot now with a shine on it
An Art Deco teapot now with a shine on it

My ranch is remote and sits near a deserted mining claim that was once very active. The things that make the Southwest attractive to me are the desolate vistas hiding animals and plants that know how to survive, the nomadic Native Americans who new how to find hidden springs, food, and adapt, as well as the newest settlers from the cities who want to recapture something they lost in the urban jungle.

It’s with all of these “irons in the fire” that propelled me to write about it, share it, and honor it. I figured if I could be compelled to want to understand the desert that there must be others out there that ache to learn more about the High Desert, too.

An old pin cushion-type cactus still in bloom
An old pin cushion-type cactus still in bloom

So, in the tabs above, you’ll find my links, news about my digital magazine for Southwest enthusiasts, and some adventure-history blog posts. It’s a patchwork quilt of historical info about the Old West and the New West, how we like to call the High Desert our home, and ways in which we capture the Spirit of the West.

Rusty LaGrange