Run Off Twice In Three Days

In three days I was run off land I was taking pictures on. A new record. Once by a public official and one by a private security guard. (Who had a K9 with him.) Some thoughts.

Anyone patrolling and protecting private or public land gets hard from dealing with thieves, vandals, squatters, pot growers, and people off-roading where they shouldn’t.

As such, you are most likely deemed a profiteer no matter what you are doing. If I have a camera, the question is always, “Are you a professional? Are you selling these photographs?” If I am rockhounding, it’s always, “Do you make money off of this?” Sigh.

My attempts at explaining are always seen as arguing. It puts these people immediately on the defensive. You don’t not want to do that. I say what I am doing, I am always friendly, and I always leave an area as asked. It doesn’t matter if I am right or not, I do not want to fail what cops call the attitude test.

Law enforcement can throw you into jail for almost anything. Whether the charges stick, that’s another matter. Right now, you are in jail. A police officer puts you in jail under what are called booking charges. They can be practically anything. It’s the district attorney (or whatever other official is tasked with prosecutions), who decide what the final charges will be. If any.

In questions like trespass, the DA probably doesn’t want to even consider the case. You may be fined with no further jail. The DA may be more mad at the police officer for bringing them another case that isn’t a priority. To that point, a policeman also doesn’t want to develop a history of jailing people on minor charges who get immediately released.

I belong to the Public Lands for the People and have a bumper sticker for them on my truck. They advocate getting all sorts of information from the officer in case you are stopped. I don’t ask for an officer’s full name. If I need to, I’ll get their license plate number. That will be enough to identify them later on. Less confrontation.

Speaking of names, if you mention someone in their agency, be prepared to have that name. “I know someone.” “Okay, Jack, who?” A printout is best, don’t be stuck by the side of the road searching through your e-mails on your phone. I carry printouts of current rockhounding regulations for both the BLM and USFS in my truck, along with the rules for collecting in Wilderness Areas. I have printed out my correspondence with certain state and national level BLM and USFS officials, along with their phone numbers.

Anything on paper is far better than describing it. If you want to try to explain yourself. Which, again, may seem argumentative and confrontational. Your call. Good luck.

Oh, if you are doing something really debateable, get the business card of a criminal defense lawyer and keep it in your wallet. Pay for an hour of their time to introduce yourself and tell them what you are doing. Find someone who practices criminal law, nothing else. They are very different from other lawyers. And get the business card of whatever bail bondsman that attorney recommends. Just saying.
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Desert Pavement

Just finished uploading a file to Wikimedia Commons showing desert pavement. It’s reworked footage from my prospecting desert pavements video.

In this video, I remove all narration and free certain frames along the way. I think this works best, leaving a description of desert pavement up to educators and students.

There are many nice still photos of desert pavement from around the world at Wikimedia Commons but no video.

Here’s the link to its page at Wikimedia.,_Nevada.webm

Many devices can’t play that file format. So, here is the same footage at Vimeo, unfortunately, more compressed. Downloading any video file always and then playing it always produces the best results.
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Out to Nopah (Again)

I’m leaving writing and most of social alone for now. My handle at Instagram is tgfarley if you want to check out some of my latest trips. 

Writing feels extremely unhealthy these days and I am much better when I can get outside and rockhound without having to write up everything about what I find and do.  I’ve done enough of that and it was enjoyable while it was enjoyable.

Here are two videos I placed in the public domain. You’ll find them on YouTube as well. I’ve written about Nopah countless times and you can find more photos of mine by looking up the Nopah Range on Wikipedia.

And here is some iPhone footage looking into the South Nopah.
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Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park

I didn’t mention State Parks in my book very much because they don’t allow collecting. Still, I visited several and took many photographs that had no home. As I have said in previous posts, I am uploading the better ones to Wikimedia.

This one turned out well. A couple and their dog look down into the signature feature of the park, the so called Fire Wave. It’s a sandstone bowl, a confusion of swirls and layers and depressions. Like a crazy skate park might look if Fred Flintstone designed it.

This image would be better cropped, so that the couple are nearer. I didn’t do that, letting a user make their own decisions. Any editor wants the full image, as many pixels as possible. The original is 6,000 by 4,000 pixels, good enough for any magazine printing and even some decent enlargements.

If Wikimedia allowed posting RAW files then I would do that.

Here’s a 1,000 pixel size image at this site and then there is a link to the Wikimedia page where you can see that it is in the public domain and choose from a variety of download sizes.

Here’s how I might crop the image but it does loose the power the distance provided.

Or here is another way that emphasizes texture.
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This Might be My Last Post for A While

Since I finished what I could of my travel book series, I am now turning to other things. My back has to heal up better and I probably should spend more time indoors to help that along.

I’m now spending quite a bit of time contributing by better photos to Wikimedia, the photo repository for Wikimedia. I am placing all of these photos in the public domain, with no restrictions on their use or any need to credit me. I could explain why but that would take several more paragraphs to describe. You can go over to my writing site if you want to know more.

One has to register with Wikimedia first, upload and describe a photo according to their requirements, and then place a link to it at an appropriate Wikipedia page. I thought the dashboards and the interface the two groups used were too intimidating but it’s not that difficult once you go through it. Just takes time.

I saw there were no photos at Wikipedia on the Nopah Range in Inyo County. None taken while in that range at least, just two photos from the valley floor. I added a photo gallery of some of my pictures to this page:

Update! Wikipedia does not want to be an image gallery. An editor kindly told me this and we are going to rework that page. Only a few photos should show at a Wikipedia entry, the rest can sit quietly at Wikipedia Commons to be used in other articles and to be searchable as a whole.

Back to my original post:

It took most of this morning to get my Nopah photos up but they are now permanently posted at Wikimedia Commons where they await somebody 12 years from now to do a report. Many photos I am going to post have been seen here but not organized, not full sized, and not with a copyright release.

Seeing no photos of a wild Red Rock Canyon desert tortoise, I added my four tortoise photos to this page:

Here’s what I did for the Darwin, California entry:,_California

Update (again) That entry above has been changed. The emphasis on Wikipedia is not to create image galleries. I am learning this as I go and I remain very positive about contributing to Wikipedia and Wikipedia Commons. Be prepared, however, to have an editor watching your work and correcting it. That’s only fair, every writer needs an editor.

Back to the original article:

I’d encourage you, too, to build up what’s called the inverted pyramid of knowledge. With Wikipedia and Wikimedia, everyone can.

I wish you good health until my next report.
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Nevada’s Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park

Seventeen miles from Ely and two hundred miles northeast of Las Vegas is Nevada’s Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park (external link.) Italian stone masons in the 1870s built these beehive shaped ovens to produce charcoal used in forging and mining operations. Hiking and mountain biking are both possible from the park. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing can be done in the winter. A tiny rivulet of water called Willow Creek is nearby. I hope it runs year round.

Tiny Creek at Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.
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My New Mexico Chapter is Now Out

The Arizona and New Mexico chapters of my now halted book project is out. Places to go, things to do, stuff to pick off the ground. If anything is open these days, Still, plenty of open USFS and BLM managed ground to run around in.

The first two new chapters are at my SW Travel Page, which also has more abbreviated documents covering the entire Southwest.

I hope to get the Nevada Chapter out next.
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Another Day For Railroad Pass and a UV Night Hunt

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley

I planned to get back to Railroad Pass today to sample drainages for colors. But I injured myself again and I can only walk slowly, carefully, and in pain. If I can get to my physical therapy appointment tomorrow I might some pointers on what to do. Aspirin certainly doesn’t help.

This delay might be good. Alunite specimens are in the mail for me and they might get here Saturday afternoon. I read they fluoresce orange under long wave. That would be tremendous since it would make night hunting on a difficult hill easier. The Convyoy C8 Dragonfly I have is a great hunting flashlight, much easier to operate than my bulky and heavy SW lamp. (Although that lamp from UV Systems is very bright, about 18 watts, totally reliable, and the battery lasts for hours.)

While the Dragonfly is great for hunting, its narrow and concentrated beam is too bright for bench or display work. It blows out colors on most materials. What might be a soft orange under a normal lamp will probably turn into a white spot at close range with the Convoy.

Again, while not a display lamp the Dragonfly might be the best LW hunting tool anywhere. I can hold it in one hand while holding onto a hiking stick with my other and it is almost bright enough to use as a pathway flashlight. It proved great on some steep hills at Darwin.  Have extra batteries and don’t run it continuously. You shouldn’t need to as a hill or other area can be scanned pretty quickly. And, yes, the battery charger for it is weird and funky.

If you do go out on a night fluorescent mineral hunt right now, make sure you are close to a populated area with emergency services nearby and be extra careful NOT to need them. Get yourself to help or self-treat. Most of us have a first aid kit, I’m thinking lately of getting a trauma kit. High risk activities should be curtailed until things get back to normal. Having an SAR crew pull you off a mountain during this pandemic is a criminal use of resources.

One last thing, since we are all concerned with cleanliness in these days of COVID-19. Many people use a “black light” to identify pet stains around the house or to help clean the bathroom. These are usually 5 watt SW units. If you REALLY want to see how disgusting your bathroom is and how much it needs cleaning, get a Dragonfly LW. You will be totally disgusted and in these times of self-quarantining , you will have a multiple-day project to spend a lot of your time. Everything biologic will present itself.

NB: All links are unsponsored and there are no ads at my sites. Midnight Minerals is a great company and so is UV Systems.
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Not All Rocks Are Old

We usually think rocks are millions of year old. Not all  are. These are less than three years old. Ours is a dynamic earth: creating, destroying, changing.

Just got in some basalt from R.C. at Geological Specimen Supply. He collected these examples himself in Hawaii late last year. It was, pun intended, rocky going, walking on rock as sharp as glass.

For background, “Basalt is a fine-grained, dark brown to black rock that lava solidifies into. It is made of minerals, such as, calcium-rich plagioclase, pyroxene, and lesser amounts of olivine. Basalt is the main type of rock in oceanic environments, such as mid-ocean ridges and hot spots.” University of Oregon website (external link)

I got two specimens from R.C., one shows more olivine than the others. Olivine is commonly known as peridot.

Here’s how R.C. describes these examples. R.C., by the way, is a practicing geologist who spends most of his time wandering California and Nevada deserts looking for teaching examples of rocks and minerals.

Tholeiite basalt aa from the flow that destroyed Kapoho, Hawaii in 2018

Tholeiite basalt, rising from partial melts of peridotite in the mantle, is the most common igneous rock on earth and makes up the oceanic crust. It is the type of basalt found on the moon. Peridotite is composed primarily of olivine and pyroxine. Olivine crystallizes at a high temperature and is one of the first minerals to form crystals in the rising magma. It is common in Hawaiian basalts, weathering out of a Mauna Loa cinder cone near South Point, where it is concentrated in a cove to form a famous green sand beach.

Aa forms when lava cools quickly and moves fast, with the surface breaking up into a clinkery mass of loose jagged pieces. Aa flows tend to be thicker than pahoehoe and are almost impossible to walk on. This aa was formed on the flow that consumed the community of Kapoho in 2018 and completely filled in Kapoho Bay, forming a lava delta.

This aa is extremely scratchy and will impress any student that walking on an aa flow would be a challenge. Textbook example.

Closeup of texture.

For comparison, this is vesicular basalt from San Carlos in Arizona. It displays olivine more prominently. Stevie Joey mines this kind of basalt at his claim on the reservation. His website is Peridot Dreams and he is good people.

I also have some self-collected vesicular basalt from the Dixie National Forest in Utah, however, I am in too much pain right now to find it. Matter of fact, I was lucky to put on my socks this morning

R.C. mentioned “aa.” Cornell says this, “Lavas, particularly basaltic ones, come in two primary types: pahoehoe (pronounced ‘paw-hoey-hoey”) and aa (pronounced “ah-ah”). Aa forms when lava flows rapidly. Under these circumstances, there is rapid heat loss and a resulting increase in viscosity. When the solid surface crust is torn by differential flow, the underlying lava is unable to move sufficiently rapidly to heal the tear. Bits of the crust are then tumbled in and coated by still liquid lava, forming the chunks. Sometimes the crust breaks in large plates, forming a platy aa. ”

A little look at olivine sand from a green sand beach in Hawaii. Old stock. Hawaii’s coastline doesn’t favor beach formation. For decades, the white sand beaches of Waikiki were maintained by bringing in sand dredged from Long Beach Harbor in California.

“Around Kapoho.” Credit: Graeme Churchard: Wikipedia Commons.


“Views from HVO’s helicopter overflight at 1PM HST, show the remains of the Kapoho Beach Lots subdivision and the fissure 8 flow front. The northern flow margin in this area was unchanged from HVO’s morning flight and appeared to have stopped advancing at the time of the flight.” Credit: USGS.

I wish you and yours good health.
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