2004 Samuelson Rocks

On the 27th of November, Sandy and I were driving to Palm Springs for a few days of relaxation.  On the drive there my sister, Melanie, and her husband, Phil, passed us.  They were also, consequently, going to Palm Springs.  We decided to get together for a hike to the Samuelson Rocks.  Six years ago, Sandy, my Dad, Jean and I searched for these rocks, which are located in Joshua Tree National Park.  They are not promoted at all by the park service.  The rocks are "Kept a Secret!"  This time it became a group hike.  My Dad and Jean, Melanie and Phil, Chris and Ted, and Sandy and I.

To appreciate this hunt and story requires a brief history of the rocks.  If you remember "Perry Mason" and "Earle Stanley Gardner", then you may find this interesting.  These rocks got Earle Stanley Gardener started on his profitable writing career.  Earle was an attorney in Ventura, California.  After he sold the story of these rocks to Argosy magazine for $250, in 1928, he decided to became a writer.  He wrote over 400 history books and 12 non-fiction books during the 1900's.

I am not going to tell you the entire story, but will tell you that it involves ship wrecks, sleeping sickness, mental hospitals, African tribes, murder and gold!  The story is so outlandish, you may not find it believable, so I have attached the story to this web site for you to read for yourself. 

Earle first visited this area in 1928, but investigated numerous times during the 40's and 50's.  The story of the rocks was in a book called "Neighbor Frontiers" printed in 1953.

       Picture from 1928

Earle Stanley Gardner was a true off-roader before it became a sport.  This is the vehicle which he converted to one of the first motorhomes.  It had a stove, couch and other amenities.

   Picture from 1928

I have every non-fiction book written by Mr. Gardner.  Going off road on exciting adventures is a common theme in most of his writings.  Most of his adventures occurred in Mexico, the deserts of the Southwest or the river delta area near Sacramento, California.  In his writings of his desert trip of 1928 he made the statement that he thought that Las Vegas and Phoenix could have a great future, in spite of the fact that each location only had a few hotels and most of the roads were dirt!

I have scanned a few pictures from the book.

 During our hike we attempted to locate the same rocks and take pictures of how the rocks look today.


Picture from 1928


GPS Coordinates

N 34.02.850


The desert has not changed much in the last 76 years. 

The density of the vegetation is nearly identical.



Picture taken November 27, 2004

The initial rock carvings were of a philosophical nature.

The later carvings were more political and bitter.


Picture from 1928

John Samuelson had a limited education and was very apologetic during his visits with Mr. Gardner, regarding his spelling.

Many rocks had corrections.

On this rock he slipped a missing "R" into Henry.

He also left the "E" out of "Golden".

He then slipped a comma in "Gold'n"

 Picture from 1928

He completely messed up "Appreciated"!


  Picture taken November 27, 2004

   Picture from 1928

This carving was done in 1927.  The picture taken in 1928.

  Picture taken November 27, 2004

This is Dad and Sandy on November 27, 2004.  My Father was 2 years old when the rock was carved!  Dad will be 80 years old next April.  I need to get in shape.  It is hard to keep up with him hiking across the desert.  We hiked approximately 4 miles across a trail-less desert.  Hope I am doing as well in 25 years.............

Not sure of the significance of Judge Ben Lindsey.


Picture from 1928

Melanie, my sister!

Sandy, the wife!



Picture taken November 27, 2004

This "MAY" be the judge which influenced the rock carving above.

Benjamin Barr Lindsey

Benjamin (Ben) Barr Lindsey (1869-1943) was a jurist and known as a reformer.  He was born in Jackson, Tennessee in 1869.  As judge of the juvenile court of Denver from 1900 to 1927, he founded the American juvenile court system, for which he won world recognition.

His literary works include The Beast (with Harvey J. O'Higgins, 1910), Madeleine : An Autobiography (1919), Companionate Marriage (with Wainwright Evans May 1927), The Revolt of Modern Youth and an autobiography, Dangerous Life (with Rube Borough, 1931).



   Picture from 1928

 John Samuelson had an illness which caused him to fall asleep for 2 to 4 days at a time.  It only occurred when it rained.  A doctor in Boston suggested that John should move to the deserts of the Southwest.  This was his home.

Phil and Mel



Picture taken November 27, 2004

Joshua Tree and Rocks.



Picture taken November 27, 2004

Jean, Dad, Chris, Mel, Phil and Sandy
Phil, contemplating...

Dad, glad to have made it to the top of the pile of rocks!


Picture taken November 27, 2004

The "PUMP" at Quail Springs.


Picture taken November 27, 2004

The Pump House at Quail Springs.


Picture taken November 27, 2004

If you Pump the Pump, the water comes through this hose, and into this bucket.
Mel and Sandy......

The "Group",trying to figure out

why this rock is standing.

A quick bite and a beer in Pioneertown.
Ted, Chris, Mel and Phil.

If you would like to read the complete story of the Samuelson Rocks, click on this button. 

Is the story true?     

I do not know.  

All I know is that the rocks DO exist!

Again, Click here for the complete story of the ROCKS!

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