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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cronese Dry Lakes - "the driver had tried to extricate his vehicle"

 We drove past Cave Mountain on I-15 on the way to the Basin Road exit. Jan and I reached the summit of this prominent peak 11 years ago. 
After exiting at Basin Road we drove north across the sand toward East Cronese Lake. In the distance Cave Mountain loomed over the traffic on I-15.
As night fell we drove across the dry surface East Cronese Lake.
Soon our road was covered with sand. After a quick scout to check the depth and breadth of the obstacle we continued on.
We set up camp on a ridge between East and West Cronese Lakes.
After breakfast we crossed the southern edge of West Cronese Lake headed for an abandoned truck I found seven years ago.
In November of 2006 I was exploring this area with some friends and while glassing the horizon with binoculars I spotted on object in the distance. We worked our way across West Cronese and then into the dunes. Soon we reached the truck in the photo above. There was evidence that the driver had tried to extricate his vehicle from the sand. Clothing and wood had been placed underneath the rear tires. The bed of the truck was packed with boxes of what looked like a young man moving to another town, TV, VCR, CD's, clothes, tools and photos. As we looked at the truck and its cargo so many questions formed in our minds. What happened to the driver? Why was a person from Utah driving into this remote area? Why didn't he return for his belongings?
When we returned home I reported the vehicle's plate number and location to three different agencies.
The truck in 2013. Ladder rack gone. Tool box gone. Carburetor removed. Windows and lights smashed. Television gone. VCR smashed. Clothing and personal items looted and scattered.
As I looked around the truck the same questions from six years ago formed in my mind. They will probably never be answered.

Our next stop was a location on West Cronese Lake where in January of 2006 I got my Tacoma into a very sticky situation.
In the past I have gotten vehicles stuck in mud but never hundreds of yards from solid ground. After saying a quick prayer and lowering the air pressure in my tires I drove the truck through the muck and mire to the safety of the shoreline.
This photo is for a friend of mine, who being an environmental extremist, was very upset that I had made deep ruts in the lake playa. Her comment was, "those ruts will be there for a 100 years." Becky, seven years later and you can barely see the tracks. If I didn't have the location marked on my GPS we wouldn't have been able to find the tracks because they were so faint.
A FWC on the road in the center of West Cronese Lake.
Headed toward pavement.
Plenty of wildflowers were blooming in the washes. This one was interesting because something had nibbled petals off of one of the blooms.
We near East Cronese Lake and in the distance is the falling sand dune of Cronese "Cat" Mountain. The I-15 is about three miles away.


  1. That's very creepy about the abandoned Utah truck.

    1. Sitting at a campfire the night after we found the truck the discussion revolved around various scenarios regarding what happened to the driver. Most of them didn't have a happy ending.

  2. Pretty rad adventure . I've been stuck in the desert and I think that what happened was that he was rescued but he could not afford the tow out of the mud. I think it's sad that he thought he would explore while relocating and had to lose his truck

    1. Yeah, really sad and I hope that your scenario is what happened.

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