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Monday, January 20, 2014

North of the Cronese Mountains - "the route became sketchy, the sand deeper"

The sun breaks over the horizon just to the right/south of Cave Mountain. Jan, Jo Ann and I climbed to its bouldery summit 14 years ago. The top of this peak provides an magnificent view of the Mojave Desert.
Dawn at Green Mountain Lake.
Cave Mountain, a FWC, a tent camper and a sunrise.
Jo Ann walked over to check out the Green Mountain Quarry while I walked south on the playa. It took me awhile to figure out this print on the dried surface of the lake. Then it dawned on me, skid marks from a bird landing when the lake was covered with water.
Photo Credit: Jo Ann Ward
View of Green Mountain Lake from the top of Green Mountain Quarry.
After breaking camp we drove north and then east toward the Silver Sericite Mine.
Much less at the Silver Sericite than we expected. Although there was plenty of sericite laying around. Note to readers: This silky silver powder is the ideal base for your eye shadows and foundation bases. Combined with colored pigments and micas, the result is excellent slip and very soft skin feel while giving color great long lasting adhesion to the skin without clogging pores. From:
We drove past this can but because it was a pull top I designated it an artifact and it remains in situ so it can be studied by archaeologists in the future.
Our route continued east down this unnamed wash on a BLM signed route. Soon the route became sketchy, the sand deeper and only a few tracks continued on.
We found two cans alongside the road. What was their story? We will never know.
After a while we reached a finger of the West Cronese Playa.
Jo Ann found some dried fungi in the wash.
We explored an old corral.
We could hear water down in the well when we jiggled the pump.
Clam and snail shells were evidence of a time when West Cronese Lake was really a body of water.
Burro tracks in the foreground and Cronese Mountain in the background.
Our route down a low arroyo to West Cronese.
West Cronese Lake. This photo was taken about 200 yards from the place my Tacoma was stuck in deep mud eight years earlier.
Crossing a sand dune between West and East Cronese Lakes.
East Cronese Lake.
By 1919 the sporadic settlements in the Cronise Valley had been abandoned, but in 1922 the Arrowhead Highway was opened. It passed from east to west through the southern end of East Cronise Valley (Thompson 1929:536). Although two railroads passed through the valley, service was poor and expensive (Thompson 1929:535). One of the longest lived families in the Mohave Sink, the Proctors, were to move at this time from Crucero to a ranch in the east Cronise Basin. For a time, the Proctor family owned a restaurant, gas station, and motel complex at the junction of the Mohave inflow channel and the Old Arrowhead Highway at the south end of east Cronise Lake. About 1 mile east of the Proctor's establishment 10-15 acres was planted in alfalfa in 1930 and watered from a well (Shepard, personal communication). Furrows of this enterprise are visible on the lake surface, an may relate to the farming activities of H. D. Bradley or G. T. Roberts (Thompson 1929:538,544). The Proctors were one of the last families to stay in the region, and moved to a location on the present highway (Interstate 15) which was realigned approximately 1 mile further south to the extreme southern edge of East Cronise Valley. All occupants of the valley have now gone with the exception of one service station at the Rasor Road freeway exit located on the extreme southeastern edge of East Cronise Lake. The Proctor family remained in the vicinity until as recently as 1969 (Pierson 1970:207).

The Cronese Cat is a falling sand dune shaped like a feline viewed from behind. When a driver can see the Cronese Cat from this angle it means that your vehicle is near I-15. In 15 minutes we were on pavement and headed for home.
More on the Cronese Cat from Desert Magazine, August 1942:
The Cat on the Hill . . .
Dear friend Randall,
Several years ago there were inquiries as to the origin of name Cronese (appearing on most maps as Cronise). I had heard that it was an Indian word meaning wildcat, and that the Indians so named it because of the cat's image that sits on Cat mountain. But the Automobile club insists it was named after a scientist named Cronise, who wrote about the Mojave in 1880. I have talked with several old desert men who visited the valley in the '60s and they say it was named Cronese then, which was 20 years before Mr. Cronise's visit here. A short time ago I had a long visit with a Pahute Indian who has been my friend. I asked him to say "wildcat" in his language. He pronounced it CROdthESE. The dth is slurred and subdued so that it sounds like an "n," but if you pronounce it "n" they will correct you. There is no doubt that the Pahutes saw the cat on the hill.
ELMO PROCTOR, Yermo, California

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