Route Around Searles Lake East Shore - Do-able
Posted by Plotter on September 04, 2001 at 13:44:32:
Last Chance Rand and I started just south of Trona Airport, heading south-east on well maintained dirt road toward Gold Bottom Mine. All is well to the first giant ore hauling road, then the route degrades slightly.
Past the turnoff to Copper Queen the route crosses a second ore hauling road, and all but disappears briefly. However, the route does continue as a mere two track road until the NWC fenceline.
Sadly, despite the ominous warning signs, the barbed wire had been cut and numerous sets of tracks continued on to the restricted land. Unnecessarily, too, as, just as I had suspected, there was a two track trail across the crusty trona lake bed right along the fenceline.
On Saturday, the lake bed was dusty and quite crunchy. We were following recent tracks so we certainly weren't the first. There are lots of minor washes and ruts, and I wouldn't even think of going out there in spring or after rains. But honestly, as unspectacular as the route was, the remoteness and lonelyness was extraordinary.
We passed the site of the old monorail supports, coming as close to Layton Canyon as allowed. We talked of 20-mule teams hauling Borax, Old Dinah, and the Epsom Salts monorail while lamenting that we'll never get to see Layton Canyon up close.
Eventually, the route completes its lakebed crossing, meeting other routes of differing conditions toward South Trona, the Pinnacles and Teagle Wash.
While we found the route certainly do-able, and were pleased to have experienced it, I'm going to pass in taking my group over it. It took a long time, it was very dusty, and likely won't be as exciting to them as other options.