Thursday, September 9, 2021

Dale Dry Lake

 It's summer in the desert. Too hot to hike, so what to do? I decided to take the Jeep out exploring. Hot, yes, but I wouldn't be exerting myself, so that's something. Destination: Dale Dry Lake, east of 29 Palms. On Google Maps, I could see what looked like a group of abandoned trucks and construction vehicles, and I figured they would be fun to photograph. Before driving out, I did a little research on the area. It turns out, this area has a lot of history.

The original town of Dale was established in 1884 next to a well dug into what was called Dale Lake (now called Dale Dry Lake). I don't know if Dale was actually a lake back then, or a dry lake like it is today. At any rate, the well at Dale Lake provided a reliable water supply to the miners in the area. In 1899 the miners brought in pumps and laid the infrastructure for pumping water from the Dale well to the mines. It's estimated over 3,000 miners and thousands of supply and service workers lived in the area, and Dale was thriving. But not for long.

About the turn of the century, the town of Dale was moved to a location closer to the actual mines. This is where things get confusing, at least to me. New Dale was built several miles south of Old Dale. Of course Old Dale wasn't called Old Dale back then, but simply Dale. Multiple references mention that the original site of Dale was on or next to the dry lake (red arrow), but other references show the original Dale (Old Dale on the map below) as being near the current Highway 62/Gold Crown Road split. To make things even more confusing, there was a town called Virginia Dale, and another Dale site near Virginia Dale. Oh, and no one seems to know who the heck Dale was!
Reference: digital-desert.com


One thing is for sure: There was something here, and it was substantial. The big concrete pads with heavy bolts must have held down large machinery or structures. Perhaps water pumps for the well?




Whatever was here is slowly being broken down and swallowed by the desert. But the trucks and equipment I could see on Google Earth and I came here to photograph? All gone! Someone removed them. Fortunately, there are all kinds of interesting things out here to keep a photographer busy!
 
Here's yet another mystery: Pretty much right where I'm standing in the photos above is labeled "Bush" on Google Maps. I'm guessing it's the site of a small town, although when I research it, I get nothing. 
 


There were a couple of these big mounds of wood debris. Whatever these structures were, they were sitting on top of a dug out area that went pretty deep. Much of the wood has fallen into the space below it and partially filled it in.


About the only thing being mined out here these days is salt. It makes for some interesting photography, especially in the late afternoon when the shadows are long. It doesn't seem to be an activity that requires many employees. I didn't see another human being all afternoon.


I'm driving the Jeep over to a large concrete structure I saw on the horizon.


Awesome desert solitude and scenery!


Nope, not piles of snow. It's salt. And yes, I did taste it!

This looks interesting. Hope you will stop by next post while we go check it out!
 
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

45 comments:

  1. Wow! That was an intriguing photo shoot ~ Lots of great light, sky and debris ~ Great shots ~
    Xo

    Living in the moment,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  2. Good job you had the jeep to drive out there. I will be interested to see what the structure is for, Water tower or air shaft

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  3. ...your images with blue skies add much needed color. This is a part of the world that looks foreign to me. Thanks for taking me along, I couldn't have done it on my own.

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  4. Dearest Peter,
    Wow, that was quite a discovery and too bad that research seems to be impossible about its early existence. Hate the person(s) that dump tires in the dessert or on our property that we bought and had to cultivate, being the very first humans ever toiling the soil.
    Anxious to learn more in your next edition!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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  5. Greetings and Salutations! I really enjoyed seeing piles of salt. Your images are lovely. Enjoyed your history lesson. Instead of finding Waldo we need to find out who Dale was. Are there still relatives in the area? Good thing you were riding in a Jeep. Got you there and back. Be safe.

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  6. Wow, were 3 thousand miners mining salt, or also other things? Always sad, because they all had to look for another job ... Once in a while you can take it easy Peter, lol!

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    1. Hi Jesh! The miners back in the day were all mining for gold or other ores. The salt mining is something much more recent.

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  7. Oh, I so love your shots you did in B&W...but then that blue sky is beautiful, too. I bet that was an interesting place to visit.

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  8. the remnants from the past always intrigue me - I just love your posts filled with debris from yesterday and I always want to know what, how, when

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  9. It's gotten to the point where archaeologists would have to be brought in.

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  10. Glad you took the Jeep. Totally worth the explore.

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  11. In England a dale can refer to a valley, basin, gully, ravine etc. Do you think that might be the origin of the name here?

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    1. Good idea, but I'm guessing that's not the case here. This area is a big open expanse with 50+ mile visibility on an average day. It doesn't at all feel like a valley, gully, etc. But perhaps a basin!

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  12. Over hill and dale... There isn't one of these pictures that fails to simply amaze me. I am knocked out.

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  13. I'm still genuinely amazed there is water in the desert. So many Dales though.

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  14. Another one of your fine discoveries in the desert.

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  15. Great photos. It really looks dry landscape.

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  16. The amount of things you find in the desert is fascinating. This reminded me a lot of my drive back to Phoenix from California last Sunday. I was riding in the back seat while my friend was driving. At one point we saw what looked like a rather large building way out on the horizon but in the middle of nothing but desert. Having flown over this area many times, I speculated it was a solar farm. We passed a road called Ford Dry Lake Road so I looked that up and sure enough found a reference to Genesis Solar Energy Center. When I fly back from California, I always see what looks like miles of solar panels in the middle of the desert. We also passed a sign for Joshua Tree National Park and I couldn't help thinking of you and your gorgeous posts.

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    1. Thanks, Sharon. There seems to be no end to desert mysteries!

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  17. Looks amazing, Wonderful place. Great pics.

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  18. Amazing sights and beautiful photos as always!
    Have a great weekend.

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  19. Sorry, I haven't visited for ages. But I'll be back.

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  20. Amazing photos. I was wondering the same thing as At Home in New Zealand, regarding the term dale, but a wikipedia search states that it comes from the Dale family who were the third owners of the station after the Long family and Gates family. It's always interesting to learn the history of a place and what it once was.

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    1. That's interesting, Tammy! I wasn't able to find these details in my Google search. Very helpful information!

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  21. Wow! That was an intriguing photo shoot

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  22. Thanks to the jeep, you were able to captures these interesting and mysterious findings in the desert. Amazing to find salt in the desert. Have a great weekend.

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  23. Interesting, especially the salt related pictures. Not the normal scenery you show us.

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  24. An interesting place and you have captured it so well in photos. I always enjoy following along with your adventures.

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  25. I love how you combine historical research and your photos -- always interesting!

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  26. I Really Like Your Shadow Selfies.
    Thing is - your marvelous posts always leave me wondering . . . and waiting for your NEXT post.
    Thank you - A Lot,
    -g-

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  27. It was obviously a busy place out there at one time. Maybe "dale" is just used in the north of England sense of "a valley".

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  28. I am amazed to see so much salt there! Does it blow in from the Pacific Ocean? Isn't it fascinating how people were always searching for some kind of mineral riches by mining in all these unusual areas?

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    1. Hi Pat. I don't understand the process either. I'm guessing the water in this area is naturally high in salt content. You form big shallow pools, let the water evaporate, and your left with salt (??). Of all the hundreds of mines in the area, you never hear of anyone getting rich!

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  29. Wow! wonderful post! We too have salt mines 150kms away from our village. They mine it from backwaters that flow from sea. Great pictures as usual. They convey the story written in post.

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  30. So intriguing. You got some gorgeous photographs.

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  31. Those foundations with those bolts. That was for something big and rotating and you could see had to be grouted in. I just love mysteries like this.

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  32. Intriguing. Beautiful shots! Love the black and whites.

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  33. Piles of salt! What's left after an ancient ocean just dried up?

    Beautiful scenery.

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  34. The salt mining operation is interesting. I learn a lot from your desert posts. I know the areas of desert are huge, but there's nothing quite like photos for bringing the understanding into sharper focus.

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  35. i love great finds like this! looks like an awesome adventure! great shots! p.s. thank you for being my sole commenter on my blog. i appreciate that at least one person is looking. thank you.

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  36. Wow, this is very "cool", how could I nearly miss this. On Sundays there is a series on TV, "forgotten places", I love that.
    You really live in a great area!
    When we were in Flinders Ranges, Australia, I thought ... hmmm, the horizon is white? It was all Salt!

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