Mike's Garage

Coyote Dry Lake

We just had several days of solid rain, the most rain this area has seen in the last 120 years actually.  With relatives stuck in New York due to the storm and our plans canceled at the last minute I found myself with a free day and I decided to head out to have another look around Coyote Dry Lake to see if the rains uncovered anything.  Turns out the dry lake wasn't going to be so dry today.  From a distance it became apparent that there was going to be a lot of water on the playa. The whole northwest portion of the "dry lake" was full of water.


I drove down to the southwest corner of the lake bed where a BLM road crosses the playa.  I wanted to see if the higher portion of the lake bed was dry enough to drive my truck across on the BLM road so I could hunt the northeast section of the playa.  I eased my truck onto the lake bed surface and sank about an inch into the thick clay mud.  I drove forward about 10' but my wheels were slipping like crazy and I knew that this wasn't going to work.  I threw it in reverse, parked along side the road, and headed out on foot.  Since mine were the first vehicle tracks here I knew that I was most likely the first person out here since the storm.  Hopefully I'd come across a newly uncovered meteorite!

We got almost 10 inches of rain from this last storm.  That may not sound like a lot to many parts of the country, but that is basically a yearly total for the area dumped in one storm.  You could see signs everywhere of how much water had been poured over the desert.  I can't wait to see this place come alive this spring.

I had decided to hike out to the the part of the dry lake I had planned to hunt.  It was a little over 3 miles from where I had parked to my planned hunting area, so I started out.  The desert pavement along the shore was fresh and clean after all the rain; it looked and felt more like gravel underfoot than hard pack like it usually does.  I made my way onto the lake bed surface north of the BLM road and found it dryer than where I had tried driving before.  This part of the playa was high enough that it had already started to dry out.


I quickly came across my most unusual find of the day.


As I made it further out into the middle of the lake bed and the elevation dropped a couple feet it quickly became muddy - very muddy.  Luckily there were more solid, dryer "islands" every now and then.  I zig-zagged my way out further onto the playa.  The hunting surface was pristine, I was the first person out here since the rain had stopped.


I came across another section marker like the one I found my last time here.  By this point the dryer portions of the lake bed were all but gone and it was pretty much just solid mud and standing water.


A little over 2 miles out now and it was very slow going, slippery, and muddy.  I could see up ahead where I wanted to be hunting, but it was still over a half mile ahead and it was just too muddy.  I think I'll have to save that area for another time.


I turned west and decided to loop back toward the dryer shore line area and hunt there until dark.  Previous tire tracks across the playa made for some surreal images.


The sun dips behind the Calico Mountains and it's time to call it a day.


The eastern sky over Alvord Mountain had a great purple glow that my camera couldn't do justice.


I didn't find anything, but I'll be back as soon as it dries up a little more.