Clint Thomsen is a freelance writer based in northern Utah. Most of his work appears in the various publications of the Transcript Bulletin Publishing Company. His pride and joy– and his first foot in the door of the writing industry– is his weekly outdoor column in the Tooele Transcript Bulletin, which was named best column in a non-daily newspaper for 2008 by the Utah Press Association. Clint took second place in UPA’s 2009 contest, where he also won an award for best feature story (The Heart of Vernon). If you’d like him to write something for you, send him an email at bonnevillemariner [at] gmail [dot] com.
For some frequently asked questions, let’s turn it over to him:
What formal training do you have?
None, unless you count high school AP English, the toughest (and most useful) class I’ve ever taken in my life. My political science college major was useless when it came to paying the bills, but it taught me how to research and build defensible arguments.
I didn’t think much about writing professionally until an executive at the office called me in to praise an email I had written, which he happened to have been copied on. My passion for investigative journalism and telling stories was born when I documented a road trip to Nevada in search of ghost towns.
What is your style?
It depends on the subject matter, but my style ranges from straight and concise (think technical manuals) to meandering and verbose (blog posts, my outdoors column). My narrative is observational and I tend to write it in what I call “neurotic first-person” (examples here and here).
What’s up with the all-over-the-map content on the blog?
I focus on a combination of the great outdoors, music, and history, with geologic, pop culture, and tech undertones. The connection between these concepts isn’t always obvious, but it’s there (if only in my ADD mind). Read long enough and you’ll piece it together.
Why Bonneville Mariner?
Between 32,000 and 16,800 years ago, the land that would later become Utah was covered by an ancient freshwater sea. The existence and disappearance of Lake Bonneville literally shaped the topography of western Utah. Its signature is prolifically etched throughout the eastern Great Basin.
I grew up exploring the mountains and deserts of Utah- essentially navigating the islands in and the floor of Lake Bonneville- hence “BonnevilleMariner.”
From it’s pristine mountain lakes to vast seas of desert, my part of the West is brimming with history and natural wonders. It’s a land largely untouched by human progress- where ancient petroglyphs grace sandstone walls and ghost towns dot the valleys.
May 6, 2008 at 10:30 pm
I’m looking for ghost town enthusiasts who would be able to talk to me about an AP article on ghost towns. Would you consider yourself to be in this category or would you be able to recommend anyone who would make a good subject for my article?
The Associated Press
May 6, 2008 at 10:50 pm
Heather, I have sent you an email about this.
July 29, 2008 at 4:48 pm
I love your site. The ghost town stories are fabulous and reading them made me want to pick up and head out west for an adventure vacation! I, too, have long been intrigued by abandoned towns – there are fewer out here on the east coast, however. Hopefully soon I’ll get out west. Keep up the great job with your stories!
February 18, 2009 at 9:23 pm
Love the sight and I enjoy your articles on the Tooele paper. I have a couple questions about Horseshoe springs and the Skull valley area. I want to take a group of scouts out there camping but have never spent a lot of time out there. Where are some good spots to camp? Right at Horseshoe springs? How bad are the roads right now do we need 4 wheel drive to get out there in March?
February 19, 2009 at 5:09 am
Mark, thanks so much for reading! There are a lot of spots out there- most of them in the same general area of Horseshoe Springs. If you’d like to try there, just take the Rowley/Dugway exit and drive until you see the sign. It’s crowded on the weekends. A lot of scout groups.
I’d recommend there, or you could try just south of Lone Rock. If you pull it up on Google Maps, there’s a fairly wide dirt road that branches west off of Skull Valley Road just south of the rock. You can camp anywhere along that road.
The roads will be fairly muddy. 4WD is recommended, but you might be fine in a 2WD unless you’re planning on driving up slops. Luckily, most of the best spots are just off the main road and on flat ground.
Id recommend staying in the north end of Skull Valley. Don’t try White Rocks or anything down south. Stay off of the mud flats- you’re guaranteed to get stuck.
Bring your fishing poles and spinning bait for the springs, and have fun!
November 20, 2009 at 11:40 pm
The things you have said about hiking in the desert remind me of my dad. He loved hiking and exploring and for several years I tagged along with him. I am going to have siblings in town for Thanksgiving and we want to do a John Morgan memorial hike. We have kids of all ages. We want to go to lone rock and horseshoe springs because of the time we spent there as children with our parents. We grew up in Salt Lake and I think I can find the way from I-80. However, I now live in Saratoga Springs. I know to go west on SR 73, but where do I go from there? Can you tell me anything about the length of the drive so we can leave early enough to get there and back in time for turkey.
November 24, 2009 at 5:47 pm
I apologize for the delayed reply, Elizabeth. You’re correct- just drive south around the mountains on SR-73, hang a left on on SR-36 and a right on SR-199. Follow that up through Johnson Pass and Terra, then out to Skull Valley Road. One suggestion, though: unless you have a lot of time on your hands and really want to see Tooele County’s backcountry, I’d just take the I-15/I-80 route. I’d estimate about 2.5 hours via the back route and only 1.25 on the freeways. Let me know how it goes!
November 24, 2009 at 8:47 am
I admire what you have done here. It is good to see you verbalise from the heart and your clarity on this important subject can be easily observed. Tremendous post and will look forward to your future update.
February 10, 2011 at 2:53 am
It’s onerous to seek out educated folks on this matter, however you sound like you know what you’re speaking about! Thanks