Driving toward Great Basin National Park on a lonely two lane road a month ago, I came across this dead tree full of shoes. This one tree is not really that close to the small town of Hinckley. Just sitting there, dead, in the middle of nowhere Utah, littered with footwear.
I've searched the internet and found a lot of speculation based on little or no evidence about this particular tree and shoe trees in general. But I think I know a little bit about human behavior and perhaps even less about what bored teenagers do, but I'll give it a go with my own piece of fiction.
A trio of high school kids late on a Friday night are driving around, drinking beer and smoking dope away from their parents in Hinckley, Utah. They are having a pretty good time, bored out of their minds, fucking around, laughing at nothing, but then Guy #1 has to pee and Guy #2 pulls over near this solitary dead tree. While Guy #1 and Guy #3 tap their kidneys, Guy #2 has a stoned idea. He looks in the bed of his pickup, sees his little sister's discarded sneakers, smiles to himself, ties the laces together, and then chucks them up the tree. The three of them laugh, drain their Coors Lights, finished smoking that last joint, then they head back to town. Next week, while driving around Hell's Half Acre, smoking dope and killing another six pack, a second pair of shoes goes up that tree, this time Guy #3 brought with him his own worn-out pair of Keds. Over time, it just became a thing that teenagers did while cruising the flats west of Hinckley.
That's my guess, but the reality is no one knows for sure or they ain't telling.
And I'm just making this shit up.
Personally, seeing this dead old tree festooned with footwear on a cold winter afternoon in February gave me a slight case of the heebie-geebies. A bit of real-life post-apocalyptic Mad Max in the middle of America's Great Basin.
Heck, I've probably just watched too much damn television is all.