On location: Salton Sea

When we were making plans to move here, Jason asked, "How close will we be to the beach?"

I said we were about two to three hours from the ocean ... "But we're only about an hour from the Salton Sea."

The Salton Sea. It sounds wide, expansive, romantic. I imagined wind-swept picnics on the sand, evening bonfires by the water's edge, lingering kisses against the crashing waves.

And now I think I was confusing it with "Wide Sargasso Sea," which is actually about the beaches of Jamaica. But whatever. Point is, I was wrong.

Since we've lived here, Jason and I have been hearing a lot about the Salton Sea. There are jokes and stories -- and also a lot of fights. Some people want to drain it, some people want to preserve it. Either way, it's turning into an ugly political mess.

Sunday was our first visit there together. (Jason had been there one time previously with the tour company he used to work for.)

It's true, the Salton Sea is a very troubled place. It's very polluted -- the lake is replentished by agricultural run-off. (You know those conventionally-grown grapes, artichokes, asparagus, etc. you guys get from California? All those poisons run into this body of water.)

A lot of fish used to live there, but the salinity of the lake is getting too high to sustain many species anymore. The fish are also dying from pollution and algae blooms, which makes for a lot of rot and a lot of stench.

I guess the Salton Sea also used to be a thriving resort area; it's now surrounded with dilapidated structures.

But you know what? It's gorgeous.



Salton Sea

It's SUCH a cool place.

The lake and surrounding wetlands are a popular stopover for migratory birds:



Environmentally, the place is like nothing I've ever seen before. There's a lot of underground activity, probably because it's so close to the San Andreas Fault line, and the ground literally gurgles with bubbles of methane. There are mud volcanos that belch and burp and erupt -- Jason got splattered with some mud when he was peeking into one of the formations -- and it all feels very prehistoric.

Here's a mud volcano:

Salton Sea volcano

And here's some mud about to spew:


It is absolutely one of the most amazing places I've ever been:


Even with the dead fish, which sounded like Pop Rocks as they crunched underneath our feet:

Dead fish

P.S. You guys know that you can click on any of the photos and see my entire collection at Flickr, right? I thought so.
« Home | Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »

» Post a Comment