Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day Trip: The Salton Sea

Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment. – Elliott Erwit

I decided it was time to leave the nest and go on a day trip with Max and my camera in tow to take pictures of things I thought were interesting.  
I have always wanted to visit the Salton Sea so I took the opportunity to go out and take a tour. Since it's on my goal list, I also get to check another activity off.

The Salton Sea, located in the southeastern corner of California, is actually a lake which occupies a desert basin known as the Salton Sink. This body of water covers a surface area of 376 square miles, making it larger than Lake Tahoe and Mono Lake.  In fact, the Salton Sea is the largest lake in California.  The Sea’s current elevation is about 227 feet below mean sea level, its maximum depth reaches 51 feet and its total volume is about 7.5 million acre-feet.

Besides the actual body of water, it is a pretty interesting place.  I drove around the the entire "sea" and took side tours of the neighborhoods surrounding this body of water, including the State park area and campsites along the shore.  

My favorite part of the surrounding areas were all of the old, broken down cars, trailers and homes in each neighborhood.  There are people living here so I didn't want to be obvious when taking pictures of their broken down things and at times, I wasn't sure if there were people still living in the trailers or homes I came across.  Maybe it was the excitement of the unknown that drew me in.  I found one house that was destroyed but had all the evidence of the "comfort" of home including a television, sofa, skylights, fireplace, and a random bowling pin and many other "treasures" to be found. Max and I took our picture in that fantastic dream home of the moment.

Since the salt content of the sea is rising, you will find a lot of dead fish on the shore along with a distinctive smell.  I enjoyed watching all of the birds as you can imagine.

At one point, I was taking pictures of what seemed to be a shallow mud pit until I got closer and my leg sank about 2 feet in the mud with my flip flops on.  Good thing my car is still packed with camping gear and clothes!  I found another pair of sandals to slip on and the rest of the day I had a mud mask on my feet.  

I was surprised to find that not many people living in Southern California know about the Salton Sea.  I am glad that I took the opportunity to tour it.  It's worth a trip for a day.  On to the next adventure...

For more images of this interesting place, click HERE

To learn more about the Salton Sea, he's a video of Anthony Bourdain touring the area in the exact same spot as I did.  I didn't know it at the time until a friend shared this link.  It's quite informative as well.  Click HERE to see the clip.


Seth and jake said...

Jake and I are just 30 minutes from there...come back and visit okay! :o)

Sinbad & John said...

Too bad I didn't know you were going there or I would have suggested stopping by Slab City east of Niland at the southeast corner of the Salton Sea. Photographic opportunities abound there, especially at Leonard Knight's Salvation Mountain. Worth another road trip for sure.

Alison said...

Sounds good Seth! :)

Sinbad and John, thank you for the tips! We drove around the lake and stopped here and there. I tend to wander and not look at a map. We saw a few cool things. Glad we went! :)

susan said...

It's need to go back and check out Slab's wild, to say the least!

Thanks for the great photos.


Anonymous said...

Great pics my friend . Next time give me a call! You passed right by me. Ditto on the Slab City thing. That kid from the movie "Into the Wild" spent some time there. I live so close yet I haven't been there. Took the kids to see The Salton Sea several years ago ... I was shocked at the size of it. Can't wait to hear about your next adventure so I can live them vicariously through you :).

Love ya!

開會討論 said...
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Batdorff Photography said...

Nothing beats a day trip....very nice shots.

Alison said...

Susan, yes I will visit that spot next time. :)

Laura! - Hi...thanks for the comment, good to hear from you.

John (Batdorff) - Thank you for the nice comment! Yes, I love day/road trips. :)

Anonymous said...

Your doggie is so cute! Happy travels.

nikki striefler said...

Great article - it's an amazing road trip for sure! I don't know what I was expecting....we decided to drive to the Salton Sea from Borrengo Springs, which had been pretty boring and un-eventful. I thought that most of what was left from the Salton Sea would have been cleaned up or moved by now, but I was amazed that this modern-day ghost town has mostly been left to rot in the unforgiving desert sun. it's a lot of driving to get from one point to another to find the abandoned marinas and hotels, but to anyone who's considering going: if you're not in a hurry and can put on some good desert music (the Eagles greatest hits was perfect!) then definitely check out this piece of history. Here's an article I wrote about my visit:

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