Archive for April 17th, 2012


Salton Sea Visit….Not Much To Show For It………

In the past, I have written about the Salton Sea from a fishing, environmental, photographical, historical perspective. I have alway found the stories of what was and what transformed the area most intriguing. Hopes, investments, homes, businesses inundated, abandoned or destroyed. What happened?

I had envisioned exploring the long abandoned roads that lead off toward the lake. I brought my little Pentax Optio, W60 camera, not much of a commitment toward photographic creativity for sure. This sign was the first thing I came to near the North Shore area. The store that went with the sign appeared abandoned at first...well, it wasn't. Actually, almost everything down this way has the abandoned look given the stark surroundings.

The store appeared abandoned at first. No cars. No sounds. An Open sign. No cars on the highway. The wind blowing hard off the lake (sea). We ventured inside to find a simple, low energy woman standing behind the counter. She matched the energy levels around her. The interior was much more tired than the exterior.... I asked for a map of the area. She reached beneath the counter and pulled out a map. A Salton Sea map with ink scratches on when you test to see if the pen still has ink. A partial names was scribbled on the face of the folded up map. 'How much?' 'Well let's says $1.50 on it so I guess that'll do'. We exited with the map, but had a feeling we had walked into time vacuum for a few minutes.

The $1.50 map was an older map. It bore glowing accounts of the marina's, fishing and bird life. What could have changed from 1993 to the present...19 years later?

I won’t suggest that I made some extensive foray around the Salton Sea. I didn’t allow enough time for that. I despite reading about it had no idea how vast it was. So, I stopped off at one spot to get out and take in the view, the smells, the flora and fauna.

The map was opened up on the hood of the car with two sets of hands making sure the vintage map did not blow away. I realized this was a bit of a whim adventure. I should have done more homework as to which side of the lake to explore. It is a pretty darn large body of which areas to explore should have been better researched by myself prior to just wandering off in a rental car.

I drove down into an area near North Shore. I was looking for some hint of the "Sunken City" notation I saw on the map. I ventured out of the car to explore the shoreline. Save my wife, there was not another person in sight...and she wasn't in sight for long given the smells. An odd combination of like low tide at the beach, dead fish, salt, rot.....just something not quite right with the earth & water was blowing my way. I could see old concrete pillars on shore, slabs of concrete, hundreds of dead Tilapia, hundreds of pelican feathers scattered amongst the salt/barnacle? encrusted rocks. I spent some time exploring up and down a spit of land. Not a car went by. There really wasn't much sign of life except for the pelicans bobbing on the sea in the distance.

There were so many of the Tilapia high and very dry amongst the rocks. Were they driven ashore by high waves? They didn't exhibit signs of being dined upon. Pollution?

The only sign of man in the area was this abandoned boat seat on the shore, with feathers and fish adornments.

In the end, I abandoned my Salton Sea exploration with a heavy dose of recrimination for not planning better. Retreating from the area I did what any common sensed person should do….I stopped for a Date Shake….one of the few ways I would ever eat dates.

And, so you don’t feel this was a total Salton Sea No Show here are a couple of very informative sites about the Salton Sea: one is about the origins of the Salton Sea and how man once again botched their well intentioned plans. The other is about Helen Burns, who led one wild West existence. Read both pieces and I think you will learn new things about the Salton Sea. Well done video too. Salvation Mountain +++…Interesting too.


Fly Tying: The Feather Affair in Palm Springs

Oh, I do hate writing about this subject, that seemed the obligatory piece this past year or so….fly tying’s feather shortage ‘crisis’. I had noticed in the Portland area that the feather fashion craze had seemingly faded away, although you could still see the feather earrings and the rare feather insert into some young woman’s hair. While visiting the Village Fest, the Flea Mart last week in Palm Springs, and in numerous shops, I was struck by the wide availability of feathers this and that, as well as long strands of flashabou/krystal flash like products for hair insertions. 

This over priced Peacock monstrosity was one of several on display along with hundreds of feathered jewelry pieces by just one vendor amongst many I observed. Was this some marketing push in advance of the Coachella Fest?

Upon casually assessing some several thousand young women on Spring break, I don’t think I saw but a few with any feather earrings or hair insertions. There seems to be a large supply of feather adornments for sale…..but any demand? 

What was noticeable in this feather affair was the absence of high quality rooster feathers and the predominant use of lower grade feathers.


Art: Stephen Stavast’s River Rocks

I was recently down in Palm Desert, California doing the tourist thing along El Paseo. The shops that line the street do beg that phrase from the credit card company ad…”what’s in your wallet?” Not enough for these shops….window shopping and counting how many ‘refined’, coiffed blonds in black Mercedes one can count. But, I walked by an art gallery and in doing so, I saw some amazing oil paintings by Stephen Stavast on display.

 These were canvases that were mesmerizing in their reality. The paintings depicted river rocks, the type us fly fishers see, where the water is calm, clean and gin clear or high and dry…the water retreated. I stood gazing at these works and was most impressed. Impossible for my imagination to grasp how a person can paint with such exacting capacity. To me, it’s as if I am looking at the perfection of a photographer.

Now the paintings were outside my capabilities to purchase….perhaps not yours…but I made note of the name and title of the one spectacular work, which I most enjoyed (Stephen Stavast & Rivers Rest). I knew I would want to do some additional research.

So, Mr. Stavast also has works available (prints and screensavers) that might be more affordable. Check out his site and learn more about his works and philosophy on creating such beautiful images. (more information)

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April 2012

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