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 it...like 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 see....it 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 water....so 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 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 something not quite right with the earth & water except for the pelicans bobbing on the sea in the distance. wasn't much sign of life
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 and how man once again botched their well intentioned plans. The other is about origins of the Salton Sea Read both pieces and I think you will learn new things about the Salton Sea. Helen Burns, who led one wild West existence. . Well done video too Salvation Mountain +++…Interesting too.