Monday, December 2, 2013

11/30 Salton Sea Campground

The Salton Sea is a very strange place.  It is 225 feet below sea level and is extremely hot in the summer.  The sea is also more salty than the ocean and slowly drying up.  While there have been many lakes or seas in this location, the current one was created in 1905 when the Colorado River broke through a dike and filled the depression before the engineers could stop the water from flowing in.  It is very beautiful with the mountains in the background. 

The campground is on a parking lot, next to the beach.  Not much to do here but look at the sea and the mountains.  I had full hookups, and camping on a parking lot at least kept the sand away from you, so no tracking inside.

For a while the Salton Sea was a very popular vacation destination with hotels and subdivisions built in the area, but as the water has become more saline and the lake smaller, the number of fish has been reduced through die-offs, and the water not a very good place to swim in.  It is also not a very good place to even visit in some times of the year because of the smell of the dying and dead fish and the hoards of flies.  Winter, however, is very pleasant but you still would not want to swim here.  In addition, the beach consists not of sand, but of the bodies of dead barnacles.  It is extremely hard to walk on--parts of it are hard and feel crunchy and other parts are soft and tear up shoes and feet.  I had on sandals and the sharp barnacles still got inside my shoes and poked into the soles of my feet. 

The only fish remaining are tilapia, and you can fish for them and even eat them, but the water receives most of its replenishment from agriculture, so there are probably pesticides in the fish.  Another strange thing is that the dead fish are sort of preserved by the salt, so they litter the beach. You can see the bodies of the dead fish in this photo.

In spite of the dead fish and the salty water, this sea is on a major flyway, so it attracts millions of birds every year.  You can see some gulls here and some ducks and other birds floating on the calm water.  I only walked on the beach once, and then had trouble getting off of it without the barnacles getting into my shoes and cutting into my feet! 

In spite of all its problems, the Salton Sea is a beautiful and peaceful place.  However, while it was in the low 70s while I was here, it can get to 120 in the summer, so I would be careful about what time of year I would choose to visit. 

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