The Salton Sea

Driving away from Slab City we headed North so we could get to the San Francisco Bay Area for a house and cat-sitting gig. We don’t like long drives so we tend to find someplace that sounds interesting for an overnight layover if need be. Heading up Highway 111 on our way to the San Bernardino National Forest we saw an entrance for one of the many Salton Sea area rest stops. Our knowledge of what the Salton Sea is and how it came to be is limited to knowing that it is a monument to Human Error on a Truly Massive scale and so Hey, let’s stop and have a look…and in this case also a sniff. As an extra added bonus there was potable water on tap as well as showers so we took the opportunity to fill up our water cans and let Willow take a quick romp in the sea and on the “sand.”

Looks like sand from afar
Looks Like Sand

I put sand in quotes because we didn’t see any. What we first thought was sand is instead the bones and shells of countless Billions of aquatic creatures who once thrived here and then, when conditions deteriorated, died out en masse.

Millions of baracle shells make up the "sand" around the Salton Sea
Not Sand. Quite “crunchy” underfoot.
Willow sitting on a pile of fish bones
Sittin’ Stinky

I was going to let her take a dip but when we saw the water I didn’t even have to stop her from plunging in, she pulled up short and decided against that folly all on her own.

Willow sniffing near, but staying out of the stinky Salton Sea
The “water” Was Unfit For Even Dog Swimming
Many fish carcasses all over the place
If Fish Cannot Live in it is it Actually “Water?”

Since we were aiming to get up into the National Forest we couldn’t stay too long but, even if we were not headed someplace else, we would not have chosen this spot to hang out any longer than necessary. Too stinky, too windy and too exposed for our tastes. After the past month of rationing our water in various desert environments though the icing on this putrid cake was that there was potable water on tap free for the taking (after paying the $5 day use fee at the entrance gate) and showers which we both took advantage of (me, voluntarily. Willow, not so much.) Next time we find our way into this area we’ve made a mental note and added this spot to our list of quick in and out water fill-up and shower spots.

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