stillhowlyn's travels 2008 travel blog

Salton Sea Nat'l Rec. Area

Sea birds at a beach front campsite

Welcome to SLAB CITY!

...And SALVATION MOUNTAIN!

Where the ECLECTIC!

The INVENTIVE (note solar panels)!

The PRACTICAL....are joined !

The local FOOD BANK & ENTERTAINMENT CENTER (a good thing)!


The sun has now blessed us with its warmth, the winds are calm and we are happy campers. Lets take a drive! We decide to drive the 30 miles east to highway 86 and circumnavigate the Salton Sea. This takes us through the date capital of Mecca as we start south on the east side of the lake/sea. There is not much of scenic interest, though miles of farmland and railroad tracks until we get to the Salton Sea State Rec. Area. We go in to check out the camping facilities and visit the Visitor's Center for information of the history of the sea's formation:

"The present-day Salton Sea is a body of water that currently occupies the Salton Basin, but it is certainly not the first to do so. Historic evidence and geologic studies have shown that the Colorado River has spilled over into the Salton Basin on numerous occasions over the millennia, creating intermittent lakes. The first lake to arise was Lake Cahuilla in 700 A.D., which formed when the Colorado River silted up its normal egress to the Gulf of California and swung northward through two overflow channels.

In 1901, the California Development Company, seeking to realize the Imperial Valley’s potential for unlimited agricultural productivity, dug irrigation canals from the Colorado River. Heavy silt loads inhibited the flow and new residents of the valley became worried. This prompted the engineers to create a cut in the western bank of the Colorado to allow more water to reach the valley. Unfortunately, heavy flood waters broke through the engineered canal and nearly all the river’s flow rushed into the valley. By the time the breach was closed, the present-day Salton Sea was formed."

Now equipped with so much knowledge we continue south to check out the town of Niland which has now become famous for the settlement at Slab City, an abandoned WW II military base, and the recent movie and book, "Into The Wild". Well, we found it colorful and disturbing, eclectic and inventive yet sadly downtrodden and uncared for! A lot of trash and broken, discarded machinery and vehicles contributed by a few spoils what, for others, is a winter haven. We met one man who said he comes over every winter from England to be here!

We get back late after over 200 miles of driving and really appreciate our little community our here near Borrego Springs which, incidentally is growing daily. It is so clean and well cared for and loved - really appreciated - by those of us who come here. And we are learning somewhat slowly to be better at conserving and recycling and not taking so much for granted. Like letting water flow unnecessarily down the drain while heating up for showers or dishes, but collecting it in gallon plastic water containers for later use. We never paid much attention before to separating glass, plastic and aluminum but now, thanks to the diligence of our friends, we are getting the bigger picture!

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