Discovering the Salton Sea

May 30, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Returning from California my dad asked if we would like to take an alternate route back to Arizona. Considering how often we have all done this drive, we decided to take a chance to see something new and go a different way. And of course my dad had a suggestion for what else we might want to stop and take a look at! He is great for knowing obscure places and things to see around Arizona. This was how I found out about the Tonto Natural Bridge, but those pictures are for another day!

This time we decided to stop by the Salton Sea. This is a large salt-water lake that was made by an engineering mistake (more information can be found here: http://saltonseamuseum.org/salton_sea_history.html). I would love to go back when I have more time to see if I can get some better pictures. We were there in the middle of the day with almost no clouds which is not very conducive environment for good photography. However you may notice my updated profile picture is from here. So you can always get lucky with a good shot! This is the largest lake in California, and you feel it when you are there. The water just seems to go to the horizon whether looking up or down the coastline. I can see why they named it the Salton 'Sea'. 

Salton SeaSalton Sea

This is what you see while walking to the shore.  When you get out of the car the first thing you notice is the heat. It was 100 degrees here (Phoenix was only listed at 99 degrees at the time we visited). The second thing you notice is the smell. Salt water and dead fish. What's interesting is that in a very short amount of time you stop noticing the smell, however you never forget about the heat!

Beach of Dead FishBeach of Dead Fish

As we got closer to the shore you notice what looks like small flat rocks along the water. Except as you get closer you see that they are actually dead fish. Tilapia to be specific. They are the only fish that can live in the salt water, and they estimate about 4.5 million live in the lake at this time. I have no idea why so many were dead on the shore, but it was very surreal. 

PelicansPelicans As you are looking around you begin to notice the large number of birds. Pelicans, seagulls, cranes, and I am sure many more I can't name on sight. This is a huge stop in the migratory path of many species and at certain times houses large (I think they said 40,000+) flocks of birds. Definitely something worth seeing and I am hoping to make it back sometime to catch that in action!

Salt Formations-2Salt Formations-2

Check out these odd salt formations along the coastline. A very unique place to visit, and they do have campgrounds if you decide you want to stay overnight. Might be worth it since this place is also in the middle of nowhere!! I am hoping it also might be a good place to visit for some night photography since the city lights would be pretty far away. If you are ever in the area, I would swing by. It's a very unique place and worth a visit.

White CraneWhite Crane


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