You know those days when you hate everything?
When you want to slap a random stranger’s face off or you feel like telling a small child that we’re all dying.
The days when you want to run away from it all?
Maybe pretend your a strung-out alt-folk musician and move to a cabin in the Tennessean backwoods or live with the grizzly bears in wherever the hell that crazy guy lived with them?
Or maybe, just maybe, in a toxic wasteland hidden in the deserts of Southern California where the beaches are made of fish bones and the air smells of decaying wildlife? Where houses and public spaces have been abandoned and the only sign of life is the occasional farm truck that kicks up dust in the empty streets?
Yeah, sometimes I want to run away to there.
However, I quickly learned after visiting this place, The Salton Sea, that 110 degree California desert + dead fish= millions of flies and a smell unlike anything you’ve ever smelled in your life. Plus living amongst self-governed meth manufacturers without running water is kind of a huge turn-off.
I don’t know. I gotta think about it this a little bit more.
For those of you who don’t know what The Salton Sea is, in short, it is the largest lake in California located about 45 miles south-east of Palm Springs. The lake was created by run-off from the Colorado River at the turn-of-the-century. The area became a hot spot for vacationers, but as years went on, either high salinity levels or botulism caused most of the fish and bird population to die. With flooding, bad smells, and general concerns for healthy and safety becoming an issue, the human population began to uproot and left behind a graveyard of homes, motels, and restaurants.
The roller coaster story of The Salton Sea is too much to get into here. I’ve read a lot about it, but different resources say different things. The truth of the matter is, it is a beautiful lake, surround by gorgeous green mountains, but considered one of the worst ecological disasters in America. You can read more about it at California’s Salton Sea Authority page
. William Vollmann’s article
from Outside Magazine is also helpful. Another excellent resource is the wonderful documentary, “Plagues and Pleasures On The Salton Sea”
. The trailer alone will make you want to see this place.
Below are pics I took on my trip there last summer. We stopped at the Salton Sea Recreational Area located on the north-east side of the lake. The lake varies in size at 15 X 35 miles wide, so there are numerous other dissipating towns located around the lake. I wasn’t able to stay long, for my mother was flipping her shit when we got there. She was a good sport until she got out of the car and was attacked by a swarm of flies. Then she nearly buckled over from the waff of dead fish. She stormed back into the car and told me I was crazy for ever wanting to visit a place like this and that our scenario would quickly turn into the premise of THE HILLS HAVE EYES.
Me on the other hand? I was spellbound.
It was 104 degrees. The air and smell was nearly unbearable.
An abandoned motel
An abandoned club
An abandoned trailer community
Same abandoned motel
Look at all the kids playing!