Sunday, June 27, 2010

Salton Sea; Ironwood Nature Trail (#17)

June 17, 2010 -
We happened to be on our way home to San Diego from Palm Springs, CA when we decided to take a detour around the
Salton Sea.

Even though
it was hours out of our way, in 100 degree weather, it mostly made sense because we had never been there before.

The Ironwood Nature Trail is, in fact, a 2 mile round trip hike to Mecca Beach and back from the Salton Sea State Recreation Center on the north shore of this truly immense body of water.

The truth is that I hiked all of 100 yards, at most, and that was for a very good reason: It was simply too damn hot to walk! Something about summertime in the desert I guess.

We drove Highway 111 South down the east side of the "sea" and happened ourselves into this state park which, as state parks tend to do, charged $10 (honor system) to enter.

Birds! Some 350 species of them have been counted here according to those who seem to know. In fact we were gracefully greeted by this statuesque "bird-on-a-post" when we first arrived at the beach.

And then we spied some more birds... and a few more birds. Some of them, apparently endangered and nesting, prevented us from walking down to the water in this particular spot.

Walking south past the visitor center this beautiful small lagoon, with more birds, came into view.

Walked another steamy 80 yards and actually made it to a shoreline which, frankly, was not all that appealing.

From there I did at least get a good view of the mountains beyond the west side of sea.

And looking south, the view was endless. Literally. Bigger than Lake Tahoe I tell you.

You might already know that the Salton Sea is below sea level and that it was formed on an ancient sea bed.
It also lies directly on the San Andreas Fault.

BUT! (and that's a big but) Did you know that it was really formed over the period of two years beginning in 1905 when rain and snow melt caused the Colorado River to swell overrunning an Imperial Vally Dike. The result was that water from two newly created rivers (Alamo River and New River) flowed freely there for two years. That's a lot of water!

Nominations for the "biggest highlight of this non-hike award" would definitely include this state of the desert art recreation center!

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