The question most often asked by my wife, and others when I mention my dream of walking all the way around the shoreline of the Salton Sea: WHY?
I understand why people would ask, especially if they have ever visited the Salton Sea or even if they only watched Huell Howser on TV visiting. The Salton Sea is hot, humid, smelly, dirty, and lonely. It is surrounded by dilapidated buildings, and is a virtual ghost town. The shoreline is a smelly mixture of mud, quicksand, fishbone and dead barnacles. The once booming 1950’s resort area is now nothing more than a city of ghosts and memories of what was.
My love and fascination with the Salton Sea began in November 1978 when my family hitched up our “pop up” trailer behind the Chevy truck and dragged it down to the Salton Sea State Recreation area. It was cold and rainy, but we had a great time. I was fascinated by the “sunken” ruins of the camp area that had not yet recovered from the previous year’s record rain storms and the stories of an entire sunken city just a few miles north of our campgrounds.
The following spring we hitched up and went back to Salton Sea, but this time we camped out a few miles south at Corvina Beach. For nearly the next 10 years, we traveled back to Salton Sea virtually every weekend from May through September.
Over the years camping at Salton Sea we experienced summertime temperatures of over 120F, caught thousands of Tilapia, Corvina, and “croaker”, enjoyed the red-tides, brine-shrimp overpopulation and of course, the fish die-offs that began to get very noticeable around 1981. As a pre-teen and teenager I explored the shoreline and desert, but never ventured more than a mile from camp.
By around 1989 or 1990 I was a young adult and my parents were heading into retirement. They considered purchasing a home near the North Shore of Salton Sea but after taking a close look at the housing market in the area they decided against it. They sold the home in the San Gabriel Valley, moved to Hesperia, and I moved to the beautiful metropolis of Azusa, CA. Neither my parents or I ever went camping at Salton Sea again.
Fast forward to 2009
In 2009 after not being happy with my elongating belly, I started jogging, walking and hiking in the hills above my Rancho Cucamonga home. I quickly developed a liking of long walks (10 to 15 miles) during the high-heat of the desert summer months.
While on those long walks I began to think of ways to challenge myself. I considered a marathon walk across Death Valley in summertime and other desert locations, and then my mind wandered back to my weekends and vacations at Salton Sea. I decided that my dream-adventure would be a 6 day walk around the shore of the Salton Sea, in summer time!
The dream was born
It is now 2014. I am self employed and in good enough shape that a 5 or 6 day, 120 mile walk in the middle of nowhere is within my reach. So it begins.
People need to be aware of Salton Sea
Since I started this project I have realized that I was ignorant of all that is happening at Salton Sea economically, politically, and socially. I have realized that if more people do not know about Salton Sea and let Sacramento and Washington DC know that we care, the Salton Sea as we know it might die. This has become part of the focus of my adventure – to raise awareness of the current status and future of Salton Sea.
Follow us in this blog AND BE PART OF THE ADVENTURE as I figure out how to survive a 6 day, 116 mile walk around the shores of the Salton Sea!