salton sea — first impressions

About the last thing you’d expect to see in a hot, bone-dry place like the desert is a large body of water. If you didn’t know it was there, coming upon the Salton Sea would be quite a shock. Even when you know it’s there, and are specifically looking for it, it’s startling to come across.

I spent a day there this past week, and I have mixed feelings about the Salton Sea. Yes, visually it’s harshly beautiful — a large lake in one of the barest, driest places you could imagine. But there’s a sense of uneasiness lurking there too — a sense of a place that’s out of balance. Maybe that comes from knowing a bit about how the lake was formed and some of the problems it’s now facing. Maybe some of it comes from the depressed and desolate feel of the towns I saw. I don’t know. It’s a strikingly beautiful place, but I can also sense a place with a troubled spirit.

Was it worth spending some time there? Oh yes. Is it a place I might explore further? Probably. Is it a place I could feel in tune with and at home at? No, I don’t think it is.

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