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Salton Sea - State Park - 1 member in 7 triplogs has rated this an average 5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Mar 13 2017
rwstorm
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 Guides 1
 Routes 125
 Photos 20,571
 Triplogs 938

73 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Salton Sea - North Shore, CA 
Salton Sea - North Shore, CA
 
Car Camping avatar Mar 13 2017
rwstorm
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This was the first day of a 5 day road trip to California. Left Tucson on Monday with the plan to spend the night camping at Salton Sea State Park. I had hoped to get there in time to get some sunset photos, but that was not to be. A couple of really huge traffic jams on I-10 (one in Arizona & one in California) wiped that out (an accident, Spring Breakers and road construction were to blame). Didn't arrive at the campground until around 8:30, well after dark! :o There usually isn't much action there on weekdays, so at least I was able to get one of the two sites I had in mind from previous visits (#47 at New Camp). :D

I find it very peaceful around this large body of water. The state park Headquarters campground is quite nice. There is a lot of traffic on adjacent Highway 111, but it usually winds down to occasional by late evening. There is a steady parade of trains on the mainline of the Union Pacific, but as a train lover, that is fine by me. :)

One thing I noticed was the marked reduction in the amount of shore birds compared with previous stops. Next day same thing when I stopped at Salton City. Don't know why that is, could just be a cyclical thing.

After camping it was off to Anza Borrego/Borrego Springs Tuesday for Flowergeddon! :D
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Mar 02 2013
rwstorm
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 Guides 1
 Routes 125
 Photos 20,571
 Triplogs 938

73 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Salton Sea - North Shore, CA 
Salton Sea - North Shore, CA
 
Car Camping avatar Mar 02 2013
rwstorm
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This trip was to be a shakedown cruise to get my gear in order for another season of camping. The other main objective was to finish up seeing some things around the Salton Sea that I didn't get to on previous visits. I usually don't start my car camping season until April, but I just needed to get out of the house and go somewhere. Still too cool around Arizona for the most part, so I needed a place warm enough. This worked perfectly. (I am definitely a warm weather camper...do not like the cold and long hours of darkness of winter). A top priority was to stop at the Salton Sea History Museum in Mecca. I drove directly there Saturday to make sure to be there before they closed. Right now they are only open Friday-Sunday & Holidays 10-4. Got there with plenty of time to spare. :) Museum director Jennie Kelly gave me a nice tour, answered my questions, and said they hoped to be able to return to the nearby North Shore Yacht Club (where they belong) someday. After visiting the museum I drove down to Headquarters Campground for the night ($20).
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Feb 01 2013
Randal_Schulhauser
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 Guides 71
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61 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Dana Point Whale Watching Trek - Feb2013, CA 
Dana Point Whale Watching Trek - Feb2013, CA
 
Backpack avatar Feb 01 2013
Randal_Schulhauser
Backpack26.07 Miles 1,000 AEG
Backpack26.07 Miles4 Days         
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1st trip
Dana Point CA Whale Watching Feb2013


Dana Point CA makes the claim of being "the whale watching capital of the west" (check out => http://www.danawharf.com/whalewatch.html ) and plays host to an annual "Festival of Whales" the first two weekends of March => http://festivalofwhales.com/ . For my wife's birthday present, we decided to select a 4-day weekend and cash in a bunch of my Marriott Rewards points to go whale watching...

Friday 2/1 - Arrived at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort (check out => http://www.lagunacliffs.com/photo_gallery/index.asp ) just before 3pm, beating the dreaded L.A. rush hour traffic. After checking into room 3031, Lynn and I had time to explore Dana Point Harbour (check out => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=12299 ), Lantern Bay Park (check out => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=17553 ) and the sun setting into the Pacific Ocean as viewed from Doheny State Beach (check out => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=12386 ). 5.06 miles logged on iPhone Trimble Outdoors Navigator app.


Saturday 2/2 - We booked a mid-day whale watching tour aboard the Dana Pride (check out => http://www.zerve.com/DanaWharf/OceanAdv and http://www.newportwhales.com/Dana_Point ... ching.html ). With the early morning tour unloading at the Dana Harbour Wharf after having registered a big goose egg for whale sightings, Lynn and I boarded the 95 foot vessel with fingers crossed. I remembered my Thursday fortune cookie from P.F.Chang's indicating; "Nature has a gift for you", while staring at a couple of seagulls passing overhead. First destination for the Dana Pride was a large marker buoy laden with about a dozen sea lions. The boat headed north towards Laguna Beach when a radio call indicated there's been a whale sighting near the marker buoy we just left behind. A quick 180 and a full throttle burst back to the marker buoy to capture our first whale sighting - a lazy baleen whale sticking its nose up with some blow-hole action - thought to be a gray whale. With our ship captain getting annoyed at the gathering of boats positioning themselves illegally in the oncoming path of a migrating whale, he moves on towards the mouth of Dana Point Harbour where he thought he saw a "whale footprint". We are soon rewarded with a gray whale putting on a show with multiple breaches (apparently a rare maneuver for a gray whale, but common for humpback whales). I know I captured some images of the breaches - hope something turns out! 3.82 miles logged on iPhone Trimble Outdoors Navigator app.


Sunday 2/3 - Morning plans to check out the Ocean Institute (check out => http://www.ocean-institute.org/ and http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=17552 ) and afternoon plans to check out the San Juan Capistrano Mission (check out => http://www.missionsjc.com/ and http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=17551 ). The trails from the Ocean Institute take you to some interesting tide pools near the Laguna Cliffs and Dana Point Marine Life Refuge. Took in some stellar views from the top of the bluff at the Dana Point Marine Life Refuge walking trails. We also checked out Heritage Park (see => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=12864 ) and nearby Bluff Top Trail (see => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=12298 ) on the walk back to the Laguna Cliffs Resort. 11.64 miles logged on iPhone Trimble Outdoors Navigator app. Sat back at the Laguna Cliffs Resort taking in the sunset, looking out on the water for whales, and downing a couple of Sam Adams while listening to the Super Bowl in the background...

Monday 2/4 - Morning plans for one last tour around Lantern Bay Park (check out => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=17553 ) and Doheny State Beach (check out => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=12386 ). 5.55 miles logged on the iPhone app before checking out of the Laguna Cliffs Resort. Also a San Juan Capistrano Mission (check out => http://www.missionsjc.com/ and http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=17551 ) redux prior to hitting the road mid-day for the trek back to Phoenix via CA78 through the Anza Borrego (see => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=1304 ) and the Salton Sea (see => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=16583 ).

Excellent time by the sea! Surprised by the 4-day weekend mileage at 26.07 miles logged (5.06+3.82+11.64+5.55). Photos (360 images to sort through - yikes!) to be posted when I get the chance...
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Geology
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Apr 17 2012
rwstorm
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 Guides 1
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73 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Salton Sea, CA 
Salton Sea, CA
 
Scenic Drive avatar Apr 17 2012
rwstorm
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After getting thoroughly psyched up by viewing several DVD documentaries of this area, plus some stuff posted on HAZ and You Tube, it was finally time to go check it out. It definitely lived up to my expectations! I drove in by way of El Centro and Brawley, bypassing the sand dunes. Hit the Taco Bell in Brawley for dinner and gassed up in Calipatria, before heading to the Red Hill Marina and to look for the nearby mud volcanoes (which I found after a little searching). I got a late start out of Tucson, so I didn't have a lot of daylight left by the time I drove by Bombay Beach (which I decided I would backtrack to and check out in the morning). There was road construction and delays around Bombay Beach, so my main mission at this point was to find a camp spot at the state park before dark. I checked out Salt Creek and Corvina, but decided I'd spend 10 dollars more at Headquarters. Got there just before dark and set up in a nice spot. There were only two other campers that night. There was a lot of truck traffic on CA111 and trains, but that didn't bother me as much as "traffic" from a radio left on at the nearby highway work camp (with volume up after the workers went home). Truth is none of it bothered me much, as I was just totally engrossed being in a new area!

Woke up as first light was approaching and heard another train passing by. Looked out my tent and saw Amtrak pass by at 5:20 on its way to Los Angeles. That was cool. (Hmmm...I haven't been on Amtrak since 1988; I think it might be time again.) After morning coffee and photos, I headed back to Bombay Beach for a quick drive thru, before heading up to Thermal/Mecca to catch CA86 south. I skipped Desert Shores and Salton Sea Beach, then drove around Salton City awhile, before heading for Borrego Springs on S-22.

This was kind of a quick overview trip. Now that I know my way around better, I'll definitely go back, spend more time, and see some of the things I skipped (such as Slab City and Salvation Mountain). Plus, I would like to mingle with the locals at a local watering hole, and maybe have a beer with "Hunky Daddy."

I guess my biggest surprise was to see how many people are living in Bombay Beach and Salton City. The weather was just right for this trip with no high winds and sand/dust. No massive fish die off with attendant foul air either.

The Salton Sea...somewhat depressing and strangely beautiful; highly wreck-ommended! :)
Fauna
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Great Blue Heron
Named place
Named place
Salton Sea State Recreation Area
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Mar 30 2012
skatchkins
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 Guides 2
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43 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Salton Sea, CA 
Salton Sea, CA
 
Walk / Tour avatar Mar 30 2012
skatchkins
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The Salton Sea experience is probably a love/hate thing. How else do you explain something so large on the map that many have never heard of, yet have probably driven right past? I'd been meaning to go see it for myself and was ready to go New Years day but since I had spent Christmas in a cave (literally), I figured I had better not jump too full force on the introvert scale so close together and put the trip back on the to-do-list. A couple good friends found out about my planned mission and signed on for the adventure to which I was glad to have the company and the 33.33% gas split.

The SS is not far away and it's not hard to get to. It shows up big as day (almost profanely I might add) on the GPS aerial when heading down the 10 into Cali. My lookings into had most of the POI's located around the northeast end. You have the Wildlife Refuge, Red Hill, the Mud Pots, Abandoned buildings, the "Beaches," and even Slab City and Salvation Mountain. I did as usual and planned the trip with 50% surety on where we'd be and let the rest just happen. It worked well.

After passing the dunes, we passed through farmland after farmland. As we got closer to town we kept our eyes peeled for signs of abandonment for the cameras. Town stuff was tough in that just because one house is vacant, it doesn't mean its neighbor is, or that the land is just free for the roaming.
Just outside of last civilization in Niland, we saw a good warm up spot and got our feet moving and eyes poking around. This was the water tower, bunkhouse, and grainery spot. After we'd had our fill, we continued on into Niland to fill our bellies. We passed other plots that looked abandoned. Steve marveled that one had people atop reroofing what looked unsaveable. On the return later, he figured out that they were not fixing it but stealing what was left. A lot of evidence of that could be seen in the places we stopped. Mostly anything metal or otherwise salvageable had been stripped.

We tried our luck at an abandoned commercial building but a truck pulled up behind us and the Hispanic driver, after we didn't understand what he rattled off, just said one English word, "Mine." It was highly doubtable but we left and then returned later in the trip.

Next stop was the Mud Volcanoes and then the Sea itself.

My plan was to beat the sun down and end up on the shore at the end of the old Niland Marina Road. We made it there in time and had no neighbors as far as you could see in any direction besides a large crowd of loud birds. When the sun did go down, they headed on to other areas and it was quiet on our beach of dried fish bones. At our time arrival, what dead fish there were had been sun bleached and dried white and there wasn't much smell as is sometimes greatly reported. We gathered up wood that had washed up and some scrub and lit up the night and cooked our dogs. We retired under the stars in just our light sleeping bags and a comparably light breeze.

In the morning we awoke with the sun and took our time, and a bunch more pictures. When girls don't come with, there are things that tend to be forgotten, like plates and utensils. So we looked even more the rag tag group as we ate our syrupy pancakes, bacon, and eggs on our plates made of maps and gun magazines as we stabbed at our food with our pocket knives. It was a fitting scene.

We headed back to another warm up photo spot and then headed west. Next stop was Bombay Beach and while the town looks more occupied than reports read, the beach is still the same tourist attraction. The old trailers and shacks are still there sunken and being taken over by the minerals. People were there fishing and a couple photogs were doing some model shoots. We spent some time at notable scenes, then cruised the town, got some ice cream and left.

We explored a couple of locked up houses down the road that ended up not holding any interest and then stopped at the rebuilt Yacht Club. It's too bad we missed seeing the old one and the adjacent Motel before they were torn down. The new Club wasn't even open even though a lot of money had been poured into it. We made the loop around the west end of the waters and headed back down the south side to see more desolation at the Salton Sea Beach. This area had the most to offer in the way of deserted and discarded life. There were many skeletons of homes scattered about like the trash that surrounded them. It was still intriguing that there were so many occupied homes just nearby. We found the coveted yellow love seat couch and did our tourist duty by taking pictures of and in it. Our next stop was lunch in Salton City. As we ate, unsuspectingly, the wind picked up.

Back on the road the dust began to fly. We headed east until we found a farm road to take us north and back towards Red Hill where I had tentatively had my mind set on camping for night two. The powerlines along the road began jump-roping in the wind and we began to realize the exposed beach may make a bad location for the night. The 50 mile an hour wind began encouraging the "Sea" to froth and creep further and further east inland onto the salty flats. The photo opp we stopped at to snap the isolated trees trapped in the dry dirt was covered with water not long later. We climbed Red Hill because it was there and it didn't look like anyone ever was there to enforce the no-no signage. We walked out onto the flats to take the other set of trees' pictures as the sun burned out, our bodies leaning into the wind and voices lost. Tripods were rendered completely useless for the set and when the wind did dissipate for a moment, we would almost fall over without its balance.

With it growing dark, we hunted for some cover. We were forced to camp on the non water side at the base of the hill and we parked the car as wall two and our gear as wall two. It was bearable then and we were still able to have a cooking fire, but we didn't stay up too long. It was better in the morning but not good enough to stick around. We drove over to our final destination, Slab City, where it turned out the wind had forgotten about also.
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Mar 18 2011
RedRoxx44
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 outside, anywher
Salton Sea, CA 
Salton Sea, CA
 
Car Camping avatar Mar 18 2011
RedRoxx44
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In the late 80's early 90's I lived in San Diego, Ca. In hiking and Jeeping explored around that area, Anza Borrego included. I never spent time at the Salton Sea except to view at a distance. " It's dirty, smelly, a dead sea, poisoned, no one goes there" I was told. So I looked at it from a distance and never went to it's shores.
Lately, after doing some reading, decided I would go there to see what the area was about, do some photography, and hike in the peripheral areas.

I had never driven Hwy 111 which runs very close to the eastern shore for quite a ways. I decided to go via way of Glamis near the dunes, then head north on a dirt road which paralleled the railroad tracks into Niland, then go north on 111 and hopefully find a place to car camp, on the water, for sunrise and sunset.
I threw my inflatable kayak in, not sure what I would do if the sea was calm; with the storm front coming in a rubber ducky bobbing on salty water on the flats is not a place to be in high winds.
The drive was sort of fun, it was scenic, I pulled off at an area on the map marked "Pre- Columbian" Indian trails. A placard and fenced off area showed a section of trail, I wondered how they could date that. It was part of a route from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley.
The dirt track was great for train spotting. It runs right by the tracks for miles. Well maintained for the most part, then it sort of degrades at a wash, I had to backtrack and sort through some wildcat two tracks over the Coachella canal and get back on the main road to make it into Niland.
Another placard at Flowing Well, marked by Palms and a house or two. A former railroad stop for people coming out to farm or gold seek in the Imperial Valley.
The northern part of the Algodone dunes are very close to the dirt road here, I was able to keep it in 2wd only with generous application of the gas pedal. Trees were planted here to protect the railroad tracks. So a green tunnel on one side and lightly vegetated low dunes on the other.
Finally into Niland, and onto Hwy 111, a major paved road. The sun was getting low and I stopped in at Bombay Beach, whoa, pretty Ghetto here. I sort of liked it. The beach was closed to camping but I walked out to take some pictures, along with several other more serious photographers with their big SLR set ups and tripods.
The wind was up but the birds played, the sun turned the area orange, and the famous stench of decay danced around, but not bad I thought.
Bombay Beach consisted of several blocks of houses of varying vintage, some occupied, some not. Some original architecture. Reminded me of Old Miami beach, older weathered houses, in an older weathered neighborhood.

I was now in a hurry seeking a place to camp. I settled on one of the many state campgounds along this side of the sea, unimproved except for a picnic table and some port o potties, you just drive in, self pay 10.00, and back your vehicle up or set up your tent right on the beach. The bad was not far off the road and not far enough from the railroad tracks. Definitely not a wilderness experience. The nicer camp areas of Mecca Beach and Headquarters Beach are more developed, also more secluded, and cost more 20.00-30.00 per night. Hey, California needs money!
I slept in the vehicle. The moon was huge and pre dawn cast an eerie light on the water. The wind calmed down in the morning. I walked around and tried to capture some sea birds. I was comparing the Lumix Fx-40 superzoom a friend of mine has to the Sony HX-1. Both are not super at full zoom but the HX-1 definitely has the better autofocus and better detail and less grain at full zoom.

I packed up and went to the Mecca Hills to hike the Grotto, Rainbow Rocks loop. I decided to go back to the Sea to camp. I picked a different camp area, less people, and a more interesting beach. I don't think on the east side it would be easy to find a road and camp--- most places are farming or residential, and 14 miles of the shore has been designated the Salton Sea Wilderness, access by the state campgrounds only. I need to explore the west side now.
There had been a recent major fish kill, Tilapia, thousands of dried up bodies were washed up in places, a boon for the birds. No strong smell though, perhaps because not too hot yet. The Salton Sea has a strange beauty, with no boats on it and no swimmers, it sits surrounded by salt flats and desert mountains, in part of the trough of the ancient Lake Cahuilla. The whole area was weird and repellent in a way, and I really liked it. I'll be back.
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Jan 15 2011
Randal_Schulhauser
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61 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Palm Springs Long Weekend Adventure, CA 
Palm Springs Long Weekend Adventure, CA
 
Hiking avatar Jan 15 2011
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking12.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking12.00 Miles   8 Hrs      1.50 mph
1,000 ft AEG
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1st trip
Palm Springs CA - January 2011 MLK Long Weekend Adventure

Lynn, the dogs, and I spent the long weekend in Palm Springs CA mixing in some culture with some mini-hikes and general exploration. Price was right having racked up some major air miles last week returning from the Asia Implant Summit (thank you Priority Club). On the "To Do" List;


1. Palm Springs International Film Festival 2011 => http://www.psfilmfest.org/index.aspx

2. Palm Springs Architectural Society => http://psmodcom.org/ and http://www.pshistoricalsociety.org/ and http://www.google.com/images?rlz=1T4GGL ... 19&bih=623

3. Palms to Pines Highway => http://www.californiadesert.gov/docs/pi ... 2pines.pdf

4. Salton Sea => http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0 ... index.html


Joshua Tree NP was also on the agenda, but alas, can't do everything in one long weekend. Leaves an excuse for a return visit...
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