Salton Sea – Day Two

After an interrupted night parallel to the movie My Cousin Vinny, I awoke at eight a.m., unusual for a working grandma used to rising at five. I discovered the downfall of this campground—the Union Pacific runs track a few feet away from the campsite. Unfortunately, the regularity of the train’s schedule and consistent horn-blowing on the hour guaranteed a disturbing night’s sleep.


After a few cups of coffee, the grandson and I headed out for an early morning hike towards the north shore of the lake in search of some ruins and a tree full of cormorants, leaving the husband to sleep in.  Walking through the sand-like barnacles and bone remnants reminded me of post-holing through snow—with each step your foot burrows into the ground.  Although tiring, we rested often, stopping to photograph the remaining wildlife unafraid of the two approaching humans and their crunching noises.


Over 400 species of birds have been documented at Salton Sea.  With few aquatic habitats in the California desert, the Salton Sea is an appealing rest stop for migrating birds, including typical sea and shorebirds.  As we walked along the water’s edge, the grandson and I spotted White Pelicans, Sandpipers, Blue Heron’s, and Great Egrets enjoying the early morning solitude.


As we continued hiking, the grandson and I found the remains of the old yacht club along the north shore.  Wooden columns from a long ago pier, stuck out of the water and provided seating for the local Cormorants. Back in it’s hey day, the North Shore was a popular recreation and resort destination.  The grandson climbed over what looked to be a fifties-style bathroom with pink and sea green tile still intact.


The remainder of the day passed quickly and before we knew it we were gifted with another beautiful sunset.  It was our last night at Salton Sea, so after a dinner of brats and Bush’s baked beans, we lit a fire in the metal grille substituting for a fire pit and roasted marshmallows.


This is a beautiful state park with a lot of amenities for both RVers and tent campers. I would return in a flash, if only the trains would take a break at night from blowing their horns. Unfortunately, listening to the trains pass all night blasting their horns and rattling the rails really is a deal breaker for me. I recommend a day trip or earplugs if you stay overnight.


Salton Sea State Recreation Area – Day One

The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline, lake located in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys in Southern California’s Colorado Desert. Originally a dry lake bed, Salton Sea was created accidentally by man and formed during a flood in 1905. The lake’s salinity is greater than the waters of the Pacific Ocean. One of the lowest spots on earth, the Salton Sea is -227 ft. under sea level.


Located on the north shore of the Salton Sea, the Salton Sea State Recreation Area is about a three-hour drive from the Los Angeles or San Diego areas and has four campgrounds with varied amenities. With full hookups, a pull through site, and a five-star view, we chose Headquarters Camp next to Varner Harbor and the visitor center for our first attempt at RV-ing.


Set in an asphalt parking lot environment, we were allotted one tree, a picnic bench, electric, water, and a dump hole.  We also got an unobstructed, panoramic view of the Chocolate Mountains, an overabundance of migrating birds, and the Salton Sea shoreline. The spectacular view more than made up for the parking lot style campsite.


After setting up our home on wheels for the next few nights, the grandson and I were off to explore the shoreline of Salton Sea. True to the reviews, the banks of the lake were littered with decaying carcasses of well-preserved Tilapia and barnacled sand. After awhile the stench of fish and bacterial run off made its presence and we returned to camp.


As the sky began to adjust from day to nightfall, I grabbed my camera and enjoyed my first fiery sunset capturing the yellows, pinks, and reds only the California desert can offer. It’s time to make dinner and prepare for some star-gazing.


With the camp store closed early and no firewood to burn, we opted for a few hands of Rummy, 21, and Crazy 8s in the RV.  The grandson questioned why we didn’t have a TV in our RV, like most did in the campground and this old school, regular old grandma said, “Because camping isn’t about watching TV.  It’s about watching the stars and the sun setting and playing cards and spending time with each other.”

Stay tuned for day two of our adventure.

And We’re Off!

It’s been a little quiet here since New Years.  I’ve been working, predictably walking at the Nature Center, and not traveling.  President’s Day weekend will change that as we’re off to Salton Sea State Park in the California desert for the first time.  Long time tent camper’s, the hub and I recently purchased a small RV to accommodate his lack of enthusiasm for sleeping on the ground.  Our maiden voyage starts today and my number one grandson will accompany us.  I’m going offline for some well deserved R & R, stargazing, hiking, and marshmallow roasting.  Stay tuned for a post of our adventures when we return.  Happy trails!