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Had a few days to spend with my wife’s sister and her husband. Had a great time with them. On the way out today, was able to spend a couple of hours with one of my first cousins and his family. His daughter and I found each other thru Ancestry DNA! Was great visiting with them as well. That’s the great thing about being The Driveby Tourist. Go off your planned route because you want to visit with people and not worry about the schedule. (I know you have to be retired or have a very flexible job to be able to do it.)
Saw the Salton Sea and arrived at Joshua Tree.
As you can see, the Salton Sea is below sea level.
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The Salton Sea is really a lake with no outlet. Water only leaves by evaporation. The lake is fed from farm irrigation run off and by snow melt in the mountains. The lake covers 575 square miles and is an average of 30 feet deep. Currently the salinity level is about 4.5% which is 25% more than the oceans. (By comparison Great Salt Lake in Utah varies from 5% up to 25%. I haven’t found why there is so much variance, but that’s a topic for another day.) The lake salinity level is increasing and lake watchers say it is drying up again. Over recorded history there have been periods where it was just a dry lake bed.
The above pictures were taken at a recreation area. There is plenty of beach and it’s salty due to the continued evaporation and salt water washing onto the beach. Although California maintains the recreation area, there isn’t too much worth doing. It is not advisable to swim in the lake due to high salt and pollution levels. There are none or very few fish left in the lake and birds who hang around the lake often die as well. The beaches are white but that is due more to the bleached bones of dead fish than to white sand. In the ’70’s and ’80’s many flocked to the lake as a recreation area and property was in demand. Much of the property is now being reclaimed by nature. There still are a few people living there in two small towns around the lake. The lake is in the Imperial Valley of CA which is a huge farming area with irrigation needs that keep the lake levels up from the run off.
Short day. Visiting and driving. Tomorrow, Joshua Tree National Park.