Sunday, February 27, 2011

THE Trip, Oddities Near Niland California, Salton Sea Area

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

If you have not figured it out yet by the many posts I have made about THE Trip, I rather enjoy finding the oddities.  I enjoy learning about them, and, of course, sharing them.  And, in that vein, I bring you "washes" and "mud pots" of Imperial County, California.

Washes are not at all uncommon in the desert west.  We have seen them in New Mexico, Arizona and California.  They are obvious, many are marked by bridges or dips in the road.  In larger towns you may even see washes that are totally paved in concrete.  You are warned, if there is water covering the road to not cross, you have no idea how much water is down in that dip.  What made the drive along 111 on the western shore of the Salton Sea so remarkable was the number of washes and their "shapes", they were frequently deep and "wiggled" all over the landscape.  They were distinctly "cut" out of the otherwise fairly flat barren land.

Along 111, the west side of the Salton Sea, rain runs down and under
the road, cutting these huge "divits" or washes.
There are so many washes they name and number them.
Same wash as above, just a different angle.
You can see, this one appears to be quite deep, well over 5 feet.
And, this one looks even deeper, maybe 8 to 10 feet deep,
and what is that in the middle of the photo?

Concrete bags?? Sand bags??  Not quite sure,
and have no idea of why.
A few miles north of Niland are mud pots, accessed via the Wister Unit of Imperial Wildlife Area.  Thanks to Google and Wikipedia we find in a few minutes of net surfing,  "This is a  field of small (less than 3 metres or 9.8 ft) mud volcanoes in the Salton Sea geothermal area near the town of Niland, California. Emissions are mostly CO2."   Remember this area is earthquake country, the San Andreas Fault is nearby.   The mud pots are formed in geothermal areas where there is water pushing the ash or mud up to the surface forming mini volcanoes. I have found a number of reports on the Internet where visitors saw these mud pots bubbling and gurgling, calling them surreal, with quirky charm.  No such luck the day we visited.  No matter, we enjoyed the "unusual to us" sight.

There were also some mud volcanoes in the area, but we did not visit, our day had been long, so we headed back to Tana.  In a future post I'll take you to Slab City and Salvation Mountain, where we spent the majority of our day.  Salvation Mountain lies pretty much in Slab City, both are unusual, to say the least.  They left me emotionally exhausted and with LOTS of photos (ya, I know, what's new?).


1 comment:

Greta Koehl said...

I was going to say that maybe the sandbags were there to create a little footbridge, but there seems to be some open space underneath, or is that just the play of light?