Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Art, Slab City and Salton Sea

Thursday we decided to take a drive to the small town of Niland, on the east side of the Salton Sea. It is known as the home of Slab City and the infamous Salvation Mountain. Slab City was part of the book and movie "Into the Wild" that was out a few years ago. Slab City was formerly a military training facility that was closed and completely dismantled by 1961. The only thing left were the cement foundations of former buildings. Soon after, rv campers started coming to take advantage of the free area to camp, especially during the winter's mild climate. Some of the residents try to make it a nice "town" with social clubs and an area for books for sale or trade among other things. Unfortunately some don't and there are areas with lots of trash. It is an interesting area to check out.

   Right near the entrance is Salvation Mountain.      It is a colorful art installation created by a man named Leonard Knight as a tribute to God and to Universal Love. The hugh structure is made of adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of paint.   He does not accept money donations but has always accepted paint. He also has painted  cars and machinery, that are on site, with biblical quotes Until recently he lived on site in a small cabin on the back of a large Chevy truck.                         
 His project is an unauthorized one on state land, however, Salvation Mountain was placed under protection in 2002 when Senator Boxer entered it into the Congressional Record as a national treasure

On the way back, we stopped at the Salton Sea Recreational Area visitor center. The Salton Sea is one of the largest inland seas and the lowest level at 227 feet below sea level. It was created in 1905  when high spring flooding on the. Colorado River crashed the canal gates leading into the developing Imperial Valley.   It took 18 months to stop the flooding and ended up with 130 miles of shoreline by the time it was finally stopped   Salinity is slightly more than the Pacific Ocean and continues to get saltier every year. Most fish are dying off due to the large salt content and the Talipia is one of the few fish left. It is rather a bizarre place and a land of contrasts as you have many different types of birds and the beauty of the sea yet thousands of dead fish lay on the shoreline causing a rather nasty odor at times. Natural at its most interesting.

      It was a most interesting day in this unique area.                                                                                                          

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