Michael D. Pagan : BEST FRIEND

The Salton Sea, CA

By Michael D. Pagan

The day began at 03:30 AM, PST.  We left before daybreak to catch the sunrise.  Carrying on, I drove onward in the dark, as my passenger slept.  I was listening to Neil Young.

The Salton Sea, CA | @michaelpagan

We made in time for the morning light.  In this corner of California is a relic of the past.  A man made wonder created between 1905 and 1907 when the Colorado River broke through diversion canals in the irrigation system of Imperial County.  Now weighing in at 35 miles long by 15 miles wide, The Salton Sea is a marvelous engineering mistake that now makes home for over 400 species of birds; one of the most diverse bird populations in the world.

California’s largest inland lake and a crucial stop along the Pacific Flyway | @michaelpagan

The body of water once had success as a resort area, with Desert Shores, and Bombay Beach attracting the masses during the 1950’s. During this time while Frank Sinatra frequented the area, developers built yacht clubs and resort communities in response to the areas growing popularity.   The most ambitious of these developments was Salton City.

“These Days” at the Salton Sea, CA | @michaelpagan

All of this is now a ruin of the past. Some of the cities are under water, and the rest abandoned or highly unpopulated.  There was graffiti everywhere unlike what is seen on the streets of any major city, but filled with a sense of abandonment that society left behind years prior.
In short, the fish population is decreasing due to increasing levels of salinity and pollution.  This in return is affecting the bird population since the sea serves as a habitat for the migrating bird populace and a permanent home for many species.  There are a few organizations such as the Salton Sea Authority, which are championing environmental intervention for this biologically diverse area.  I hope they succeed.

A long way from anywhere, CA | @michaelpagan

To end my Journey, I carried on deeper into the desert to capture more footage and experience the vast towns on the outskirts of mainstream California.  I go at least 3 times a year to visit this area and recommend the same for all road trip enthusiasts.  My trip to this body of water was nostalgic in a strange way, being that I have only experienced it prior in passing to other destinations.  Living in Los Angeles, I sometimes feel removed from the dark corners of the world.  Visiting places like the Salton Sea allow me to acquire a humble perspective while living in metropolitan glory.  I know of my privilege because of these adventures.

Your best friend,

Michael D. Pagan