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Showing posts from October, 2017

Bright Dead Things: The Lost World of The Salton Sea

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I first stumbled upon Salton Sea while en-route to the famous Salvation Mountain, which is relatively nearby. Its weird whitewashed landscape is absolutely covered in the bleached bones of fish & birds, & the salty stench of decay & drainage runoff haunted me for months until I made a second trek out to explore the strange beach of this once thriving resort lake.



Salton Sea is a saline lake in the California desert south of Palm Springs. Surrounded by artificially irrigated farmland, abandoned structures, & a small handful of trailer dwelling locals, Salton Sea was intended to be a destination resort town in the 50's but its popularity waned as the lake increased in salinity & pollution. If you know anything about me by now, you've probably noticed that I am a sucker for the decaying weirdness of once thriving places, & Salton Sea is as weird a wasteland at they come.

The lake itself is what's called an Endorheic Rift Lake, which basically means it&…

Hunkering Down with Rolling Mountain Thunder: Nevada's Thunder Mountain Monument

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As part of my great Lime Oregon Eclipse adventure, I found myself driving the flat stretch of I80 between Lovelock & Winnmuecca in the western Nevada desert. At first I thought sleep deprivation was causing me to see strange shapes just off the highway, but upon closer inspection (& a quick google search at the next gas station) I learned this was no weird vision brought on by exhaustion. What I'd seen towering in the desert sun was actually the Thunder Mountain Monument.


Doubling back to catch a close up glimpse of this radically strange structure was well worth the scary Google maps detour (somehow we were initially  led along a literal desert wash, which my little Scion didn't handle particularly well), & the $2 donation suggested for entry.



The story of Thunder Mountain is almost as strange as the structure itself. Frank Van Zant began construction on his masterpiece in 1969, shortly after relocating to Imlay, Nevada with his wife & children. He claimed to …

Mirror in the Sky: Walker Lake Nevada

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En-route to my adventure in Lime, Oregon this past August, we stopped at the absolutely stunning Walker Lake.



A natural lake located in western Nevada along SR 95, Walker Lake is a gorgeous & placid reflection of the surrounding desert, but it also has a long & fascinating history. The lake is actually all that is left of a gigantic inland sea, which, during the last ice age, covered most of the state of Nevada. (If you know me, you know how much I love an ice age inland sea). The area around the lake has been the longtime home of the Paiute, & the Walker River Reservation is just a bit north along SR 95. The town of Walker Lake, bisected by the highway, has a rough population of 275 (as of the 2010 census). The handful of small sun bleached homes have the feel of being in a dystopian dreamscape.



There are plenty of places to pull off the highway to pause for a bit to bask in the beauty of the lake & take a few pictures. Keep an eye out for large trucks traveling up th…