Ryan Notch Photography

Title: "Salton at Sunrise"

Caption: If you can ignore the stink, fish carcasses, scorching heat and abandoned housing developments... the Salton Sea has a tranquil beauty to it.

Keywords: California, Desert, Exterior, Lake, Landscape, Location, Salton Sea, Sunrise, water

The Salton Sea, California's largest lake, at dusk. The Salton Sea is the result of a nearby levee rupturing in 1905 and filling up the basin, which lies below sea level. Although positioned in the middle of the desert, the Salton Sea retains its water level due to a salt content three-times that of the ocean. Reminders of its unlikely location are everywhere. If you can ignore the stink, fish carcasses, scorching heat and abandoned housing developments... the Salton Sea has a tranquil beauty to it. Along the shore of the Salton Sea lie mounds of fish carcasses. Tilapia were introduced to the lake in 1950. Every summer the high temperatures react with the salt content of the water and kill off most of the fish. The dead fish create a massive amount of algae, which the remaining fish love. They repopulate to greater numbers each and every year only to perish once summer arrives. This is the Salton Sea's freaky man-made circle of life. In the 1950's real estate developers attempted to turn the Salton Sea into a "Palm Springs by the water". After the roads were all paved, the yacht club built and the infrastructure established the lake began having their pesky fish carcass problem. Lots were never sold, leaving behind a ghost town of sorts. Sunset over the Salton Sea. Joshua Tree National Park, Calif. Ocotillo cactus in Joshua Tree National Park. You have to watch where you step in the desert. Collectively I have spent hours pulling cactus spikes from my shoes and/or legs. Joshua Tree National Park, Calif. Cholla cactus patch in Joshua Tree. Joshua Tree National Park, Calif. An abandoned homestead from the early 1900's, Joshua Tree National Park, Calif. Cholla cactus, Joshua Tree National Park, Calif. An abandoned homestead of the Ryan family from the early 1900's, Joshua Tree National Park, Calif. Joshua Tree National Park at sunset. Dead palm trees sit in formation in the Mojave Desert. Joshua Tree National Park at sunset. Death Valley National Park, Calif. The Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level is the lowest point in North America. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes at sunrise, Death Valley National Park, Calif. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, Calif. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, A salt deposit sits in the valley of the dunes. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, Calif.Calif. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, Calif. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, Calif. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, Calif. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, Calif. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, Calif. The Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, Calif. Some desert brush sits undeterred by the dry lake bed and 120 degree temperatures that surround it. The famous moving boulders at The Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, Calif. The Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, Calif. A boulder trail is carved into the dry lakebed, stretching for a quarter mile. The Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, Calif. The movement of the boulders still remains a mystery, however one of the leading theories is that during the rain storms that only happen once every few years the rocks are propelled a few inches by the heavy winds that gust across the playa. Over the course of decades and in some cases centuries, they leave behind long trails of impacted earth.