Salton Sea: When Beauty is Only Surface Deep

This past weekend, after our adventure trip to Salvation Mountain, we were drawn to the beauty and mystique of the Salton Sea. Architectural Digest named it one of the most beautiful places in California.

Salton Sea

Originally, I wrote off Salton Sea because I’d read many online articles discussing the dead fish and the smell. But, as it appeared in the distance, it looked like the perfect desert oasis. The sun reflected off the smooth surface. It was almost saying, “Come enjoy and find peace in my calm tranquility.”

And so, we made our way through this post-apocalyptic town called Bombay Beach. As we drove past abandoned homes, we encountered an incredibly sad sight…a small dog, dead in the middle of the road. As we swerved past his tiny body, I saw him breathing. Within moments of passing, he was barking up a storm, clearly not used to traffic or travelers.

As we walked over the embankment, we saw a magnificent body of water in front of us. I couldn’t understand the desolation. The Salton Sea was 350 square miles of glass, it was so smooth. We had difficulty deciphering between where the lake and the sky began. Who wouldn’t want to be here?

Salton sea smooth

About 10 ft away from the edge of the water, the reason why this was a ghost beach became abundantly clear. A ghastly smell hit…one I’ll never forget. Littered across the muddy ground were innumerable tilapia skeletons. And that glasslike water? Almost charcoal black up close.

The Salton Sea was like Homer’s Sirens from the Odyssey. Lured in by enchantment and beauty, sailors soon discovered a hideous sight, surrounded by rotting corpses.

It’s an analogy and a life teaching we can’t get enough of…beauty is only surface deep.

“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone,” said poet Dorothy Parker…in this case, Tilapia bone.

And yet we still got great photos…

Salton sea pillars Salton sea shore Salton sea tire Salton sea beauty

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