We had a wonderful time in the Mojave Desert.  It is always a lot of fun to camp with fellow like minded OHV friends.  We had several families and friends with about seventeen or so of us.  Now shifting gears and transitioning to an area called the Salton Sea, CA, which is another one of my favorite (almost wilderness) areas to visit.  The Salton Sea is one of those unique earthen features that is way below Sea Level.  Not as low as Death Valley but still really really low.  It is located in the Southern most part of California way South and East of Los Angeles.

An angry looking sky over the mountains West of the Salton Sea, taken from the East shore of the State Park.  Perhaps the sky is just steam from the sun sinking into the ocean?  Angry sky?  Who thought that one up?  Lets go with whispy, instead.

The North End of the Salton Sea as photographed from a hike I was taking to the East of my campsite.  Not much elevation change to hike in this area but still a great view.  For perspective, that thin white strip is the camp ground/beach and those rectangular objects are RVs and cars.  (Not mine, my campsite is further North)

Looking South.  Now you know, now you know why it is called a sea.  Eventually, in another multiple thousand years, this will be a Salt Lake, then a Salt Puddle, then a Salt Marsh, as there is no fresh water flowing in to offset the evaporation loss.  Even if the Colorado River burst it's banks again as it did to fill this basin originally, it would reduce the salinity a fractional amount temporarily, but the Salton Sea would return to an even higher level of salinity after several passing years.  BTW, Lake Tahoe would be a salt lake if there were no Truckee River.  That's what happens to any body of water when the water has no outlet, evaporating eventually, leaving all the soluble chemicals and minerals (mostly salts) behind.

The outer layer on this rock is as hard as the rock itself, an apparent 1/4" to 3/8" deposit left behind on the rock.  Some patterns looked like they had been influenced by worms.

Then, I camped one night in the Anza Borego Desert State Park.  Another magical place bordering Mexico but still in California.  I can imagine that this is also a place that Mexican people use to cross the border illegally.  I found some evidence of this on one of my hikes, I found an unopened can of what looked like Tuna, with a Mexico label on it.  I kept it, thinking it would be fun to open and see what is actually in it.  I'm not sure I will open it though because this can has been sitting in the desert for maybe one day or 10 years.  So judging from it's weathered appearance, It hasn't been one day for sure and whatever is inside this can has been exposed to triple digit daytime temps for however long it has been lost.  Still, someday I will don my haz mat suit and then pop it's top. 

Nuttall's Woodpecker (Picoides nuttalli)  I photographed this bird with my normal lens and was worried that with camera shake and being so far away, that I wouldn't be able to identify him.  As you can see, surprisingly sharp and very identifiable.  I took about ten photos of him as it flitted to a bush further away, every time I tried to get closer.  Finally tiring of being stalked, it flitted away for good.  Located on the South end of the Anza Borrego Desert California State Park.  Another 100 miles South and you would be in Mexico.  (Camera: Canon EOS 5D MKII,   Lens: 24:105mm, 1:4, L, IS USM  Settings: Av, f/10 1/640sec, iso-800, 105mm )

Just so you know, what magic this camera produces, this is the original photo I cropped the bird from.  The original photo is 5,616 x 3744 or 21 Mega Pixels.  The file size before cropping was 7.57MB after cropping,  619KB.  BTW, this bush is one of my favorite desert plants.  In this instance, being revived by a recent rain as evidenced by the very few blooms at the end of a few stalks.  It can and will also appear greener as it revives itself from a long drought.  My son had a Mexican friend who would cross into Mexico to retrieve the children of parents who had crossed illegally, pretending the kids were his.

Can you imagine braving this harsh environment to cross into the United States?  An incredible and desperate thing to do.


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