Salton Sea, California


Lunch break at The Rock Coffee Shop & Cafe

Let’s go back to two years ago, to January 31, 2015. On this day, Nate and I embarked on one of the first of many adventures together.  At the time, we didn’t know that we would eventually start dating, but it was this specific day trip that made us realize that we were pretty darn good adventuring together.

We were approaching finals. Nate was swamped in his classes and I was too focused on my ortho quarter. We needed the break away from the textbooks! I was a member of a photography meetup group and saw the event for a day trip to the Salton Sea. It was the perfect opportunity to escape from the books for a bit.

Here’s a little tidbit about Salton Sea before I talk about the highlights of our trip. The Salton Sea is California’s largest lake (in terms of geographical coverage), and it currently harbors increasingly salty waters. Despite it’s status as the state’s biggest lake, it unfortunately remains forgotten for so many Californians. Much of Salton Sea’s surroundings appear dry and desolate. But take a deeper look at nature and at the pockets of communities, and you’ll see a whole new kind a beauty you won’t see elsewhere.

Salvation Mountain, Imperial County, CA (33.253813, -115.464534)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Salvation Mountain is the creation of Leonard Knight and is located east of the southern portion of Salton Sea.

East Jesus, Slab City (33.263032, -115.466014)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

East Jesus is a community of artists, musicians, thinkers, and vagabonds. You can read all about East Jesus here.


Bombay Beach, CA (33.347643, -115.731788)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A town more abandoned than not, Bombay Beach is currently known among photographers for the “Ruins of Bombay Beach”. This was our last stop for the day, just in time to witness the gorgeous sunset over the waters. I’d like to add in that even though this town looks the way it does, it is still home to several families. Please be considerate of the locals and their property when visiting Bombay Beach.

There is much more to see in this vast pocket of California. There are the Mud Pots, which our group attempted to visit but got turned around by the all the mud! There is the city of Brawley, where we stopped for a refreshing lunch at The Rock Coffee Shop & Cafe (which I’ve recently found out is now closed D:).  To the midwest of the lake is the Torres-Martinez tribe’s Red Earth Casino.`Salton Sea is teeming with life if you seek it out.


DesertX 2017

This past weekend was a particularly special weekend for the both of us. We rejoiced the completion of our 12-week affiliations — Nate’s 2nd of 3 placements and my final one–  but most importantly, we celebrated our 2-year anniversary! What better way to celebrate such important feats than to check out the DesertX art installations!

DesertX is like a scavenger hunt for artworks that spans geographically from Whitewater  just northwest of Palm Springs to further south in Coachella, CA. It features 16 artworks from artists with a passion for global and local issues. Unfortunately, Nate and I only got to see 12 of the 16 pieces, as 2 of them are closed due to theft and another 2 are no longer exhibiting. With somewhat careful timing, we were able to visit the 12 in one day by driving through one giant figure 8 loop throughout the desert cities.

Monument by Will Boone

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hearth by Lita Albuquerque


Circle of Land and Sky by Phillip K Smith

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hollow Earth by Glenn Kaino

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

La Fiesta en el Desierto by Armando Lerma 


Curves and Zigzags by Claudia Comte

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Alive! by Jeffrey Gibson


One I Call by Sherin Guirguis

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mirage by Doug Aitken

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“I Am” by Tavares Strachan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Just a note: these photos of “I Am” do not do it justice. It is a night time experience that immerses you in a light show in the midst of darkness. From the ground all you can see are patterns of lights. From the sky, all the lights read “I Am”.

Here is the map of the 12 DesertX art installations we visited:

Below are some more miscellaneous photos from our weekend getaway 🙂

The End of the Road, Kings Canyon

The end of the road… or so you would think! Road’s End in Kings Canyon is actually the beginning of more adventures! It is a “hub” at the end of Highway 180 from which adventurers can span out and explore the wilderness. There are trails for day hikes and backcountry, swimming holes, and a ranger station here. Zumwalt Meadow is accessible from here as well. There are clear blue waters and a few opportunities for swimming (do so at your own risk! and only on calm waters!).

On the day we arrived at Road’s End during our 2016 summer Sequoia-King’s Canyon camping trip, there was a large extended family who was having a blast leaping off a boulder and into the deep clear waters below. Nothing made me happier than seeing all the children and families laughing and shrieking with delight at the activity. We joined in on the festivities and relished the icy clear waters. Note: please, please heed the warning signs. Drowning is a very real danger here. The watering hole we swam in happened to be a calm portion of the water where the current was not strong.