Day 1: Salton Sea

Salton Sea to San Felipe Creek (8 miles, +400/-100 feet).

Today I finally got to start my sea-to-sea hike! And even better, my buddy Quercus decided to join me for the first part of the trip.

My lovely wife and son drove us out to within a mile of our starting point and then headed back to San Diego (thank you!).

It’s a long way to the beach!

Then we made our way towards the shore, which is now about half a mile beyond the shore shown on the USGS map. The Salton Sea has been rapidly shrinking, and it’s pretty amazing to see this man-made disaster story up close. A creepy sign warning about live ordnance only made it all the more surreal.

Suitably creepy

Past there the ground started getting squishier. And squishier. I really wanted to touch the sea to start my hike, but I gave up 30 yards shy when my trekking poles sank up to their handles. I was disappointed, but sometimes things just don’t go according to plan…

Getting squishy
Quercus let’s me wade further into the mud
Time to turn back!

From there I had intended to follow San Felipe Creek, but it was far too marshy. We walked ranch roads instead until we got further away from the mud and into dry open desert. And we were glad to get away — it sounded like open warfare at one of the ranches with all the holiday fireworks going off.

Pickle weed
Salty step
Dead fish (one of MANY!)
Marshy San Felipe Creek

We hopped a couple of fences to cross the highway, but the nearby border patrol just ignored us. Other than that there were no obstacles all the way back to upper San Felipe Creek. We walked until it got dark and camped in some dunes. Lovely!

Shadow ussie
Upper San Felipe Creek
Open desert
Almost quittin time!

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