Friday, May 22, 2009

Under The Sea


My youngest son, Nikolas, is doing a school report on the Salton Sea and needed some pictures of the water line of the ancient Lake Cahuilla. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the ancient Lake Cahuilla filled the lower section of the Coachella Valley about 500 years ago. The Colorado River flowed into the area and created a colossal lake over twenty times larger than the Salton Sea. The River then changed course and the lake dried up. However, the shoreline still exists and can be seen south of La Quinta near the Lake Cahuilla County Park. I figured it would be a good area to take a hike.

I climbed this peak last month and came here with the boys earlier in the year but this time I am going to hike around it rather than up.

There are several Smoke Trees in the wash area littered with blossoms. The trees are also swarming with bees. Smoke Trees either have the sweetest nectar out there or they are the only thing blooming right now because every one I see is covered with bees and I cannot get close enough for a better picture of the flowers.

The BLM sign may say trail but it's more of a road than anything else. So I head for a little off "trail" exploration.

There's not a lot to see except shotgun shells and broken bottles. Looks like someone camped here although not recently.

Someone used this area as a campsite much more recently. This is obviously a popular camping area since I see four fire rings on my hike around the mountain.

This mountain is a lot longer around than I figured. I wanted to hike around the entire thing but if I do that I will be late for work. I'm gonna look over here for a possible shortcut.

It looks possible but I need to go down a little further and see.

Oh yeah, this'll go. It's a bit steeper than what I climbed yesterday but at least it's solid.

This is what it looks like from the bottom looking back up. I will have to come back and finish my hike and to climb this just for fun.

I get a little further on I get my first glimpse of the "bathtub ring" of what was the ancient Lake Cahuilla.

The tufa on the rocks in the foreground are from built up minerals that were in the water of the lake. These rocks were once completely submerged beneath the lake.

Here is a closer look of the waterline along the mountain.

This was a fun little hike and it ended up being much longer than I expected. I actually had to run the last little bit to make it back in time to get to work. I'd like to come back and visit again when I have a bit more time to explore the interesting geology and history of this area that was once under the sea.

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