Hello, dear readers.
I’m so pleased to see that so many of you are enjoying my series Remembering the Desert. This series documents my memories of a trip that I took with photographer Phil Rose back in 2009, in which we ended up driving around the Grand Canyon. Phil and I share a passion for the desert, an often neglected and forgotten corner of the United States. We love to explore the beauty and the heartbreak of the place, we enjoy the adventure and the mystery of it, and it has served as a source of inspiration not just for his photography but also for my writing. The desert provides fertile ground for the human imagination to flourish; it does in our case, and it has throughout the history of the American west.
We are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a working trip to the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is a strange place, a land of extremity, and of contradiction. A little over a hundred years ago, the Salton Sink was flooded with water from the Colorado River and the Salton Sea was born. It stuck around, despite expectations, and enterprising capitalists soon transformed the accidental sea into a tourist destination. The sea was stocked with fish and resort towns were built.
But the Salton Sea doesn’t have the sort of natural systems in place to maintain equilibrium, and the fish started to die off in huge numbers, from nutrient pollution from neighboring farms and increased salinity. Now, the glamor is gone, the resorts stand empty and ruined.
Though both the ecology and the economy here lie in ruins, the Salton Sea still supports a population of fish and as such has become a very important stopover for migratory birds from all over the nation. This is important, since many of the wetlands in California that once supported these migrations are now gone, developed or dried up by water diversion.
It takes a lot of water to make the desert bloom, you see, and moving that water is big business in California. As more and more of the runoff that once fed the sea is being diverted, the sea is projected to start disappearing. This will accelerate after some policy changes take effect in 2018.
Phil and I want this trip to happen very much. The Salton Sea has a story to tell, and we, with our passion for the desert and our willingness to subject ourselves to filthy, tiring and sometimes dangerous travel, are well equipped to tell it.
Unfortunately it appears that the funding for the Kickstarter is not proceeding apace and if it’s not funded, we won’t be able to make the trip.
So I’m going to have to rattle the can a bit. Don’t worry, the other half of the stories are coming after this.
So If you’ve enjoyed these tales from the road, and you’d like to hear more of them; if you’re charmed by our passion for this work; if you’re the sort of person who wants to support independent artists and their dreams… then please, drop a little bread in our jar. We promise to make it worth your while.