The first time I heard of the Salton Sea was in a coming-of-age indie movie called Little Birds. I'm only going off memory here, and what I saw, but apparently this ghost town of a place was once destined to be THE RESORT in the Southern California Valley. A body of water formed here, so developers came in and started building around it, or rather, in front of it, but then the fish started to die due to the increase of salinity in the water, and this brought about a pungent smell of, you guessed it, dead fish.
My boyfriend went to the Salton Sea during summer 2014 – without me because things were ‘complicated’ – and warned me of the smell and mosquitos, but when I got off the car, there weren't any mosquitos and the smell of dead fish was there, but very mild. I'm lucky. I went to the Salton Sea in mid-February, which is technically winter, but technically not because, c’mon, this is California. And so, without having to worry about the smell or mosquitos, I was able to focus on the true beauty of this place, this place that someone, sometime saw great potential in. They must’ve imagined a great future for this place, not to mention profit. But when things didn't go according to plan, they abandoned the Salton Sea and left it behind, along with all those hopes and dreams. And that's the reason I picked the Salton Sea over Joshua Tree or Salvation Mountain because it's a place that tells a very human story, tragic nonetheless. Still, it's a gorgeous and ghostly place that probably won't be there forever. I give it 20 years, tops.