Salton Sea, March 2013

Placid Salton Sea shores near the North Shore Yacht Club and Recreation Area

Salton Sea, March 2013 © Gary Allard

It took me long enough. I’ve lived in San Diego for nearly twenty years now and it was just a couple of weeks ago that I made the trip out to the Salton Sea. I know I’m late to the party. Many previous photographers had the chance to document the history and now long-gone structures from the landscape before me. It was still a very worthy trip and I was able to document my version of the region’s sinister beauty.

We arrived at the north shore mid morning under a mix of milky clouds and blue skies. The air was still with a briny aromatic edge. The seashore was silent, the way the desert can be deafeningly quiet. Save for the many varieties of water foul, no one made much of a sound.

Distant kayakers in the Salton Sea near the North Shore Yacht Club

Distant kayakers near the North Shore Yacht Club © Gary Allard

After leaving the North Shore area, we travel the 30 plus miles south to a little town called Niland – home to Slab City and the world renown Salvation Mountain (made recently popular by an appearance in Into the Wild). Yet another place I’d never been and has been photographed to the brink of oblivion. I can’t quite describe how oddly fascinating this place is. The stories, myths, and plain weirdness are legendary. It’s all Dr. Suess and Wizard of Oz built out of wood and adobe and painted with hundreds of gallons of paint (much of it likely lead-based). This is the work of Leonard Knight and his lifelong passion for God and the Holy Bible. I am not a religious person but I couldn’t help but feel inspired by Knight’s commitment here.

Leonard Knight's decorated trucks at Salvation Mountain © Gary Allard

© Gary Allard

And, if you want to volunteer to be the “innkeeper” and help maintain Salvation Mountain over the summer, that position is open – Airstream living quarters included.Airstream home of the Salvation Mountain volunteers, March, 2013


All photos © 2013 Gary Allard

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