Margaret and I have camped at quite a few different campgrounds on our journey so far. There is one, however that is distinct from all the rest. I am referring to the unparallelled Corvina Beach, in Imperial Valley.
Corvina Beach’s description on the Salton Sea Authority’s website reads: “A more primitive campsite, Corvina Beach campers will enjoy the breathtaking view of Mt. San Jacinto and the snow-covered Santa Rosa Mountains as they camp along the shores of the Salton Sea.”
The people in charge of creating the atmosphere at Corvina Beach must have been members of a sun worshiping cult and truly the sun-god would be pleased with the campground: the largest patch of shade was found beneath our car. In keeping with their desire to offer the utmost to their god, the sun worshipers seemed to have exterminated all plant life from the Corvina Beach campground, although there may have been a one or two dessicated blades of grass hiding behind the restrooms.
In addition to pleasing the sun cult people, the campsite also revealed the touch of some architect who was fascinated by the stone age. The campground was a long stretch of gravel with picnic benches dotted along it every hundred feet or so. The gravel was unremarkable: gray, small, sharp rocks.
Okay, so no trees, no shade, and no campsites as such…there weren’t any people, either. The constant stream of trains heading south on the other side of Highway 111 was about the only social interaction one could expect at Corvina Beach.
The campground was close to the water. Before setting up our tent, Margaret and I decided to talk a little walk down to the water to see if we might camp on the beach.
While some beaches are made of sand and others are rocky, Corvina Beach seemed to have a new take on the traditional white sandy beach: barnacles. The shores of the Salton Sea, at least around Corvina Beach, are piles and dune of very sharp barnacles. Walking across this barnacle death trap in sandals is a surefire way to eviscerate your feet.
Relief from the barnacles was provided by the many fish carcases that littered the shores. Some lakes have the occasional dead fish wash up on the shore, but at Corvina Beach, they seem to have been a bit exuberant about their dead fish decor.
Amidst the dead fish we found what looked like golden pustules of some goopy decaying matter about the size of a golfball. After the first one I picked up exploded in my face, perfuming the air with an indelicate scent, we didn’t pursue further investigations about the golden pustules, so I don’t have much more information to reveal there. The water was a brownish green with multicolored foam wafting about on top.