There are several other state campgrounds along the north and east shore of the Salton Sea, but they don't have hookups. Mecca Beach Campground has a dump station, though. Corvina Beach and Salt Creek Campgrounds are laid out in a long line along the beach, and you pull in to your site parallel to the road. Mecca Beach is a loop. If I were camping without hookups I'd pick the two along the beach.
Don went fishing after we got set up - the Salton Sea is crammed full of tilapia, corvina, sargo, and croaker - but none of them were biting. Dinner Friday night was simple - grilled cheese and soup - and we then went outside to enjoy the sunset.
|Friday night's sunset. The structures along the water's edge are picnic cabanas.|
|Saturday morning's sunrise.|
Saturday morning we were up before the sun, since we wanted to see the sunrise. Not only did we see that, but we were treated to the sounds of thousands of birds - seagulls, doves, egrets, and many many more that I can't name. (Sometimes I regret not getting into birding, but I've had many other passions in my life and just can't add another one at this stage!) We sat for an hour, enjoying our coffee and the view of the sea.
After a breakfast of waffles and sausage, we decided to take a hike. The camp host had given us a little sheet of things to do in the area, and one of them was a hike into Painted Canyon in the Mecca Hills Wilderness. I had no idea either existed. We drove back up the 111 to Mecca, then took Box Canyon Road east out of Mecca to the turnoff for Painted Canyon Road. That road was only graded this past week - many parts of it had washed out after the winter storms. This area has some twisted and turned rocks and hills due to its location along the southern end of the San Andreas Fault.
|The Mecca Hills|
|Our road was going to end up in the far left of the picture, between the very low light hills and the higher dark hills.|
|Some of the rock layers that are standing on end in this part of the canyon.|
|The view back west, down the canyon. The tallest peak to the right is Santa Rosa Peak. It's at the center of its own wilderness.|
|Looking east up Painted Canyon as we began our hike.|
|The canyon begins to narrow.|
As we hiked up the canyon, we were passed by about 4 Jeeps, trucks, and cars. About 2 miles in, we arrived at the parking area for Painted Canyon. There were already 5-6 vehicles there. From this point, according to a sign at the entrance to this part of the canyon, you're in the Mecca Hills Wilderness.
|A pair of hikers heads into the narrows.|
As we continued towards the narrower part of the canyon, I developed a pretty painful tug in my right groin, and we were forced to turn around since we knew we had a pretty good hike back to the truck. (That groin pull is still pretty tender - I have to lift my thigh with my hand if I want to raise my leg. That's what I get for being out of shape!)
|On the way back, I was drawn to this area of greenery - and discovered a seep (small spring) at the base of the canyon wall.|
We made it back to the campground in time for the two football games - and since I really wasn't interested in the first one, I decided to go in search of the closest geocache I could find. This one was called Bob Uker Seats. It was located at the Mecca Beach Campground, in the rear of the outdoor amphitheater. It was hidden under a bush.
|The general area of the cache.|
|The cache is back in those bushes!|
After locating the cache and submitting my "find" report, I came back to the trailer and watched the football games with Don. Dinner was a treat - steak, dilled new potatoes, and peas.
Sunday morning again found us enjoying the sunrise with our coffee, and Don pointed out how the sun was hitting "our" mountains. We live up in the ones in the picture below - and believe me, we were glad to be leaving that snow behind for the weekend!
|Sunday morning's sun hits the San Bernardino Mountains|
Breakfast was biscuits and gravy - I had to use up the other half of the package of Jimmy Dean. Since the football game was coming on earlier than the day before, I told Don he didn't have to go with me on the morning's exploration. I had heard about the mud pots and mud volcanoes, and had go find them.
First, I went south on the 111 about 26 miles to the Wister Waterfowl Managment Area - turned right and headed towards the Salton Sea. I saw the small "Mud Pots" sign, and followed the road to where it ended.
|View from the parking area. Two large and one small hole.|
|This one, which was quiet while I was there, showed signs of recent activity.|
|This one appeared to have been dormant for a while.|
From there I headed south in search of the Mud Volcanoes. I found them - but you can't get close to them since they're surrounded by a deep canal and then a field of mud.
Here's a very well-done video of the Mud Volcanoes:
|The Mud Volcanoes|
|The colors darken in the eastern sky|
|I was able to capture the moon in this one|
|I can't get enough!|
|Love the red glows in the western sky|