Hotter than Death Valley?
A Summer Walk Around the Salton Sea

Day 4

I had finished half of my walk, and after the shaky start, things appeared to be going well. And I got another break. A half-mile section of a street along the Sea, Schrimpf Street, is closed seasonally to allow birds to nest. If I could walk that section, I could avoid a five mile detour. 110°F is not when the birds like to nest, and I found the street unbarricaded. This bit of good luck again cut my mileage for the last three days from 20 to around 18.

During the morning, I passed several geothermal plants.

Geothermal Power Plants

The word "geothermal" comes from the Greek words geo (earth) and therme (heat). So, geothermal means earth heat. Our earth's interior, like the sun, provides heat energy from nature. This heat, geothermal energy, yields warmth and power that can be used without polluting the environment.

The Salton Sea area is a gold mine if you're looking to tap the massive amounts of geothermal energy underground. The area near the Salton Sea has the potential to produce up to 2,000 megawatts of geothermal power a year, the equivalent of 10 nuclear power plants. There are already eight plants and plans are in the works to build a 215-megawatt power plant which would be the largest geothermal plant in the country. The plant would use hot water to spin turbines and create electricity. The used geothermal water would then be returned down an injection well into the reservoir to be reheated, to maintain pressure, and to sustain the reservoir.

a geothermal plant discharging steam

Steam everywhere. More humidity anyone?

A sign offering a choice between 'Union Tract', straight ahead, and 'Hazard Tract', to the right

Dinesh didn't know what the sign meant but he went for the Hazard Tract and survived.

But once I passed the last one, I was literally in a no-man's land for the next ten miles. I walked along a beach and then on National Wildlife Refuge dirt roads with no cars, people or activity of any kind. There were even some flowing water and chirping birds along a section of Schrimpf Street. It was a slightly overcast day, with gentle breezes and, in spite of the heat, I really enjoyed the peaceful walk. I ended the day after walking the last three miles on highway 111, a two-lane road with very light traffic.

a bleak beach

Hey guys, don't look for any babes in bikinis on this beach.

a dirt road with water in a ditch along one side

Schrimpf Street: Yes, Virginia, there is flowing water in the desert.

As I sat relaxing in our motel room, I checked my pulse. To my surprise, I noticed a skipping heartbeat. After every seven or eight beats, there was a pause of maybe a second. I had experienced this condition at high altitudes, but I was unaware that it could happen at sea level. Though it happened every evening, to my relief, the pulse always returned to normal by bed time.