Welcome to La Quinta, Land of the Stench

I love my city. I love the desert. I do not love the Salton Sea.

As reported in newspapers as far away as San Francisco, a stench wafted over Southern California on Monday, which prompted hundreds of calls to officials and even forced one school to cancel recess. The probable source of the foul odor?

SaltonSea 300x169 Welcome to La Quinta, Land of the Stench

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

The Salton Sea. Yup, that saltwater lake that is about 10 miles east of my house as the crow flies. Or as the smell flies. The Salton Sea, which when I was a kid was a fabulous recreation area where we would go to water ski and fish, is now a dying lake, with dying fish, which are presumably the cause of the sulfurous stink.

salton sea museum historical 02 300x189 Welcome to La Quinta, Land of the Stench

The good old days of the Salton Sea
(photo source)

One might ask, if it smells so bad in Los Angeles, and beyond, up to 150 miles away, that people call to complain, and that even recess is cancelled, what must it be like for someone who lives but 10 miles away?

The answer: Overwhelmingly, disgustingly, depressingly, horribly awful. It wakes me up in the middle of the night as it come in through the air conditioning system and seems to soak into the walls and the furniture, and even my hair and clothes. It keeps me up because there is no way to not smell it, the stench is in every breath that I take.

Want more? Check out the press coverage (only because it actually made it to LA. As far as I know, before that it was our stinky little secret.):

The San Francisco Chronicle
The Los Angeles Times
The Orange County Register
The Christian Science Monitor
I said California newspapers, but we even made the Washington Examiner.

And don’t miss the television coverage:

CBS News
ABC Affiliate News 10

I’ve been having fun with this because of the press coverage, but it fortunately only happens a few days a year. The smell seems to be worse when the weather is humid and it has been very humid this year. If you’re planning on visiting the desert in any month other than August or September, it will smell wonderful. I promise.

Signature zps65e035a8 Welcome to La Quinta, Land of the Stench

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  1. says

    That is just awful that the fish are dying and the cause of the smell. Just visited CA for the first time for Disneyland Half and loved it out there. Hope someone fixes this ;(

    • says

      We pretty much have to live with it, but fortunately it doesn’t happen too often. The day it blew to LA (and beyond..on the day I originally posted I tweeted to ask you if it made it to SB!). It gets attention for a while, politicians talk about fixing it, but when push comes to shove, it is expensive and low priority. So we just plug our noses and complain. It only happens in the summer and even that is only a few days a year. So, yes, we live with it and hope it is not as poisonous as it smells.
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