Salton Sea: Winter Solstice Kayak Tour

Acquaint yourself with the mysterious body of water, oar in hand.

LOW SUNLIGHT, MUCH BEAUTY: The fans of the Salton Sea are pretty true blue, as the blue as the sky over the storied desert-based plot of water on any given summer's day. They like tales of its early days, of its ties to the Colorado River and how developers pushed it to become a recreational playground (that was not a hope that came to pass, famously). But the lonely expanse of water is a fertile gathering place for birds, and for photographers, and for any adventurer who knows about its ups-and-downs of fortune (and its current stewardship under the California State Parks). You can visit the sea, but you don't have to just stand on an edge for a few minutes, looking outward, before wrapping up your visit: You can head out by kayak.

AND YOU CAN DO SO... on the solstice, if you like, marking the shortest day of the year in a remote and scenic setting, a place where the sun really does rule all, or seems to some days. Salton Sea SRA and the California State Parks have a kayak program designed for entry-level kayakers, and it is one that introduces people to the water beyond the shore (and some of the beautiful bird life, like the pelicans that flock there). There are a few kayak days to come, including one on New Year's Day, and they all fall at noon, but the Winter Solstice outing? It's at 3 p.m., so you'll get some of that afternoon-into-evening softness as you dip your oar into our inland sea and admire the feather-laden fauna.

YOU'LL NEED TO RESERVE... and donations are definitely accepted. Tips on weather and wearables are on the site, tips that should be heeded, given the Salton Sea's way-out-there-ness. But isn't that way-out-there-ness why so many of us like it so? What a treat, then, to be on the water on the solstice or on New Year's Day, a rare and memorable outing.

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