One of America's last free places.
The hot spring in "Squatters' Paradise" was surprisingly muddy.
Slab City, a community near Niland on the eastern shore of Lake Salton, is located on Camp Dunlap, a U.S. Marine Corps base established in 1942 during World War II.
By 1956, all the buildings on the base had been demolished, the State of California owned the land, and the massive concrete slabs were abandoned.
Squatters settled there using the slabs for building materials, and today it is known as a place that attracts people who live outside the mainstream of society.
Hot water of anarchy
Anyone who dares to live in Slab City without public electricity and running water in the harsh climate of the Sonoran Desert must have reasons.
The population is estimated at 150 in the summer and 4,000 in the winter and is made up of a variety of people, including retirees, artists, fugitives, and the poor.
The main industry is tourism, with installation art randomly scattered throughout the area.
At the entrance to such a community, there is a hot spring.
Just before a gift shop, I drove into a wasteland lined with water storage tanks.
There were no obvious landmarks, and there was no sense of intent to actively promote the spring.
It was a circular pool of hot water that gushes out naturally on the surface of the desert.
It did not look like the kind of terrain where hot springs would spring up, which was surprising.
The mechanism by which the hot water is produced is unknown, but there was an apparent similarity to the nearby Niland Geyser.
The area around the pool was partially covered with concrete and an old faucet was installed.
The water was discharged through a ditch on the south side, and a wooden bridge was crossed over it.
The water temp was 104 degrees F.
I could see that the source was gushing with gas around the center of the pool.
It was accompanied by a weak sulfur smell, was close to muddy water in sensory perception, and was of questionable sanitary condition.
This place seemed to me more like a spot to enjoy an anarchic atmosphere than the water itself.
Related Hot Springs
The San Andreas Fault runs directly below Lake Salton, and active geothermal activities can be seen in the surrounding area.
Niland Geyser is a "moving" mud volcano that is unique in the world and has severely impacted infrastructure such as the Union Pacific Railroad and State Route 111.
Next to a large geothermal power plant, viscous mud volcanos were smoking.