Unworldly Beauty at the Alviso Salt Ponds

One late summer day, I headed to Alviso Marina County Park for my usual walk on the trails around the tall grasses of the saltwater marshes. The day was sunny and breezy without a cloud in the sky. The onshore breeze kept me cool and put me in the mood to explore beyond my comfort zone of the marshes and into the unknown territory (for me) of the salt ponds.

The Saltwater Marsh

As I left the saltwater marsh area, I found myself on a dusty, gravel trail that stretched into what looked like miles ahead of trail fading into the horizon. Before long my nose picked up a mildly unpleasant, unidentifiable odor as I approached a barren wasteland of brown and red-tinged salt ponds edged by dry scrub brush. I felt as if I had stepped into another world.

Captivated by the patchwork landscape of mud, dry grasses, and odd-colored water, I kept going. I dodged puffs of sea foam as it floated across my path carried by the stiff Bay breeze. Was that a snake I saw moving in the grass? I hoped not.

The Salt Ponds

I took comfort knowing I wasn’t the only soul exploring this barren trail. A gray-haired couple passed me on their way back from nowhere. A bicyclist passed me and became the size of an ant on the horizon until I could no longer see him. I wondered did the path lead somewhere or was he eventually coming back my way?

After an hour of walking and not seeing an end in sight, I turned back towards “earth” and the salt marshes. Along the way, I came across a pair of photographers sitting on tiny folding chairs, their cameras, fitted with giant zoom lenses, atop tripods. They chatted quietly while waiting for something interesting to appear. I’m guessing that “something interesting” was waterbirds.

While I enjoyed this adventure, I prefer “planet earth,” and plan to stick to the saltwater marshes on future visits.

Inspiration: Out of this World.