A Day Trip…
We try to get off the Preserve one day a week to explore the area around us. Today we decide to visit the metal sculptures that dot the Colorado Desert in Borrego Springs. This little town is completely surrounded by the largest State Park in California, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, (ABDSP), encompassing over 600,000 acres of badlands, slot canyons, mud caves, cactus-studded hills, a palm oasis, and plenty of dirt roads for 4-wheel-drivers to enjoy. Elevations range from 8,000 feet to below sea level. The park is named for the 18th century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, the Spanish word for sheep. Borrego Springs is also a designated International Dark-Sky Community. (yournorthcounty.com, desertusa.com, and visitcalifornia.com)
Here we are heading north toward the Santa Rosa Mountains.
Ten minutes later we encounter the famous 350-foot-long sea monster sculpture that gives the illusion of snaking into and over the top of the desert sand.
Ricardo Breceda is the sculptor of this magnificent serpent. Born in Durango, Mexico, he has lived in California for over 25 years. He discovered his passion for creating metal artwork when his daughter Lianna, who was 6-years-old at the time, asked her father for a dinosaur of her own after watching Jurassic Park III.
Breceda was a cowboy boot salesman at the time and it just so happened that he had recently traded a pair of boots for a welding machine. So, he welded a dinosaur out of metal for Lianna and the rest is history, as creating sculptures became a new hobby and he accidentally discovered his talent as an artist.
Eventually Ricardo crossed paths with Dennis Avery, an heir to the famous label maker family. Avery owned a large estate in Borrego Springs called Galleta Meadows which he wanted to turn into an outside art gallery. So, Avery commissioned Breceda to design and create over 130 pieces of art scattered throughout Borrego Springs. His creations include, besides dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals, historical characters, insects, and animals. (ricardobreceda.com)
The area around the sculptures is roped off so we respectfully enjoy the artwork from a distance.
We discover this grove of saguaro cactus down a dead end side street…
We head back home by continuing west through Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park on Montezuma Valley Road (County Road S-22) which slithers its way up from the Borrego Valley into the hills of the San Ysidro Mountains before leveling off at Ranchito. (sandiegocounty.gov)
We begin heading northeast at Highway 79 near Warner Springs where we will then catch Highway 371 that will lead us onto Highway 74 that takes us back onto Monterey Avenue in Palm Desert to Ramon Road and Thousand Palms Canyon Road… back beneath the palm trees towering over the oasis… which we call home.
Up, Up, and Away…
We drive into a pull-out and take pics of the desert valley below…
At an elevation of 2,300 feet, we overlook the immense Anza-Borrego Desert State Park…
These hills are the home of bighorn sheep, the borrego of Anza-Borrego.
They live nimbly on these rocky slopes in the rugged and open environment they call home. Their climbing skills and excellent vision help them avoid predators. Their horns are useful tools for opening cacti to drink the moisture stored within.
But these icons of the desert are endangered. Since the 1800s, grazing of cattle and domestic sheep, disease, hunting, mining, and loss of habitat and water holes have reduced the herd to a fraction of what it once was. (plaque at overlook)
Yes, the desert is hot in the summer but, as you can see, it is worth enjoying within an air-conditioned car. The landscape is still beautiful when barren, but is it really barren? Look closely and you will discover that plants thrive and blossom all the time. The rocks speak. The sand speaks. The plants live to tell their stories.
And humans, who lived here as early as 6,000 years ago, continue to enrich this desert landscape with their ingenuity, creating a place to discover, enjoy, and be amazed.
I am always amazed!