Borrego Beauty: Day 2

Our camp was in an area within Borrego Springs which allowed dispersed camping. It was an idyllic spot and we enjoyed a peaceful night's sleep.

In the morning, for only a brief few moments, this was the gift which greeted us, a reward for our early awaking. Breathtaking.
I have been following the status of our locale. This morning's Park Information stated, "We love sharing Anza-Borrego with you, but . . . we can’t risk sharing COVID-19! So for now, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is CLOSED to all camping and to ALL vehicular traffic, even on dirt roads. Please stay home, shelter in place, and help flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection. It is up to all of us to do our part to control the spread and keep everyone healthy."
We decided to drive through town and delight in what was being offered. We learned a bit more about Dennis Avery and admired more of sculptor Richard Breceda's commissioned works.
We met Juan Bautista de Anza (1736-1788) through the artist's "romantically portrayal of de Anza on his horse as he returns in triumph through Borrego Springs on his way to Mexico City".

We were drawn to this church nestled at the base of the mountains. Again we had another history lesson. Until the 1940s, the Borrego Valley was considered one of the most isolated communities in San Diego County.  The outside world was accessible by only a few dirt roads, and there were no telephones or outside electricity.  Agriculture was key to the local economy, and a small number of tourists were drawn to the area during the annual wildflower bloom (it's why we are here). As the population of Borrego Springs grew in the late 1940s, it became clear that a Catholic Church should be established in the community. St. Richard's was dedicated in 1954.
I had Steve put his boot next to this Lily just to grasp the size. Gorgeous.
We couldn't get over the miles and miles of Ocotillo in bloom.

This image is so full of interesting aspects. I thought the flower was spectacular and while I was photographing it, in flies the bee. Unbeknownst to me, there was a crab spider lurking. This squat arachnid perches on the center of flowers waiting to grab a fly or bee. Nature is weirdly exceptional.

There is so much to admire about the desert however, the flowers are my greatest love. The diversity is almost too much.

The animals are pretty fabulous, too. Seeing this beautiful coyote was a major delight. Wow.
Physical distancing here is at its finest. We are happy campers. The desert is the best place to get away from it all. We have yet to come in contact with anyone so we feel we are obeying the protocols and making amazing memories.

"What draws us into the desert is the search
for something intimate in the remote."
-Edward Abbey

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Anza-Borrego Art & History...

History is found everywhere.

I am drawn to National Monuments. This one has to be one of the more unique. It honors Peg Leg Smith, a "mountain man, prospector, and spinner of tall tales," who lived from 1801 to 1866. A Kentuckian who staggered West and never returned, Smith claimed he found pure gold nuggets in the Borrego Springs area. Peg Leg would tell anyone who'd listen about the fabulous wealth hidden in the hills. It was hidden because Peg Leg couldn't exactly remember where the mine was. He's a legend in this town and a relic from the mining days.
One of the most famous places to visit is Galleta Meadows Estate, a privately owned desert estate land that features over 130 large metal art sculptures, created by artist Ricardo Breceda. This menagerie of metal masterpieces was commissioned by the Estate owner Dennis Avery (heir to the Avery label fortune).
Galleta Meadows is unfenced and open to the public for visitation, including hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, photography, and bicycling every day of the year. And it is just plain awesome! A fabulous place to meander and be impressed.

I enjoyed the whimsy but I was really impressed by the historical depictions Mr. Breceda created. As we drove around the valley, we saw evidence of once vibrant vineyards.
We learned that in 1945, outside electrical service finally reached the valley through the efforts of Joseph DiGiorgio, a prominent Central California grape grower who needed power before beginning large-scale ranching here. In 1946, the DiGiorgio Fruit Corporation planted two thousand acres of vines in the valley and within a few years was shipping “early” grapes across the United States.
Perhaps this is Mr. DiGiorgio working his vines.
The newest installation was by Nery Gabriel Lemus. This temporary public monument was centered on individual stories of migration drawn from the residents of Borrego Springs, many of whom have close ties to Mexico. Working with students in the local school district, Lemus incorporated their personal stories into a ceramic-based sculpture that is meant to provide an expanded perspective on Borrego Springs and its stories. We were invited "in" to learn the tales. It was an interesting lesson found in the expanse of the desert. A surprise.

We were delighted by this ambitious fantasy, a 350-foot-long serpent arcing across the playa. He couldn't be missed.

Maybe one trip here will involve discovering all 130 of these amazing creatures. Challenge accepted.

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Off to Dwell in the Desert...

We made plans to end my birthday month here, at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a week ago when I received an invitation by the Park's Foundation.

This gorgeous California State Park, located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, takes its name from Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza (here in 1774) and borrego, a Spanish word for sheep. With 600,000 acres, it is the largest state park in California. And it truly is incredible.
When California was ordered to shelter-in-place, I did some research and found the following: Does this order affect hiking? State Parks?

"No, you may still go outside so long as you practice social distancing of six feet. California State Parks have closed indoor facilities and campgrounds, but trails and outdoor spaces are still open. Spending time outdoors can lead to a number of overall health and wellness benefits like lessening anxiety, boosting creativity and getting your vitamin D. If you decide to make a trip, remember to keep social distance."
We took that advice, loaded up our self-contained camper and headed to the desert for much needed Vitamin N (nature). We are so glad we did. Wow.

Social Distancing hasn't been a problem. And the Vitamin D has been in ready supply with our 80° day. I'm sharing only the natural beauty of Anza-Borrego in this post. Part 2 will be more about human history and art. We đź’—Borrego. It is just what we needed.

"You should not see the desert simply
as some faraway place of little rain.
There are many forms of thirst."   
-William Langewiesche

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Hummingbird Happiness...

Not long ago, we invested in the most delightful bringer of JOY- a hummingbird feeder.

 "Like the hummingbird sipping nectar from every flower,
I fly joyfully through my days,
seeing beauty in everything."
-Amethyst Wyldfyre

"Hummingbird darts lightly through the world,
spreading its message of joy and beauty,
and teaching us to appreciate the wonder and magic of everyday existence.
Hummingbird brings the gift of joy.
Learn to laugh and be happy."

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