Friday, March 21, 2014

March Madness . . .

It took us three days to tour and photograph the Sculpture sites in and around the Anza-Borrego Park and we did miss some because they had been damaged by the recent storm and the road was not passable. The sculptures were exciting but we were disappointed with the lack of wild-flowers and not too anxious to stick around. 
Just before we left last fall there was a rash of pay-it-forward  incidents of people buying rounds of coffee for all the folks in a local favourite coffee shop (Tim Horton’s). The practice spread like wild-fire in Canada and we found ourselves experiencing the same thing at the ice cream shop in Borrego Springs. The fellow in front of us insisted on paying for ours and a few others. It was a very strange experience.
La Quinta and Lake Cahuilla
BUT it was time to leave the dry and desolate part of California and find a spot that felt more alive. A County campground (The Lake Cahuilla in La Quinta) filled that goal – in a couple of days we felt revitalized and needed to leave the cultivated city and head back to Arizona and Quartzsite..
The Highlights of our visit were spending time with our Truth and Consequences friends, Deb & Jer, Deb’s Mom’s Gum Gallery, and our trip out to Palm Canyon.
The Gum Gallery!
Deb’s Mom, Joanne Brunet has been collecting gum and gum paraphernalia since she was a young child. It is now housed in a dedicated building on their property in Quartzsite.
Joanne is hiding behind this huge crocheted gum ball machine that one of her fans crocheted for her.

Palm Canyon
Quartzsite is comfortable for us. We love our spot along the wash where we can treasure the flora and fauna around us.
I don’t remember ever seeing the Palo Verde in full bloom like it was.
Palm Canyon is in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and the subject of the painting done by our friend, Elizabeth Lauder. that travels with us no mater where we go. Until now, we had never been out there . . . but now we that have the Tracker . . .
Seven miles off SR 95 a windy, desert road takes you to the entrance to Palm Canyon. Along the way, Fred managed to capture some flowering cacti spied by Sheila’s eagle eye.
 IMG_7359As with most canyons, Palm Canyon is the result of thousands of years of volcanic eruption, wind, flooding and erosion that continues to this day. The name comes from the unique grove of California Fan Palms that exist in the canyon. Apparently they are Arizona’s only native Palm trees. Some believe seeds were brought into the Canyon by birds and grew in this protected environment.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

We came for the Flowers and Stayed for the Sculptures

Borrego Springs is a small resort village in the middle of Anza-Borrego State Park about 25 miles west of the Salton Sea in California.
The first time we were there was near the end of February, 2005.
DesertLavender DesertLilly DesertPrimrose DesertVervain HendersonCanyon Ocotilla
The whole winter had been rainy and the flowers flourished.
This year there had been about 4.8 inches of rain since July 1 but then there was an extended dry period and then a deluge of rain in mid-February. Too little – too late. P3060007 Even the creosote and the brittle bush were struggling to produce green leaves. 
Our viewing of flowers was limited to a few cactus flowers and others cultivated shrubs around the Visitors Centers. IMG_7282
ChollaOcotillo (4)
OcotilloFairyDuster (2)
Fairy DusterPricklyPearBloom (10)Prickly Pear
We knew that our chances of seeing wild-flowers was slim but we did want to re-explore the metal sculptures we had discovered then.
The collection has expanded from just a few renderings of pre-historic animals and historic Borrego figures to about 130 sculptures scattered over 30 sites throughout the 3000 acre Galleta Meadows owned by Dennis Avery (the grandson of the Avery Office Supplies who died just a couple of years ago). His philosophy was . . . “Blessings are meant to be shared”. And he commissioned Ricardo Breceda to create the sculptures.
Here are just a few of our favourites! (Fred is hoping to put together a Slide Show with many more  of the sculptures).
IMG_7256 IMG_7257
The Scorpion and the Grasshopper share the same site. In life the nocturnal Scorpion lays in wait for its prey-the grasshopper.
The sun and the abundance of water in the area led to the development of vineyards. The water and thus the vineyards both disappeared but the sculptures of the workers remain as a reminder.
These Camelops roamed the area and are ancient descendants of the camel. The are called Camelops because the limbs on each side moved in conjunction with one another.
Not a reproduction of a pre-historic animal but a 350 foot imaginary creature with the tail of a rattlesnake, the body of a serpent and the head of a Chinese Dragon. It’s huge and winds under the road.
This canine accompanies the sculpture of Pedro Font who was considered a spiritual leader of the mid 1770’s expeditions to California.
Three of the 6 flight-capable Wind God birds in North America were found in the Anza-Borrego area. The bird had a 17 ft wing span and stood 4 ft high. It existed about 3.5 million years ago. The sculpture is about twice the original size.
These horses became extinct approximately 11,000 years ago.