Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Borrego Springs, CA

Borrego Springs is approximately 30 miles from Salton City through the Colorado Desert. State Highway 22 is a good two lane paved road. There were lots of R.V.s congregating out in the desert for an ATV rally. This picture is looking southeast back towards the Salton Sea (top left corner).     
This picture was taken in the same location as the previous picture but looking southwest. Closer to the community of Borrego Springs the land along the highway becomes part of the 600,000 acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The park is named for the 18th century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, which is the Spanish word for bighorn sheep.
The community of Borrego Springs has a central park that the road circles around. Coming off the circle going to the north and south is Borrego Springs Drive. The sculptures are located along both sections. The community was noted on the 2010 census to have a population of 3,429 residents. It is surrounded by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. There is a park visitor's center nearby with some nice desert landscaping, but the park itself consists primarily of the surrounding natural desert.    
As with most things, the Borrego Springs metal sculptures have an interesting story of how they came to be. I'll give a synopsis, as you view the pictures. The story begins with Richard Breceda, who is now referred to as the accidental artist. In 2001 he was experimenting with making metal sculptures as a hobby. After taking his then 6 year old daughter to see the movie Jurassic Park III, he asked her what she would like for Christmas. She said she wanted a T-Rex. It took Richard only a few weeks to build a 20 foot high by 45 foot long T-Rex out of sheet metal. He placed the sculpture in his front yard. Over the next two years he built more sculptures and pretty soon people were stopping by asking about buying them! In 2007 multimillionaire philanthropist Dennis Avery happened to drive by Breceda's studio.    
Avery owned about 3 square miles of noncontiguous parcels in Borrego stretching across town. Avery a paleontology buff had helped finance a book about the fossils found in the Anza-Borrego Desert. He asked Breceda to create some of the beasts that were depicted in the book. When the first three elephant-like sculptures suddenly appeared one day in the middle of the desert, people were fascinated.  
Over the next several years Avery financed more and more sculptures.  They eventually ran out of fossil-based animals.
Today about 150 giant sculptures are scattered all over the area.
Avery died in 2012, but a fund has been set up so that Breceda can maintain the sculptures.
Richard Breceda has recently relocated his studio to Borrego Springs and has a dream of creating a 5 acre park where interested buyers can peruse his work and where school children can come on field trips.
This dragon-serpent is a favorite, as its body spans the road!
Check out the truck driving between the body segments!
The detail the artist puts into his work is amazing. Dennis Avery is the land owner of Galleta Meadows Estates.
The sculptures are referred to as sky art!
Here is a pretty flower I'd call a desert lily.
A few more desert flowers!
This interesting caterpillar and his comrades were marching in mass across the desert! They moved with a strength, presence, and speed that was a bit daunting coming from such small creatures!
I hope to see some real desert tortoises someday!
Bighorn sheep!
Wonderful detail! Give yourself a full day for touring the sculptures or a couple half days! We arrived in the mid afternoon and ran out of energy before getting to them all. We will be making a return visit!