Monday, March 18, 2013

Trip to Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs.
Doesn't that sound like a green place with bubbling water and springs?
nope -- that doesn't describe Borrego Springs, California.

Borrego Springs is a high desert surrounded by barefaced mountains over 5,000 feet high. 

Poet April Halprin Wayland, photographer Sara Jane Boyers, and I visited author Ginger Wadsworth and her husband at their house in Borrego Springs this past weekend.  As usual when we get together, we talked and talked and talked. And ate. (I had picked up one of the famous Jullian pies for desert.) 

We took walks on the desert (I really enjoyed the hot weather -- San Diego weather has been in the 50s and 60s and the 90 degrees felt good), and saw a rattlesnake.  Luckily it was traveling AWAY from us and was a small one.  Ginger was surprised that it was out so early in the year, but the area had been unusually hot for so early in the spring so that probably woke the snakes from hibernation.

The drive from San Diego through Jullian (at over 5,000 feet) down to the desert was very hairy -- with me worrying that my breaks were going to give out while going down that steep, curvy road -- worse than anything I have driven in West Virginia. It seemed scarier mostly because the road had a cliff down on one side and a cliff up on the other and was more narrow with steeper curves than I was comfortable with.

I drove back on Sunday using a different route with gentler curves and vowed to take that route the next time I came. This one also had amazing vistas as well.  In fact, at one point I pulled over at a pull-over place and discovered I was taking a picture of Borrego Springs valley right over Ginger's house.  (it's that teeny pale blob way below, I told my family.)

Their house is a couple of miles over dusty dirt roads from the town of Borrego Springs, on an unmarked road.  We stayed in town and had to be guided to it by a native guide (Ginger's husband) every time we came out.

Naturally, Sara Jane took photographs. Since I had gotten a new camera at Costcos (similar to my granddaughter's) I practiced using it.  It's a fascinating place and a mecca for artists of all kinds.  Several well known scientists have vacation homes here as well. Since Ginger is a nonfiction writer, she says she loves getting together with them and learning from them.

I was fascinated by the tall mountains surrounding the desert -- no greenery growing on them at all.  And took a lot of photographs of them. It was as if I were seeing the bones of the mountains.

I was not happy traveling on Sunday from the 90 degree desert back to 65 degrees at the coast.  Even the mountains were warmer than San Diego, and usually they are much cooler.  When I passed the Santa Ysabel Native American casino, I stopped for a quick sandwich -- and managed to resist any temptation to put money in the slot machines.  

Now back to preparing my lecture for the SCBWI San Diego writer's retreat next weekend.  
-Wendie Old

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