Feb 18, 2011

VIsion Quest - Anza Borrego

We are back today from a short week in the deserts of Anza-Borrego State Park. Anza is a well-kept secret - most Californians don't even know this exists, which is just fine. You all can stay out and leave this for the rest of us...

We stayed in Borrego Springs, CA. This village is located entirely within the border of Anza-Borrego state park. Borrego Springs is honestly not much to write home about - it's the Palm Springs that never was. Originally created to lure Hollywood stars to the desert, it boasts a few run-down "resorts", a couple of golf courses and generally seedy infrastructure to support that. Alas, Borrego Springs proved to be too remote and hard to get to (it's about 2 hours from San Diego and 3 hours from L.A.)  to ever lure the Rat Pack out of Palm Springs. It's just as well, because now the world has a base-camp in one of the most spectacular state parks in the L-48.

This was our second time in Anza-Borrego. We were there last March following a conference and liked it well enough to return for another trip this winter. Last time, I was still recovering from a bad bout of food poisoning I picked up in San Diego. This time I was feeling much better, thank the Gods.

We splurged for a private Jeep tour this trip, which was a little expensive, but worth it. We accessed a number of remote places in the park and learned quite a bit from our driver. One of my favorite places on the tour was a habitation site on a small creek high up in the mountains. This location had been used by natives for hundreds (maybe thousands) of years, and evidence of their occupation, including mortenos (depressions in the rock from grinding grain and seeds) were readily apparent. This site had a very interesting vibe - not so much "haunted", but rather a sense that many people had lived and worked here. You could feel the energy of that place if you paid attention. I called it "an impression" while we were there, which still seems about right. Very cool.

How can returning from a vacation like this be anything less than some sort of referendum on one's degree of satisfaction with their life? As I made sense of the trip on the flight from Denver to Minneapolis, I could not escape the feeling that I was riding on a slow leak, metaphorically speaking. Which each turn of the pedals, as it were, I was feeling a little slower and a little mushier, until somewhere over Iowa it was clearly time to get off and explore the nature of the issue.

I quipped on Facebook before we left on this trip that I was heading into the desert on a Vision Quest, but as we all know, in every jest there is a grain of truth. More work is required here.

Returning to Minneapolis, we found a lot of snow and ice had melted while we were away, but a cold wind welcomed us back to winter in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Still, I think we have rounded the bend on winter and can now look forward to more clement days ahead.

There are tons of photos from this trip on the Flickr site here

Be well.

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