Many years ago,I was being driven out to try to photograph the much anticipated annual desert blooms in Anza-Borrego. The windows were rolled down and we were enjoying the drive. I was a bit startled by what I saw on the side of the highway.
“There’s a mammoth?”
“What?” David looked over at me like I had heat stroke. “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
I strained to see behind us. “Yes. there is a mammoth.” I turned around, “and now a giant eagle’s nest!”
We pulled over into the dirt road on the side of the highway which led us to a massive metal sculpture of an eagle’s nest.
Suddenly, our day trip searching for cactus flowers became an art hunt. David had never seen these amazingly detailed sculptures before and we were quite taken by them. The only signs we could find to give us any clues to this wonderful art find were for the land, Galleta Meadows Estates, which we Googled upon our return home. Over the years, we found new sculptures on subsequent trips to Anza-Borrego and an interesting story has unfolded about Ricardo Breceda, the “Accidental Artist,” of these beautiful pieces of artwork.
If wandering around the desert searching for the next group of prehistoric animal sculptures doesn’t sound like fun, the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association has a Sculpture Tour page on their website. Among the subjects of the metal sculptures there are mammoths, nursing camels, sloths, sabretooth creatures, a group of farm workers picking grapes and raptors. Mother Nature’s art of desert blooms are fleeting and timing is everything to enjoy the beautiful cactus flowers, but these man-made works of art are there to enjoy, free to the public, regardless of time of year.