Sandstone Squares

During one of my visits to the southern portion of Anza Borrego Desert State Park I drove into Arroyo Seco Del Diablo in the Carrizo Badlands area. It didn’t seem as appealing as Arroyo Tapiado however, and just kept going on and on and on. Or maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood yet to open myself up to the place, looking forward to going to Arroyo Tapiado, which I found and still find one of the most fascinating places.

Knowing that I probably wouldn’t be able to cross over into Arroyo Tapiado with my high-clearance but only 2WD car, I eventually turned around and drove back towards Vallecito Creek Road*. By that time the sun was blocked by the arroyo’s west-facing walls and light bounced off of the east-facing walls, which acted like a giant gold reflector, and cast really beautiful indirect light into the shadows. I captured it on these beautifully eroded sandstone features.

Seeing these things always fills me with a sense of wonder. I’m pretty sure there’s a fairly simple explanation for these erosion patterns of course, but still… in a place so dry and barren, finding such beauty that looks as if it has been shaped by water (though the wind probably had more to do with it in reality) is simply mesmerizing – if not for the “how” itself, then surely for the “how long.” Seeing the sandstone carved by the elements like this puts our own existence into perspective.


*) one of these highly misleading names: unless there’s a flash flood there’s no creek, and the “road” is a dusty dirt trail with soft sand in some spots.

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