Desert X meets the Southern California Trifecta Challenge

desert x palm spring southern california trifecta challenge travel dejavu

Living in southern California has a ton of perks. Sunshine, beach, snow, desert, art…if only there was a way to bring them all together?! Well, this past weekend , my dreams came true. Not only did I get to adventure in a kind of adult treasure hunt (map, and all), but I also engaged in a time-sensitive SoCal only challenge. Plus, and this is the best perk, it was all free!

For the treasure hunt, there was Desert X, in which we visited a bunch of stimulating and thought provoking art installations scattered across the Coachella Valley . And on the last day, we completed the Southern California Trifecta Challenge (Desert, Snow and Ocean) in one day via Adventure 16. Besides sharing my adventures with you, here is an update of what there is left to see, before it’s too late . “Art is only temporary” – said someone somewhere.

So, what is this mysterious Desert X experience? I came across it on Instagram and had the same question. It certainly sounds cool and looks cool, so what is it about? To quote from their website, from February 25th until April 30th, 2017 “the Coachella Valley and its desert landscape will become the canvas for a curated exhibition of site-specific work by established and emerging artists, whose projects will amplify and articulate global and local issues that may range from climate change to starry skies, from tribal culture and immigration to tourism, gaming, and golf. The artworks, in various indoor and outdoor locations, will be available free and will offer visitors a way to the see the valley and react on serious and playful issues through the lens of participating artists creativity and work.” I told you it was cool!

And, what’s the Southern California Trifecta Challenge? To quote A16, “the Southern California/Baja region is the only place on earth that has all three climates- Mountain, Desert, Ocean in such close proximity that we can play in all three in the same day.” Starting November 12th, 2016 until March 12th 2017, the challenge is to complete a human powered activity in all three climates in one day…
and we barely made it. Although there were prizes involved, this challenge is something you can do at anytime (weather permitting), in southern California. So we figured let’s get artsy on Saturday, and adventure-y on Sunday.

Spending as much time we could on Saturday to not only locate, but enjoy the art and the desert, this is what we were able to visit, experience and note…

desert x southern california trifecta challange

To start off our day, we went to the Desert X Hub located at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs. The Ace is a great resource to see what is going on and when, and I highly recommend you keep up with them on Instagram. We picked up a sleek light pink Desert X map there, and got all of the information we needed from the uber-helpful volunteer guides they had on board.  Seriously, ask them anything! There were also tote bags, art books, etc on sale if you want to dig deeper (link to this?). From there, we mapped out what was still available to see, at what times, and in what order.  The installations are mapped from number 1 to 16, and here is a little glimpse into our experience of each one we visited:

desert x southern california trifecta challange

1. Sherin Guirguis-  Whitewater Preserve, 9160, Whitewater Canyon Rd. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. /Stop at Ranger Station for Directions. One I Call is a site-specific sculpture that reflects on the complex web of narratives surrounding deserts and desert communities. The piece is modeled after traditional pigeon towers found throughout the desert villages of Egypt.  The practice of homing pigeons spans multiple traditions, illustrating a narrative of migration across space and time. The piece stands at once as a beacon, a sanctuary and a memorial for the people and communities of the desert who’s histories are often dismissed or marginalized.  The piece addresses concerns of cultural agency, environmental protection and displacement at stake in the Coachella Valley and many similar desert communities across the world.

desert x southern california trifecta challenge travel dejavu
This was the only installation we tried to visit on Sunday, since it was on the way back home, aka to our final challenge location, the ocean.  En route there, the weather became increasingly tumultuous, hail and high speed winds, and all, so we decided we had to turn around or risk getting stuck.  We did hop out to take a quick photo for the desert portion of the challenge, and because there happened to be the most beautiful rainbow just hanging out in the background. Where’s that filter?? Hopefully we will get to check it out soon, and take a longer visit to the Whitewater Preserve, which is free to all to hike and camp (and part of the Pacific Crest Trail!)

2. Richard Prince- 64150 Pierson Blvd., Desert Hot Springs. Richard Prince describes Third Place as, “The House where my family used to live and are now having a reunion. Strip mining the surface of American cultural life, Princes’ work often exposes the darker sub-currents of sexual and familial tension as they expose themselves through humor and other tropes of psychological dysfunction. ‘Third Place’ is, as the title suggests, the third of a series of structures that adopt a vernacular architectural form as the housing for material that speaks to the interior life of its recently departed occupant. Like previous houses,

desert x southern california richard prince travel dejavu

it suggests a place where, one observer put it, ‘the circuitry of human relationship was completely shorted out and charred.’ Run-down and little saddle-sore the house in Desert Hot Springs might suggest a cowboy’s retreat. Plastered with ‘Family Tweets’ and the odd rendering of the artists himself, Third Place reveals itself as a three dimensional portrait – a state of mind as much a state of place. We were so excited to visit this, since it was nearby The Spring Resort, where we were staying. We thought, what better than to soak in some hot springs in the morning, and then head to see some art?! Well, unfortunately, this was shut down due to vandalization. Everyone’s a critic, I guess. But the Springs were lovely and their staff is top notch. I would definitely recommend staying there if you’re in the area.

desert x southern california richard prince the spring resort travel dejavu

3. Jennifer Bolande- Gene Autry Trail, between Vista Chino and Interstate 10 (both directions). In a cinematic experience animated by driving along Gene Autry Trail, viewers will encounter a series of billboards featuring photographs of the very mountains towards which they are heading.  Each photograph is unique to its position along this route and at a certain point as one approaches each billboard, perfect alignment with the horizon will occur thus reconnecting the space that the rectangle of the billboard has interrupted.  In the language of billboard advertising this kind of reading is referred to as a Burma-Shave

desert x southern california trifecta challenge jennifer bolande travel dejavu

after the shaving cream company of the same name who used sequential placement to create messaging that could be read only from a moving vehicle. Within the desert empire of roadside signs, Bolande chooses to advertise the very thing so often overlooked. Looking up at the billboards our attention is drawn back to the landscape itself, pictured here as a stuttering kinesthetic of real and artificial horizons. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it! She set up billboards facing both North and South, with pictures of the background that blend in to the scenery perfectly when at the right angle. I tried to get the right angle quickly enough while driving past, and miserably failed.  But it was beautiful for those few nano-seconds.

4. Gabriel Kuri- 2500 N. Palm Canyon Drive. Donation box is a large scale installation in the form of an indoor landscape or domesticated desert. A vast expanse of sand -peppered with extinguished cigarette butts- in an empty commercial space, serves as the receptacle for small change. The audience will be invited to leave a monetary contribution on the surface of the art work, adding to the texture of this rather surreal scaled-down and boxed-in version of what otherwise lies right outside the shop, just beyond the parking lot.Inspired by the stark contrasts between naked desert and developed land,

desert x southren california gabriel kuri travel dejavu

typical of the Palm Springs/Coachella Valley area, donation box is a commentary on the desire to control and profit from the indomitable.Through its basic and somehow exchangeable elements (land, currency, waste), and its somewhat absurd participatory nature, donation box aims to invite the spectator to share its reflection on the nature of speculation and its mark on the environment. Unfortunately, when we attempted to visit this had not opened yet.  We did get to window shop though! It looks like a lot of sand, and a whole lot of cigarette butts (like thousands).

doug atiken desert Palisades california travel dejavu

5. Doug Aitken- Desert Palisades/Tuscany Heights, 1101 W. Raquet Club Drive, Palm Springs. In the tradition of land-art as a reflection of the dreams and aspirations projected onto the America West, Mirage presents a continually changing encounter in which subject and object, inside and outside are in constant flux. The ranch-style structure suggests a latter-day architectural version of manifest destiny, a primary structure rendered by the artist without function service or texture. With every available surface clad in mirror it both absorbs and reflects the landscape around in such ways that the exterior will seemingly disappear just as the interior draws the viewer into a never-ending kaleidoscope of light and reflection.

doug atiken desert Palisades california travel dejavu

As Mirage pulls the landscape in and reflects it back out, this classic one-story suburban house becomes a framing device, a perceptual echo-chamber endlessly bouncing between the dream of nature as pure uninhabited state and the pursuit of its conquest. Woah! This was one of my favorite installations, and rumor has it, it may stay there forever. We had to wait in a pretty long line, but it was worth it.  A house made entirely of mirrors? Tell all of my bad angles about it..> It was beautiful to see the panoramic view of the desert and see it reflected in the walls at every angle. I heard sunset there is unbelievable. Go check it out! 

6. Rob Pruitt- Palm Springs Art Museum. A nomadic event that has taken place all over the world, this iteration of Pruitt’s Flea Market features the vintage experts, design collectors, and visual artists of Palm Springs, Joshua Tree the High Desert, and the eastern Coachella Valley. Inspired by the region’s robust mix of vintage, modern, and handcrafted goods, this traditional-style flea market presents desert tastemakers making their wares available for sale. Here orphaned and discarded objects are momentarily elevated to the pedestal of the Palm Springs Art Museum. This was apparently the coolest flea market ever, but it is no longer available to see or max out your credit cards on. So bummed we missed it.

7. Jeffrey Gibson- Palm Springs Art Museum (outdoor sculpture garden), 101 North Museum Drive. ALIVE! IS A FOUND OBJECT READY MADE SCULPTURE ALTERED WITH PAINT AND TEXT THAT READS: I AM ALIVE! YOU ARE ALIVE! THEY ARE ALIVE! WE ARE LIVING! I CHOSE TO WORK WITH A WIND TURBINE BLADE BECAUSE OF HOW IT ALTERS ONE’S PERCEPTIONS WHEN THEY LOOK OUT ACROSS THE DESERT LANDSCAPE. THEY ARE ENORMOUS AND WHEN VIEWING ONE UP CLOSE YOU GET A SENSE OF THE EXPANSIVENESS OF THE DESERT LANDSCAPE THAT THEY OCCUPY. THEY ARE ALSO REALLY BEAUTIFUL IN FORM AND THEIR SHAPE REMINDS ME OF SOMETHING LIKE A WING, A FIN, OR A BONE FROM A MASSIVE WHALE. THE TEXT REFERENCES THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN PALM SPRINGS AND THE ORIGINAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLE WHO OCCUPIED THIS LAND AND THEIR BELIEF THAT THE LANDSCAPE IS LIVING. I am not sure how we missed this one, but we did. Can’t win em all.

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8. Juliao Sarmento- Desert Lodge Palm Springs, 1177 South Palm Canyon Drive. Best known for his paintings Juliao Sarmento recreates the intimacy and sexual tension found in this more familiar body of work in Cometa a piece first performed in 2009. The performance, which takes place in a hotel room, is designed to be witnessed by one person at a time. Set to original music specially composed by Portuguese musician Paulo Furtado, otherwise known as The Legendary Tigerman, is a study of the longings, desire and discomfort that attends the close encounter of strangers. This was a temporary performance piece, that we also unfortunately missed.

9. Will Boone- Ramon Rd. and Bob Hope Dr., Rancho Mirage. As a Texan I feel connected to the death of John F Kennedy. I’m not sure if I come from the place where he died or the place that killed him. Like the myths surrounding Elvis, Jesus or UFO’s, Boone sees the figure of JFK as lightening in the ground, bunkered in the very same Atlas Survival Shelter that the then president had in case of nuclear attack. Inside Monument the painted bronze figure is based on that of a hobby-kit, scaled up to heroically Hellenistic proportions. It might be equal part Catholic reliquary or one of the secretive roadside shrines found in the nearby deserts of Mexico, dedicated to the narco-saint Jesus Malverde. Either way it speaks not just to all those things that have been driven underground since the extinguished optimism of the sixties but to those same fears – nuclear attack and the invasion of the other – that have been so vividly resurrected in recent times. Would I have loved to have seen a JFK figure in the same underground bunker he had in case of a nuclear attack? Rhetorical question.  Unfortunately, this can only be soon via tour. Womp womp. Plan ahead if you want to see this!

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10. Tavares Strachan- 35050 Via Josefina, Rancho Mirage. [I am] is a work that explores the relationship between human beings and their environment. Borrowing from Vedic Philosophy, the phrase “I am” is to identify oneself with the universe and /or ultimate reality. There is a rich history of human beings exploring the desert as place to disconnect and reconnect with questions about who they might be.  As someone born on an island, surrounded by what may be considered beautiful but potentially Hostile Ocean, I personally have understood these vast landscapes as opportunities to re-center and dislocate one’s imagination all at the same time. With the help of a skilled team,

bootlegeer tiki california desertx travel dejavu

I plan to dig 290 craters over 100,000 square feet or the size of two American football fields. Once the holes are mapped and dug into the desert floor, brightly lit neon tubes will align the perimeter of each crater. The viewer will interact with what seems like an abstracted glowing crevasse of light, but if viewed from the sky one will read the exploded phrase [I am.] This is only available to view after 7:30 PM, and since we started the intense day early, we were too hungry, tired and ready for more hot spring-ing by the time we could have gone.  If you can stay up later than us, go check it out. More info here. At least we got some quality tiki time at Bootlegger Tiki before the end of the day?  Apparently their bartender, Chad, makes the second best Manhattan in the country. So. Do with that what you will!

11. Lita Albuquerque- Sunnylands Center and Gardens, Rancho Mirage. [There is generally an ongoing investigation of the body in space in my work, be it the human body, the planetary body, or the galactic body. The idea is about the relational aspect of these bodies in space, about linking a moment, or a gesture, through time and space. I choose a site for a project to bring attention to it, and at the same time, the marks I make or the objects I place or the people performing there are in concert with the site and activate it.] – Lita Albuquerque… For DesertX, Lita Albuquerque chose to work at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands Center & Gardens because of its history as a gathering place. An oasis within the desert, Sunnylands perhaps is best known as the Camp David of the West, frequently hosting Presidential vacations, retreats and summits. However, it is also a place where scientists and authors,

individuals with varying backgrounds and experiences, offer different thoughts and ideas. It is a place of welcome and dialogue. An opening performance at 3pm on February 23rd and a sculptural installation with an audio component compose Albuquerque’s artwork for DesertX, hEARTH. A play on words – a gathering site for storytelling, the ear, Earth – the artwork’s title speaks to art’s ability, here, through movement, voice and sculpture, to both listen and become a catalyst for action. Working in close collaboration with Kristen Toedtman of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and dancer and choreographer, Jasmine Albuquerque, the performance gives mass and volume to the silent act of listening. As audience in general, the implicit task is to watch, to listen. The silence of the desert compounds this task. Taking instructions from the desert, Albuquerque gives the act of listening bodies in which to move and voices that sing on its behalf. The sculpture is a life-size resin cast of the female form painted in ultramarine blue. The viewer encounters her in the center of a field of white sand, she is on the ground and upon closer inspection we see that she is indeed placed with one ear down, listening. Speakers placed in the surrounding garden intermittently play an audio track featuring a libretto written by Albuquerque. Through performance and installation, hEARTH posits that listening can be embodied and that through this embodiment true dialogue is achievable. The Sunnylands Center and Gardens are supposed to be beautiful, and we unfortunately (stupidly?) didn’t visit the website to see their hours before trying to visit.  They close at 4 PM and we arrived at 4:10PM. Boo.  We will of course visit there someday soon. 

Frank Sinatra Drive Portola avenue travel dejavu

12. Phillip K. Smith III- Frank Sinatra Drive and Portola Avenue, Palm Desert.  The Circle of Land and Sky defines a reflective space within the desert, composed entirely of the environment’s two most prominent physical characteristics — land and sky. Formed by 300 geometric reflectors angled at 10 degrees, the artwork directly engages with the Sonoran surrounding and the endless heavens. 

portola avenue california desertx travel dejavu

As the light shifts and the viewer moves through the installation, land and sky are separated, merged, and displaced, subverting one’s assumed relationship with the desert horizon. At times, the sky is pulled down to the land or the land lifted up to the sky, while the colors of the west may merge with the colors of the east. It is a constantly changing installation that can never be seen the same way twice. This installation was gorgeous.  It was a circle of mirrors, and yet again more of my terrible angles…  This is supposed to be extra-amazing at sunset but is awesome at any time of the day. Spend some time to “reflect” (sorry for the pun).

claudia comte cap homme ralph adams park california desertx travel dejavu

13. Claudia Comte- Cap Homme and Ralph Adams Park, 72500 Thrush Rd, Palm Desert. Curves and Zigzags is the third work from an ongoing series of free-standing walls that straddle painting and sculpture. Comte’s practice embraces all media with equal ferocity and she uses this series to examine what happens when two-dimensional painting is superimposed on three dimensional structure. Unlike graffiti artists her walls are built specifically for the work they carry. In Curves and Zigzags, the painting starts with a stringent geometric composition that gradually morphs into a more organic wave like pattern reminiscent

cap homme ralph adams park california desertx travel dejavu

of Bridget Riley optical paintings or the gardens of Burle Marx. Playing on the constant exchange of dualities – nature and culture, order and chaos, geometric and organic form – Comte’s wall suggests a walk through the shifting sands of abstraction and on to a place where beauty and contemplation sit side by side. These zig zags were so neat, and contrasted to greatly with the mountainous desert in the background. They also gave my boyfriend vertigo and not we had not been drinking. Yet.

14. Glenn Kaino- Avenue 42 and Golf Center Parkway, Indio. This was probably my favorite installation. Hollow Earth is a sculpture made from glass and wood that creates the illusion of a tunnel descending deep into the Earth, housed in an abandoned shed. Once inside the darkened space, audience members become uneasy as they peer down a brightly lit and very deep-looking hole that drops into infinite darkness. Kaino’s work is a contemplative gesture that explores the complicated and diverse history of tunnel making, from the secret tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip to the common childhood

hollow earth california desertx travel dejavu

(and Orientalist) fantasy of digging a hole through the planet and ending up in China. The title, invoking the numerous legends of a subterranean land, provokes the idea that the world is inside out – an overt reference to the crisis of our time. Paradoxically, as the viewer stares down at the piece, wondering about the depth of the tunnel, they are actually staring at themselves as seen through a series of mirrors.  In this ironic case, art directly reflects (their) life and the meaning, value and power that they assign to it. A discreet shed in the middle of the desert, with an ominous tunnel inside.  When we walked in, the lights were off (solar powered), but turned back on in no time.  The spectators were apprehensive about stepping onto the tunnel’s glass covering, so I went ahead and took the plunge. As you can see, I am pretty good at floating.

15. Armando Lerma- 85963 Grapefruit Blvd, Coachella. In 2011, Armando Lerma (formerly Date Farmers) started Coachella Walls. Over the past three years, it has developed into an essential ongoing arts driven community revitalization project, focused towards the upliftment of a low income, marginalized community in Downtown Coachella’s Historic Pueblo Viejo District. In addition to stimulating foot traffic to the area, [Coachella Walls] continues to raise awareness for the larger Eastern Coachella Valley and is dedicated to the anonymous farmworker. [For Desert X, Armando will create his own mural as part of the growing project in the city of Coachella.] This is supposed to be a rad mural, but it was too out of the way for us. Since Beyonce is no longer the headlining, maybe take that time to see this work of art?

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16. Norma Jeane- Everywhere and nowhere. From biblical to modern times the allure of the desert has resided in the fact we go there not knowing what we are looking for or what we may find. It’s a place where imagination and skepticism cohabit, where UFO’s and endangered Bighorn Sheep are sighted with near equal frequency. Drawing on the connection between the ancient and the modern, the silica desert and Silicon valley, Norma Jeane has, in conjunction with San Francisco based Codame created an autonomous robotic vehicle programmed to roam the desert while avoiding all human contact.

desert x california christina kantzavelos travel dejavu

Like many things of the desert it is both everywhere and nowhere, a form of artificial intelligence programmed not to serve but to avoid. Like the first settlers who first encountered these harsh conditions its primary motivation is survival driven by fear discovery. An elusive creature the timid robot represents perhaps the part of us that we are all seeking but cannot find. Shybot is literally everywhere and nowhere, like no one knew where it could be.  We asked every curator we could and the answer was “oh, shoot. We should probably find out where it is”. We so badly wants to watch it run away from us.

That concludes the Desert X portion. Go check out these installations NOW, before it’s too late. And let’s all cross our fingers they do this again next year, because it is so rad. Now onto the Sunday Trifecta Challenge adventure.

Ernest Coffee california desertx travel dejavu
We started off the day right by soaking in the hot springs (never a bad idea), and slowly but surely making our way out to get some of our favorite coffee and delicious vegan/gluten free treats at Ernest Coffee. It is connected to the Boot Legger Tiki Bar, but this is more for the morning after.

Around 1:30 took the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway ($26/adult) up 8,000 ft to the top of Mount Jacinto. There we got to freeze are behinds off (not enough layers), while hiking and playing in the snow.

After not being able to feel the tips of our fingers, we decided to head back down to hike in the desert and fail at seeing Sherin Guirguis’ installation (see #1 on list).

Mount Jacinto california desertx travel dejavu
From there we sat in traffic for a few hours due to the weather, until we finally made it to La Jolla Shores around 7:30 PM, where we played in the waves and celebrated being Californians. We did this in all in less than six hours. California is just perfect.

Now go out and explore!

As always, Buen Camino 🙂

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Christina Kantzavelos

It only took her two masters degrees, and journaling an entire pilgrimage (Camino de Santiago) to realize her love for writing and the need to share it with others. To follow more of her writing, visit www.buenqamino.com or follow her on social media, @buenqamino!

Comments

  1. OMG. That sounds like such a cool adventure. Who wouldn’t love hunting for art?

  2. Desert X sounds like lots of fun! And I love your photo with the rainbow, looks so cheerful

  3. OMG, Desert X, how have I never heard of this before! And I’ve lived here for over 40 years. The Southern California Trifecta Challenge sounds right up my alley. Bummer that the deadline has already passed. I’ll have to watch for it next year. How cool is the Doug Aitken with all the mirrors! Can’t wait to do this next year.

    • Hi Debra, if you’re in the area, then you should definitely check out some of the installations before they are gone. I absolutely love Doug Aitken’s installation (fingers crossed it stays!). And although the challenge is over, you can still visit all three climates in one day :> Cheers!

  4. I was quite confused reading it the first time so I had to read it again. I kind of got the idea after the third read, (I think LOL). I didn’t know that there is such a place in the world where you can experience three climates in one day. While I’m not very fond of art installations (just because it’s too abstract for me most of the time) the Sunday Trifecta challenge adventure sounds like a lot of fun. Hot springs, snow, desert and then the beach all in 6 hours? It’s unbelievable and something I’d for sure want to do someday!

    • Hey Noemi, thanks for reading the article all three times! Yes, California is so special in that regard. I too hope you get to visit one day, and have your own trifecta experience. As always, buen camino!

  5. Wow I will definitely visit desert x when in California. I’ve never heard about it. It seems like a fun activity and a must-do, no?

    • Hey Paulina, thanks for reading! Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, San Jacinto and the surrounding areas should definitely be on your must-visit list when you are out here.. Unfortunately, Desertx is ending this next weekend. But rumor has it, the mirror house is supposed to stay. Hopefully they will have this all again next year though 🙂

  6. I have been to Southern California and never heard of this place before. What a way to explore different climates. Your post is very elaborate and I actually got lost at it unless I read again. Awesome

  7. Desert x noted!!

  8. Ah, happens all the times with us – we forget to layer well for winters. That aside, I wish to visit California as soon as possible and I will refer back for sure for planning!

    • Hey Harsh, thanks for reading. Yes, there is a 30 degree Fahrenheit difference between the desert and snow, and we kind of ignored that fact. Due to our time sensitivity, we didn’t have much time to explore, anyway. I too hope you get to visit and enjoy California as soon as possible, and I am stoked to hear that this article will help with planning. Check out my other articles on here, if you get a chance.. I wrote one about the hot springs in Mammoth, which should also be a must-do on your list while you’re out here. As always, buen camino!

  9. Such amazing adventures! Just another reason I love visiting Southern California. One of these times I’m going to accomplish that trifecta challenge

  10. Desert X is certainly unique with mountain, desert and ocean climates. As with everything in the US, it seems well organized! I think your photo with the rainbow on a blue sky is the first time I’ve seen a rainbow picture without clouds, amazing and Instagram worthy!

    • Hey there, thanks to your comment, I went ahead and posted that photo on instagram (@buenqamino). Yes, both the art and the challenge are well-organized, and I would highly recommend checking them out. Thanks for reading, and hope you have a lovely day. As always, buen camino!

  11. Wow…now that is a lot to take in and think about. Certainly much to see in the region and makes me want to go and check it out someday. At least I can use this post as a reference to appreciate the art as I explore.

    • Hey Nicole, thanks for reading. Yes, it’s a lot of information to read and to consider. Southern California is so vast and interesting, I personally have yet to see all of it. You will definitely enjoy your time visiting the region. Crossing my fingers it’s sooner than later for you! Cheers 🙂

  12. I must get back to Southern California….love the photo with the rainbow

  13. That sounds like so much fun! When I used to live in Southern California I used to go snowboard and surfing in the same day. Everyone (outside of SoCal) thought it was crazy. I miss being able to have adventures like that.

  14. What a fun weekend– you really got after it! All the art looks interesting, but I can see why the Mirage was your favorite. It makes for some trippy photos! The snow-desert-beach day also sounds like so much fun. I’ve always thought that it was cool that you can ski and surf in the same day in California, but you actually did a version on that!

    • Hey Mel, it was a lovely weekend. Yes, Southern California is so unique and beautiful in that regard. I definitely do not take living here for granted. Thank you for reading, and for the sweet compliments 🙂

  15. What a fun weekend! I love the idea of an adult treasure hunt – and those art installations would have been incredible to see. As for the SoCal Challenge, I had never heard of it, but it’s fascinating to have the three climates so close to each other. And good work completing the three activities – it sounded like super hard work!

  16. Wow this is such a cool story, completely in love with the idea of a treasure hunt. I’ve done one in London but it certainly wasn’t as pretty as SoCal. I love the art installation by Phillip K. Smith III, all those reflective beams shooting up into the sky are magical!

  17. Desert x seems uber awesome. I would live to visit the place and follow your track.

  18. Such a great and unique article! the picture with the rainbow is out of this world! and i love all the art / design pictures as well! lovely insights! thanks for sharing

  19. I liked the Kaleidoscopic installations the best. The one feature as the cover image is so intriguing.

  20. Such an amazing travel! I have always wanted to travel to California, it seems to me a beautiful state and full of magnificent places, but seeing your post I already have clear that I must go to Southern California. Thanks for share your experience with us <3

    • Hi Kathy, thanks for reading and for your lovely compliments. I may be biased, but after traveling to over 30 countries, I still find California to be one of the prettiest and most unique places in this world. Make sure to check out some of the other articles I’ve written. I have one about Mammoth’s (northern California) hot springs, that’s also a must see/do while you’re in the golden state. Anyway, I hope you get to visit soon. As always, buen camino!

  21. digital travel guru : March 19, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Great post and photos enjoyed reading.

  22. Wicked! It sounds really wicked! I would love to do that. Maybe one day i’m going to have a chance!

  23. What a cool adventure! I’m in SoCal as well. People are always amazed by our climate! Beach, snow and desert in one day. Can’t beat that!

    • Hey Maggie, like I just replied to someone else, I never take living here for granted. It’s truly beautiful in every regard. If you have a chance, go check out DesertX before the end of this month, and or go on your own trifecta adventure. Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!

  24. What a beautiful region ! And the Spring Resort really looks amazing (Love the swimming pool) 🙂 I can’t believe how lucky you are to live in California 🙂

    • Hey Florence, thanks for reading! Southern California is spectacular, and I never take living here for granted. Yes, the Spring Resort is truly amazing and nothing can beat natural hot springs. If you get a chance, you should definitely visit. P.S. Cute hat!

  25. Finding art on a desert? If this isn’t the most hipster thing I have ever heard in my life I don’t know what is. I mean that in a good way though because honestly it sounds like my kind of adventure and it’s free?! For real?! Damn! I’d love to do a Desert X experience too!

    • Hey Marge, I don’t know if desert art installations are hipster per se, but they are pretty rad and not so uncommon here in Southern California. Think about it, the desert is barren and the biggest canvas you can possibly work with. An artist’s dream! Hopefully they will hot Desertx again next here, so you too can experience it too 🙂 Thanks for reading, and happy adventuring!

  26. Wow! Who knew?!

  27. Wow! This sounds so amazingly fun! Of course, you have had a great experience and I need to visit here. This is the first time I have come to your blog and I absolutely enjoyed reading your blog. Another thing that caught attention is your author bio. You have two master degrees! So have I. And I also nurture a deep love for writing 🙂 Thanks.

  28. What a neat idea! I had no idea there’s art installations you can check out by Coachella, almost burning man esque! Especially digging the Philip Smith wavy art piece!

  29. Thanks for an innovative idea of treasure hunt in a lesser heard place! I guess that’s what makes it a the more appealing.!

  30. This certainly does seem like an interesting idea although like a couple of the commenters above, I had to check that I had fully got to grips with the objective! Anyway, a treasure hunt for adults sounds like something that would be universally appreciated and stumbling across such cool art installations would be pretty awesome. And when it’s free, what’s not to love?

    • Hey Gareth, sorry to hear it also took you a few read throughs. But thank you for persisting 🙂 I think both concepts are definitely universally appealing and appreciated. Thanks again for reading, and happy adventuring!

  31. How cool! A treasure hunt designed to search for art sounds like an amazing experience. Something I have yet to come across. The house made of mirrors would be one to see! Southern California is beautiful. I wish to go there soon.

    • Hey Rieley, thanks for reading. Yes, Southern California is truly beautiful. I too hope you get to visit soon, and maybe the house will still be up for you to feast your eyes on. As always, Buen Camino!

  32. The circle of land and sky would be really cool to see in person. The endless tunnel is very interesting. I have seen one before and can relate to the feeling. California must truly be an amazing place to live especially with having all of the extreme climates in one area. You truly can see and do it all in a short time.

  33. It sure sounds like a lot of fun! And I love that picture with the rainbow, just great! 🙂 Don’t know what to mark out of all those things you’ve mentioned, but let’s say that live sculptures caught my eye immediately!

  34. First of all, I LOVE stumbling across cool things on Instagram – I think that it’s the purpose of the platform and you totally captured the beauty of the app by taking advantage of this (super cool) challenge! Second of all, what’re the chances that you decide to turn around and in doing so bump into one of the most vibrant rainbows, ever?! And lastly, that hollowed earth installation is something I need to be apart of.

    • Hey Jacklyn,

      I agree that you NEED to be apart of that tunnel. I am not sure where you live, but it’s going on until the 31st. Crossing my fingers that you can make it. And yes, Instagram is a fantastic platform for discovering and sharing what you see with the world. That’s why I love it.

      Cheers!

      P.S. That rainbow was insane. Oddly enough, on the other side of it (in front of me), it was literally raining/hailing. Nature is amazing.

  35. This looks awesome, so fun! We just moved to San Diego from San Francisco and I can’t wait to start exploring all the fun things to do around the area. I especially love all the sunshine and warm weather!

    Gennifer Rose

    • Hey Gennifer,

      Welcome to lovely San Diego #BlesSD! Although the bay area is just as gorgeous. If you have time week, definitely go check out the installations before they are gone. Make your way back through Anza Borrego to check out the Super Bloom while you’re at it.

      Happy adventuring!

  36. OMG….seems like you had a lot of fun. Amazing thank you for sharing. Loved teleporting to your adventure.

  37. I’ll be traveling to California in 10 days and your post is just in time. I am definitely going to try if not all at least few things. Thanks for sharing thsi post 🙂

  38. The desert has somehow always been a trendy place. Where else can you live and wear a tank top n shorts, drive 45 mins to the snow on the mountains on the way to the beach? Art has always been huge in the desert. Old Hollywood vacationed here, presidents frequent and several amazing musicians came out of the desert. Just something about the moonlight and the sand. The hot springs are amazing. Check out Bliss Chakra Spa when in the desert, they have amazing spa services and make a perfect ending to a desertX or as you call it “a trifecta day”. ☀️

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