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Unexpected Treasure | Temple Texas Photographer

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

Travel Photography from Texas to California

In late February 2022, our Military Life (my husband served in the Army) came to an end after 5 years together. We are free and to say it is bittersweet; isn't quite enough. So while waiting for our home to be built in Temple, Texas (set to be done in November 2021 - queue crickets), we decided to stay with family in California. The 18 month old was graciously flown out to California by my Mother-In-Law beforehand. Not all heroes wear capes, am I right? We packed up our 9 year old, our cat Boots and anything we could cram in the car and hit the road.

One of my favorite things in life, (aside from racing the sun) is stumbling upon treasure accidentally. Heading on an impromptu change of paths to San Diego, we came out near the outskirts of Saguaro National Park located on either side of Tucson, Arizona. The park is named after the LARGE Saguaro Cactus, native to this desert environment.

Large is honestly an understatement. As you can see by the cell phone picture to the left, it is about 3.5 times taller than I am (and I am 5'9")!

I know, I know. What kind of photographer uses her cellphone on a road trip? Honestly, I have tried my best to stop pressurizing the perfect shot when I am adventuring with my family and to be as present in that moment as possible. Stressing about the best lighting, the best equipment, the best placement, rules of three, etc. really can take the fun out of living in a moment genuinely.

For me personally, I find something really healing about being in the desert. Surrounded by vast emptiness can be the perfect way to find whatever it is that you are searching for: yourself, closure, peace, answers, silence... anything you need. That is beautiful thing about the desert, you never know what you may find. I guarantee that you will not leave the desert the same person.

Skirting the Mexico/California border, still en route to San Diego, we began racing toward the Laguna Mountains to beat a sandstorm that would have left us stranded until it passed. What a perfect place for windmills, right?

As we ventured up the Laguna Mountains, visibility was maintained but the wind roared through the rocks and winding roads creating a permanent whistle. Whipping through the mountains, curve by curve; in the corner of my eye I saw string lights hoisted in the top of the mountain. Unable to let it go, we veered off the highway and up the mountain. To our great fortune, we happened upon this little known Gem in Jacumba, California - Desert View Tower.

Wrestling the entrance door against the wind; we thrusted ourselves in and even though it was closed - we were welcomed.

The Desert View Tower is an imposing 70-foot tall rock tower that provides an expansive view of the boulder-filled mountains of East San Diego County. The structure oversees the Imperial County desert from a prominent 3,000 feet above sea level. A site for sore sandy eyes.

Since the 80's, the Desert View Tower & adjacent Boulder Park have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's easy to see why - with accumulated historical pictures, artifacts, crystals, post-cards, stones, HOUSEPLANTS (sorry not for sale), folk art and the quirky construction of the tower itself. Make sure to say "Hi" to the porch cat; he works hard by keeping one sleepy eye open to watch over the place. Here is the view from on top of the world:

If you have time, walk around the property - it has extra-ordinary beauty & character. Unique boulders with painted/carved animals, line the path to another overlook.

Don't be alarmed, on the way up to the property, you will encounter a UFO repair shop. See for yourself!

To conclude this trip up to Northern California, (Bay Area), we stayed the night in San Diego and made a quick break for lunch at Tabitha Brown's Vegan Café, Kale My Name in Los Angeles. If you have never heard of her, you are missing out, "but that's your business".

The taco plate did not come that messy, I couldn't help myself to the food before I remembered to take a picture. Yummmmmmm.

This concludes our adventure to California from Texas in February 2022. Stay Adventurous folks, you never know what is out there unless you go looking for it.

Stay Tuned & Stay Adventurous!


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