Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Years in the Desert

The first day of 2016 is bright and sunny in the desert of Southern California. 

Years ago we partied far from the interstate, at an outcropping we called Castle Rock. Lots of wonderful, crazy memories. In more recent years the smaller outcropping, across I-10 from Desert Center, is known as Castle Rock. 

Original Castle Rock
14 years ago Harold and Emily Copeland began a tradition of honoring her mother by spending New Years Day at the "new" Castle Rock. Over the years, others from Eagle Mountain have come, and it is now an annual gathering of old friends.

This year we joined them as well.

New Castle Rock
Harold and Emily
New generation of desert lovers
Coy and Patty entertain Bill with the graceful "Dance of the Chairs"
Gathering in the desert
Jacquie, Jodee and Bobbye - so fun to get caught up with these gals!
Annual tradition of releasing balloons in memory of those we've lost with messages for the upcoming year
Up and away
Tessa less than thrilled with the booties - lots of broken glass at this spot
Several of us return to Hamby Ranch at Lake Tamarisk for a delicious meal of carne asada, pollo and tamales. More fire, photos and fun with our fabulous friends.

Mike and Bobbye
Greg and Diana
Dakota, Nicholas and Jordan - such troopers
Betsy and Molly all aglow 
We are so happy to begin this year making new memories with old friends in our old "home desert".


  1. Looks like lots of fun and a good time bringing in the new year.

  2. A great way to bring in the new year, except for the need of Tessa's booties.

  3. It really does look like a wonderful gathering of friends for a New Year in a beloved place in the desert but I would beg you and your friends to alter your tradition. Please read this message from the fish and wildlife people Balloons and Wildlife: Please Don't Release Your Balloons If the link doesn't work, please copy and past this URL. http://www.fws.gov/news/blog/index.cfm/2015/8/5/Balloons-and-Wildlife-Please-Dont-Release-Your-Balloons

    1. We mentioned it, but didn't know the family who do it each year so weren't in a position to modify the behavior. When we went back a couple days later I was very happy to see the area was pristine with no sign of new people.

  4. Sure looks like a wonderful way to bring in the New Year making new memories with old friends:) Every photo that's been posted between fb and here show the happiness on everyone's faces. Love that the next generation was included. The boulder walls make the perfect setting!!

    Tessa's boots are so cute. She must wear them for me later this month. We'll take her on a desert hike with her boots:)

    1. She got used to them pretty quickly - but the bright color made everyone laugh. We really did all have a wonderful time.

  5. What a wonderful celebratory and meaningful gathering with friends! You guys are really making the most of your travels in connecting with friends, both old and new. (I had the same thought as Sherry about the balloons -- an alternative might be giving everyone a container of bubble stuff and you can blow bubbles as you send your prayers and thoughts skyward?)

    1. When we do a similar ritual, we use bubbles or smoke, but this one wasn't ours. We've picked up "lost" mylar balloons from the bushes to dispose of later - they never biodegrade :-(

  6. Awwwww poor Tessa.. Lol... She's so adorable. Great pictures and traditions. Love the arch on Castle Rock.