Staff Pick Roy P. Drachman--Agua Caliente Regional Park
For many of us who jones for a nature fix and seek outdoor solace close to home, this little eastside Eden soothes the savage beast and settles the nerves. The area's decade-long drought has taken a toll, and not all of the three lagoons are at high water mark presently. But there's booty enough to make a visit worthwhile as the underground springs that feed the lake basins continue to provide enough wetness to attract ducks and other fly-in visitors; the turtles seem content enough, and some of the finned population remains hiding in the cattails that surround the waters. Other visitors stay hidden during the heat of the day, but make their presence known early and late when they appear to bathe or drink. There is a tree-lined path with bench seating for those with lower metabolism who want to watch the world go by. And to add a cherry on top of this desert dessert, the price of admission involves only pure thoughts and a respect for this little piece of our planet, which is ready to welcome the stressed and depressed with a battery recharge that proves just how valuable these little green belts are to a growing urban populace.