Fun photos of Explore Mission Trails Day!

As event begins, community organizations set up displays on the Visitor and Interpretive Center patio.
Park rangers and community organizations set up displays on the Visitor Center patio.

This morning I headed up Mission Gorge Road to check out the big annual Explore Mission Trails Day event!

Mission Trails Regional Park is a 6000-acre nature reserve located in San Diego’s East County. It’s one of the largest urban parks in the United States–basically a wide stretch of rugged, rocky wilderness within our large modern city! The San Diego River runs through the very heart of the park as it makes its way from higher inland elevations to the Pacific Ocean. I often drive past and gaze at the low chaparral-covered mountains and hills, and twice I’ve climbed Cowles Mountain, but this was the first time I’ve actually set foot inside the Visitor Center.

What an awesome place! How did I miss it all of these years?

Today I limited myself to the south end of the park, including a short but super cool hike from the Visitor Center to the Grinding Rocks. (That will be my next blog post!) There were additional Explore Mission Trails Day activities up by the Old Mission Dam and Kumeyaay Lake Campground, and by Mast Boulevard and Highway 52. I suppose I’ll have to go again next year!

My photos tell the story of what I saw…

Banner beside Father Junipero Serra Trail announces Explore Mission Trails Day!
Banner beside Father Junipero Serra Trail announces Explore Mission Trails Day!
There were opportunities to learn about nature, wildlife, science, history and the environment.
There were opportunities to learn about nature, wildlife, science, history and the environment.
Some folks near the main entrance of the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center.
Some folks near the main entrance of the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center.
Bronze sculpture of a golden eagle is perched above path near the Visitor Center entrance.
Bronze sculpture of a golden eagle is perched above path near the Visitor Center entrance.
Plaque by door dedicates the large open space park to past, present and future San Diegans.
Plaque by door dedicates the large open space park to past, present and future San Diegans.
View inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center from second floor balcony.
View inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center from second floor balcony.
Flutists play near Heritage sculpture depicting Kumeyaay elders. Amazing monumental artwork is by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson.
Flutists play near “Heritage” sculpture depicting native Kumeyaay elders. Amazing monumental artwork is by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson.
The Art of Bird Photography is a special exhibition featuring the work of Blake Shaw.
The Art of Bird Photography is a special exhibition featuring the work of Blake Shaw.
Roberta Labastida is the author of My Ancestors' Village, which tells about the life of the native Kumeyaay people who were here long before the arrival of Europeans.
Roberta Labastida is the author of My Ancestors’ Village, which tells about the life of the Kumeyaay people who were here long before the arrival of Europeans.
Numerous exhibits and activities could be found inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center.
Numerous exhibits and activities could be found inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center.
Western Scrub Jay and Northern Racoon are animals one might see in this very large San Diego urban park.
Western Scrub Jay and Northern Racoon are animals one might see in this very large San Diego urban park.
Cleaning some chalk off where kids have been identifying animal tracks.
Cleaning some chalk off where kids have been identifying animal tracks.
The bobcat is often encountered in the hills and mountains of San Diego County. I once saw one while hiking around Mount Laguna!
The bobcat is often encountered in the hills and mountains of San Diego County. I once saw one while hiking around Mount Laguna!
Historically, the Kumeyaay lived in large family groups, and moved about depending on the season and the availability of nature's bounty.
Historically, the Kumeyaay lived in large family groups, and moved about depending on the season and the availability of nature’s bounty.
Exhibits in Visitor Center's museum show different aspects of Kumeyaay culture, including songs, games and crafts.
Exhibits in Visitor Center’s museum show different aspects of Kumeyaay culture, including songs, games and crafts.
Very cool observation window allows visitors to look out upon South Fortuna and Kwaay Paay Peak.
Very cool observation window allows visitors to look out upon South Fortuna and Kwaay Paay Peak.
With the majestic chaparral-covered Fortuna Mountains as its backdrop, the coastal sage scrub habitat is highly adapted to our long hot summers.
With the majestic chaparral-covered Fortuna Mountains as its backdrop, the coastal sage scrub habitat is highly adapted to our long hot summers.
Looking back out at the outdoor patio. More people have arrived in the past few minutes while I explored inside.
Looking back out at the rear patio. More people have arrived in the past few minutes while I explored inside.
Now I'm outside again, coming down some steps. Another overcast day, following San Diego's latest storm!
Now I’m outside again, coming down some steps. Another cloudy day, following San Diego’s latest storm!
Replicated flume near Visitor Center is a modern interpretation of the man-made channel that carried water from the old Mission Dam (a couple miles upriver) to Mission San Diego de Alcala.
Replicated flume near Visitor Center is a modern interpretation of the man-made channel that carried water from the Old Mission Dam (a couple miles upriver) to Mission San Diego de Alcala.
Sign by replicated flume details how it was engineered. Water was used at the old Mission for livestock, farms and inhabitants.
Sign by replicated flume details how it was engineered over two centuries ago. Water was used at the old historic Mission for livestock, farms and inhabitants.
Cool table full of meteorites next to traditional Kumeyaay house made of willow branches.
Cool table full of meteorites next to traditional Kumeyaay house made of willow branches.
This sign tells the story of a fictional Kumeyaay woman, circa the year 1000. This primitive house was called an Ewaa.
This sign tells the story of a fictional Kumeyaay woman, circa the year 1000. This primitive house was called an Ewaa.
Large boulder moved to Visitor Center due to construction contains a mortar-like hole used by Kumeyaay to grind acorns, seeds, roots, herbs and other foods.
Large boulder moved to Visitor Center due to construction contains a mortar-like hole used by Kumeyaay to grind acorns, seeds, roots, herbs and other natural foods.
A replicated solar calendar made of stones used by Native Americans to mark the Winter Solstice. Only a couple have been found in San Diego County.
A replicated solar calendar made of stones, used by Native Americans to mark the Winter Solstice. Only a couple have been found in San Diego County.
This beauty is a California Wild Rose, found beside the patio. You more often find them along streams.
This pink beauty is a California Wild Rose, found beside the patio. They’re more often found along streams.
Lady rests in Visitor Center amphitheater by small bronze sculpture of a Dusky-footed Woodrat. These wild rodents can create nests up to 8 feet high!
Lady rests in Visitor Center amphitheater by small bronze sculpture of a Dusky-footed Woodrat. This wild rodent can create a nest up to 8 feet high!
Sculpture of a coyote, one the top predators of Mission Trails Regional Park. Even with human encroachment, they remain numerous today.
Sculpture of a coyote, one the top predators of Mission Trails Regional Park. Even with human encroachment, they remain numerous today.
Family checks out a very cool sculpture of a mountain lion at the amphitheater. This secretive animal is rarely seen around here.
Family checks out a very cool, life-size sculpture of a mountain lion at the amphitheater. This secretive animal is rarely seen around here.
Ms. Frizzle was present at Explore Mission Trails Day! The event was an educational treat for both kids and adults!
Ms. Frizzle was present at Explore Mission Trails Day! The event was an educational treat for both kids and adults!

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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