Visiting the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway.

Once a month, every third Saturday, the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway opens to the public.

Today I enjoyed a tour of the archaeological site and its educational visitor center. I was surprised to find so much history preserved in this small island of natural beauty just off Poway Road.

Poway is derived from the Native American Kumeyaay word Pauwai, which means arrowhead, or merging of two waters or two valleys. A short distance to the south is Poway Creek.

As you will see in the following photographs, a small Kumeyaay village of approximately 20 families once lived on the hill that I and my docent tour guide, Heidi, explored. The nomadic Kumeyaay would camp here from October through May.

The Kumeyaay people have lived in this region for at least 10,000 years. These first people had their lives severely disrupted with the arrival of Europeans in 1769. Today, descendants of those who lived in Pauwai are members of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians.

Please enjoy the following photos to get a taste of what you might discover when you visit. Read the captions for a few of the things I learned.

Are you a local history or anthropology enthusiast? Or a community-minded person who loves the outdoors? The Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center is always looking for volunteers!

Check out their Facebook page and learn about the special days and hours when you can visit here.

Sign at the end of Ipai Waaypuk Trail, south of Poway Road, where there is parking.
Kiosk welcomes visitors to an important historical site.
My tour guide Heidi starts up stairs that lead to short looping trails.
At the Replica Village in a clearing stand several recreated Kumeyaay ewaas. These are shelters made of sycamore or willow tree branches, covered with cattails or baccharis, and tied with yucca or agave fiber string. These replica ewaas are old and need to be refurbished. The Kumeyaay would refresh their watertight ewaas regularly. A grinding stone, or metate, lies nearby.
This nearest ewaa was recently reconstructed. Volunteers who’d like to maintain this special place are welcome!
Heading up to the top of the hill along a very short, moderately steep section of trail.
I’m shown Wild Cucumber. Like many native plants, it had various practical uses. Seeds ground into a powder by the Kumeyaay were added to pigments to create rock art. The crushed roots, when tossed into water, would paralyze fish!
In the distance we could see Mt. Woodson, Iron Mountain, and Cuyamaca Peak. Depending on the season, the Kumeyaay would migrate east to the mountains or west to the Pacific Ocean coast.
One of several outdoor ramadas built for visitors to the Interpretive Center. Historical ramadas erected by the Kumeyaay were shady places for village activities and ceremonies.
It was thought that rock art might be found on these monumental boulders crowning the hilltop, but a thorough study using modern technology detected no traces.
A wise Kumeyaay observer found in this rock formation a whale, a turtle, and the head of a dolphin. Do you see them?
A nearby fire pit once used by the Kumeyaay villagers.
Soot remains in this natural rocky oven. A crack in the rear conveniently served as a flue for smoke.
Cooking stones would be heated in the fire, then placed in baskets to prepare food.
Many small broken pottery sherds have been found near this primitive kitchen.
At the top of the hill are very deep grinding holes, or morteros, where acorns were ground for thousands of years. After being reduced to powder, the acorns would be leached of tannic acid and cooked into a mush called shawii.
A important cultural site representing thousands of years of indigenous history in Poway.
A Coast Live Oak beside the trail. One of several types of oak trees in the San Diego region. Acorns were a staple of the Kumeyaay diet.
As I and my tour guide walk back down the trail, another group heads up toward the hilltop.
A hollow Elderberry branch. Not surprisingly, these were used to make musical instruments such as flutes.
Some of the rugged natural beauty that we enjoyed.
At another ramada replica, we saw a series of genuine metates that Third Grade students can use during educational field trips! These metates were rescued during road construction many years ago and were donated to the Interpretive Center.
There is much to learn about Kumeyaay tools, food, basket weaving, pottery and more!
Third Grade students use these small stones to paint their own rock art!
We head into the building at the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center to learn even more!
Look at all the smiling docents!
Dorothy M. Tavui was a Kumeyaay friend who helped to establish the Interpretive Center in Poway.
Shelves full of artifacts that kids can explore and handle to learn about Kumeyaay life.
A willow basket full of acorns. The long conical acorns are from Coast Live Oaks. The big acorns are from Black Oaks in the Cuyamaca Mountains. They were the largest and tastiest! The abalone shells you also see were obtained from the coast and often used as trade items.
Old photo of a 6 foot tall willow basket! Acorns would be gathered in season to last the entire year.
Sandals made of natural plant fibers.
I learned this is a seed beater! It’s being demonstrated on dried blooms of sage.
A beautiful mural inside the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway shows what village life was like here for many thousands of years. By artist Brigitte Lopez, 2012.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Wavy, twisted metal poles spell ART!

Observe this series of photographs and you’ll see some of the coolest public art in San Diego!

Viewed from one particular spot, these twisty wavy metal poles rising 25 feet above the beach turn into the word ART!

The delightful sculpture, titled Banner Art, was created by John Banks in 2006. It was commissioned by the Port of San Diego and the City of Imperial Beach.

You can find this optical revelation near the corner of Imperial Beach Boulevard and Seacoast Drive.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Life and history at the Oceanside Pier.

Walk along the Oceanside Pier and you’ll encounter life. You’ll see walkers, bicyclists, people gazing across the water, talking, fishing, and beachgoers and surfers down below. If you have a curious mind and observant eyes, you’ll also discover history.

I walked along the popular pier on Labor Day and took these photos.

You can read the following historical plaques, if you’d like. Those many names carved into the wood railing were from a community fundraiser, whose proceeds were used to rebuild the pier in 1988, the year of its centennial.

The Oceanside Pier was originally built in 1888 and destroyed two years later by winter storms. Over the years, there have been six different incarnations. Today the pier is 1,942 feet long. You can learn more about its history here.

Oceanside Municipal Fishing Pier. Reconstruction 1987.
Oceanside Pier. 1925. Historic Resource 4-204.

Check out this very cool fish-shaped bike rack! I saw it down by the beachside boardwalk.

Some benches near the foot of the pier memorialize loved ones…

Just a few of the many names on the weathered wood rails along the length of the pier…

Across from the concession shack, with its souvenirs, snacks and bait, you’ll find a collage of faded photographs.

Cherished memories over the years. Happy days fishing…

Ruby’s Diner at the end of the pier permanently closed early this year after three decades of operation. A sign indicated the building will return to life in the future.

History goes on.

Why the many flags nearby? It’s Labor Day, 2021.

Another fine day passes by. Time to head back…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Art, wisdom and unity at the City Heights Library.

A man called King once had a dream. A dream of man caring for fellowman, limited only by the boundaries of time and space, echoed by men and women through time. A love without limits. Art and Poetry – Jihmye Collins, 1998.

At the City Heights/Weingart Library, in the City Heights Urban Village, colorful art and wise words greet patrons as they approach the front door.

The artwork and poetry were created by Jihmye Collins in 1998.

Learn more about Jihmye, his life and work, here.

Approaching the City Heights Library on Fairmount Avenue.
Vivir! To live!
Celestial fragrance consumes universal air…
Patterned tile mosaics and faces.
Sometimes I dream a dream of totally finding myself multiplied by the peoples and kindreds of the earth…
World Unity.
I dance on the brink of the world. I hear your drum…
A circle containing diverse symbols.
…your creativity, your mind and compassion…
Many children at play together.
A wall full of life and wisdom.
Reading colors your world!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A festive mural in San Ysidro!

I really like this festive mural painted in San Ysidro late last year by Michelle Ruby, aka Mrbbaby. The colorful character you see above is named Chucho!

Find this mural on the side of the Carolin Shoes building at 660 E. San Ysidro Boulevard!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A beautiful hidden mural in San Ysidro!

A beautiful mural painted on a long wooden fence can be found in a “hidden” spot in San Ysidro. It’s off the beaten track, near the intersection of Cypress Drive and Hall Avenue. I’ve documented several other murals along alley-like Cypress Drive, near Casa Familiar, during past walks. But this artwork appears to be relatively new.

The spray painted mural contains much colorful imagery, from an octopus and ocean waves to a hummingbird and prickly pear and the moon and brilliant jewels and a human figure among clouds and a rainbow. I looked for an artist’s signature but didn’t see one.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Crazy wind sculptures in Solana Beach!

Look at this!

I was walking on Sunday through the Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach when my eyes were drawn by twirling, whirling movement tucked between two buildings. I had stumbled upon a fantastic garden of kinetic wind sculptures at the Exclusive Collections Gallery!

As I walked among the wind sculptures, I felt I had entered some huge, elaborate mechanical clockwork. Or a crazy carnival funhouse! The spinning, turning, wheeling sculptures were everywhere around me. Even the shadows were delightfully fun!

After looking at the Exclusive Collections website, I believe these very inventive pieces were created by Lyman Whitaker.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Love at the Dog Beach Memorial Garden.

Del Mar’s Dog Beach is a place where dogs run free and pure love flourishes. At the Dog Beach Memorial Garden, expressions of that love are made visible.

Small smooth stones are painted with the names of beloved dogs. The garden is filled with angels, butterflies, poems, flowers . . . and gnomes, pink flamingos and other fun decorations.

I walked down from Camino Del Mar through this special Memorial Garden when I visited Dog Beach last weekend for the Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon. (If you missed it, you can see those dog surfing photos here!)

Please enjoy the following photographs…

Gracie, Buster, Missy, Bronx, Toby, Scout, Paisley, Wolfie, Cabo, Solana, Macey…
We will meet again at the Rainbow Bridge.
Love equals licks.
Hope blooms in the garden of love.
Live simply and be grateful.
Loved ones memorialized simply.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Dogs surf freestyle in Del Mar!

The world-famous 2021 Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon was held today in Del Mar!

The non-stop surfing action took place at Dog Beach, and dozens of furry athletes did their best to score style points as they conquered the waves and entertained the crowd in support of Helen Woodward Animal Center.

The surfing I observed was freestyle. That meant two or three dogs per surfboard! Whether contestants faced forward or backward seemed unimportant!

I took the following photos of this amazing canine sporting event for your enjoyment and amusement. Yes, it’s all a bit silly, even crazy. But you know what? It was evident that the excited dogs were having a blast! Many were jumping back toward the ocean the moment they landed on the sand!

If you’d like to help rescue dogs and other critters find a loving home, support the Helen Woodward Animal Center by clicking here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Inspiring murals celebrate human resilience.

Resilience, by Lydia Puentes Phillips.

A couple of murals that celebrate human resilience are presently on display at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

The two murals are an offshoot of the 1000 Cranes Project, that sought to bring strength and comfort to those isolated during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This modest exhibition concerning one very important topic was originally part of a pop up museum at the Beardsley Event Center in Barrio Logan. Now those who visit the Japanese Friendship Garden can enjoy the inspiring artwork.

Resilience, by David Lee.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!