Nature’s beauty on a west Santee walk.

I took the following photographs today during a long looping walk around the west half of Santee.

From the Santee Trolley Square transit station I headed north up Cuyamaca Street, then west along Mast Boulevard to the East Fortuna Staging Area at Mission Trails Regional Park. After taking a short hike in the park, I headed south down West Hills Parkway and back east to the trolley station via Mission Gorge Road.

During the walk through Santee I snapped these photographs. Much of the walk was past homes, schools and businesses, but there were also these glimpses of natural beauty. (Additional photos that I’ll post in the next day or two include my short Mission Trails hike, an unusual historical monument, and very unique public artwork.)

The following three photos were taken as I walked down Mast Boulevard over Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. Far below, in the middle of Lake 2, two white pelicans were standing on a rock. I also saw dozens of swallows flying out from beneath the bridge, but the tiny birds darted about so swiftly I was unable to capture a good photograph of them. You can see one swallow zipping by in this first photo…

As I walked down Mast Boulevard under State Route 52, I saw an indication that I had almost reached Mission Trails Regional Park.

Then I headed into the East Fortuna Staging Area. From the entrance driveway and parking lot I took photographs of the mountains beyond trees lining the San Diego River, and some sycamore leaves.

Walking south down West Hills Parkway took me to the place where State Route 52 passes over the San Diego River…

Finally, where State Route 125 meets Mission Gorge Road, I was surprised to find a large, beautiful patch of California’s State Flower: the golden California poppy. (Incidentally, last Tuesday, April 6 was officially California Poppy Day!)

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!

Trust Me . . . it’s a cool downtown mural!

It’s interesting that only a small fraction of street murals I spot around San Diego have a commercial origin. But one such mural that was painted about a month ago I’d like to share, because it’s undeniably cool!

The artwork was created by Evgeniya Golik (@evgola), a Russian born artist who resides in San Diego. She describes her work as pop-surrealist, or Neo-Renaissance. Her fantastic pieces are often on display in local galleries and regional art museums. You can learn more about her artistic inspirations and accomplishments at her website here.

This particular mural can be found downtown on the south wall of Mixon Liquor & Deli, on 1st Avenue just north of Ash Street. It advertises Trust Me Vodka.

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Hidden mural celebrates Little Italy!

There’s a hidden mural very few people see that celebrates downtown’s Little Italy community.

Neither drivers nor pedestrians can see it well, unless they head down little-used, alley-like California Street just south of Laurel Street.

I first saw this Little Italy mural because I often ride the Green Line trolley. As the San Diego Trolley rises high in the air to pass over busy Laurel Street, passengers looking down can see the artwork on a parking lot wall. The small lot is located behind a Valero gas station and Fairway Golf USA store, which are both on Pacific Highway.

I walked down California Street last weekend to get a good look at this great mural. It depicts the Little Italy landmark sign above fishing boats in a row by a pier.

Little Italy was once a center of the tuna fishing industry, which was very big in San Diego for much of the 20th century.

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El Chavo and La Chilindrina appear in City Heights!

Look at the characters I spotted during a recent walk through City Heights. El Chavo and La Chilindrina!

The two were hanging out early in the morning near the corner of University Avenue and 37th Street!

Many murals have been painted along this corridor of City Heights–which has become a very colorful outdoor art gallery–but these two I hadn’t seen previously. It appears they were another fun project of Love City Heights and #theavenuemuralproject!

El Chavo pops out of a barrel on a door in City Heights!
La Chilindrina licks a lollipop in a City Heights mural!

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 spring walk down Robyn’s Egg Trail.

A couple weekends ago I took photos as I walked down Robyn’s Egg Trail in Mission Hills.

The hiking trail begins north of Pioneer Park by Washington Place. It descends first west then southwest along the bottom of narrow Mission Hills Canyon, and finally ends by some homes on Titus Street. It runs perhaps half a mile. From nearby Pringle Street I then walked a block down to San Diego Avenue.

Robyn’s Egg Trail in spring is very green. A variety of flowers can be spotted here and there and birds are plentiful. The rough trail winds through grass, trees, prickly pear and other vegetation–some of it native, some of it invading the canyon from the backyards of the homes above. This trail in the city feels a bit wild. Few people seem to use it.

Should you try hiking Robyn’s Egg Trail, please be careful. In many places the path is badly eroded and merges with a stony creek bed. I suspect that during rains it’s very muddy. Even on a sunny spring day, there were narrow and steep places where I could have easily slipped and fallen.

You can see the trail marked on Google Maps.

During my walk I encountered one friendly lady walking her dog, and one homeless person who acted a bit odd. But otherwise I found quiet.

Robyn’s Egg Trail is a retreat from the city above into a small slice of nature.

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!

Gravestones at Pioneer Park in Mission Hills.

Pioneer Park is a city park in Mission Hills that’s popular with neighborhood families and children. It features a playground, green grass, many shady trees . . . and well over a thousand unseen graves. If you don’t wander into the southeast corner of the park, you might never know it’s also a cemetery.

Pioneer Park was originally Calvary Cemetery. The Catholic cemetery was established in the 1870s, then converted a century later into a Mission Hills community park. According to this article: “All the 800-odd memorial markers were taken away in the 1970s except for a line of tombstones left on the park’s edge. Left as a memorial, they’re still there…” Sadly, the gravestones that had been removed were callously dumped by those then living into a ravine at distant Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Many of San Diego’s earliest residents remain buried under the grass at Pioneer Park. Even after the passage of many years, surviving gravestones show historically important names like Cave Johnson Couts and Father Antonio Ubach. But all of the names are gradually fading away. Time does that.

Six nearby plaques list the names of those who are interred in the park, and it is said there might be many more.

On any given day, life goes on cheerfully above the grass. And beneath it lie the remains of those who once lived, dreamed, toiled and loved exactly like you and me.

Here are some photographs, to provoke thought, and to help preserve a little history…

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Colorful murals at new Old Town Urban Market!

Some very colorful murals have recently appeared in Old Town at the corner of Twiggs Street and Congress Street!

The two newly decorated walls used to enclose Miranda’s Courtyard, which I blogged about many years ago here. The property is being redeveloped into Old Town Urban Market, which is scheduled to open this summer.

The artwork was painted by “memuco” Guillermo Munro, whose other murals can be enjoyed here.

The murals depict Frida Kahlo, a tree full of positive messages, Día de los Muertos imagery, and some of the historical buildings in Old Town San Diego.

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!

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Keep Going (and eat some pizza)!

Two colorful murals decorate the south end of the new 2100 Kettner office building in Little Italy!

One, facing the railroad tracks, encourages everyone to KEEP GOING. Perhaps it should have been written in reverse, because drivers motoring down one-way Hawthorn Street will only see it in their rear view mirrors!

Fortunately, those same drivers by looking to their right will clearly see a playful image of a young skateboarder chillin’ and eating a slice of pizza. The cool street art is by Bumblebee, a well known Los Angeles based artist!

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Old Town’s plaza cannon in for repairs!

If you’ve wondered what happened to the cannon that usually stands near the center of Old Town San Diego’s central grass plaza, I learned on Saturday that it’s in for repairs!

The old cannon’s wooden carriage is being restored at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s blacksmith shop.

Seven years ago I blogged about this particular cannon here. I had read at the time it was called El Capitan, and that it was one of two cannons still remaining from the Spanish Fort Guijarros that was built in 1797 at Ballast Point near the entrance to San Diego Bay.

The other cannon, cast in Manila in the 18th century, is called El Jupiter. That one is on display in the Serra Museum atop Presidio Hill. Find a photo of that cannon here.

As you can see, the two cannons do not appear identical. I was told by a friendly gentleman working in the blacksmith shop that this Old Town plaza cannon has a less certain history than its companion El Jupiter. He said there are indications it might have been made in England. We surmised it might have been taken by the Spanish during a conflict at sea. Its exact origin seems to be a mystery.

If you’d like to see this mysterious cannon and its carriage and ask your own questions, head over to the blacksmith shop on a weekend when they are likely to be open. And linger to watch the smiths hammering away at red hot iron!

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!

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A look at the Alfred Haines House in Golden Hill.

Yesterday my long walk included a stretch through Golden Hill. As I headed back down E Street, I enjoyed viewing the handsome exterior of the historic Alfred Haines House.

This renowned Craftsman-style home, built in 1908 for San Diego Judge Alfred Haines, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Master Architects William, Charles and Edward Quayle designed the house.

The Quayle Brothers are responsible for many other notable structures in San Diego, including the Neo-Classical style Salt Lake and Union Pacific Building, which used to stand east of the Organ Pavilion during the 1915 Panama‐California Exposition. They designed the North Park Theatre in 1928 and the San Diego Police Department in 1939. They also designed San Diego’s historic Balboa Stadium (originally called City Stadium) for the Panama-California Exposition. It was the second concrete stadium built west of the Mississippi River.

If you want to see photos of the Alfred Haines House’s very elegant interior, click 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!

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!