Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Guy Fleming Trail.

Guy Fleming Trail sign on Torrey Pines Park Road.
Guy Fleming Trail sign on Torrey Pines Park Road.

My very, very, very favorite place in all of San Diego County is Torrey Pines State Reserve. It’s located along the Pacific Ocean in northern La Jolla, between the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course and Del Mar. I took a trip there this morning! I got so many pics, I’ll break my visit up into several blog posts!

Let me start by taking you around the Guy Fleming Trail loop.

There are many hiking trails to explore in Torrey Pines State Reserve. Reaching this particular trailhead requires a short hike or drive from the entrance gate up steep Torrey Pines Park Road. As you head on up, you see numerous pine trees growing atop and clinging to eroded sandstone cliffs. These are the endangered Torrey pines (Pinus torreyana). They can only be found here and on the small island of Santa Rosa, off the coast of Santa Barbara. A good concentration of them can be seen on the Guy Fleming Trail.

Diversity amid adversity on the Guy Fleming Trail.
Diversity amid adversity on the Guy Fleming Trail.

Here we’ve stepped onto the looping 2/3 mile easy level trail. We’re going to proceed counterclockwise. Look at the sign. It reads: The Guy Fleming Trail features a variety of habitats and rare plants. Where else in the world can you find cacti and ferns growing side-by-side under the canopy of a Torrey Pine tree? As you walk along this trail, consider the variety of biomes that you see and factors that create them. Not only must plants adapt to southern California’s climate of hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters, but also variables of solar exposure, salt-laden winds, and erosion.

Trail passes under many endangered Torrey pines.
Trail passes under many endangered Torrey pines.
Twisted branches of Torrey pines in the State Reserve.
Wind-twisted branches of Torrey pines in the State Reserve.
Walkers pause to enjoy a breathtaking ocean view.
Walkers pause to enjoy a breathtaking ocean view.

Here we are emerging above the wide Pacific Ocean. These ladies are gazing off into the blue distance. As I came up to them today, they asked excitedly: “Did you see the whale?” A gray whale migrating back northward to the Bering Sea was lingering just beyond the breakers, touching the surface and spouting every few minutes! This whale seemed to be heading north from Mexico a bit late. It’s almost May!

Looking north near a scenic overlook on the Guy Fleming Trail.
Looking north near a scenic overlook on the Guy Fleming Trail.

This is one reason why Torrey Pines State Reserve is one of my all-time favorite places. Incredible views!  You can see a portion of Los Peñasquitos Marsh Natural Preserve and Lagoon.

Torrey Pines State Reserve entrance gate far below.
Torrey Pines State Reserve entrance gate far below.
Mojave yucca grow beside amazing trail at edge of steep cliff.
Mojave yucca grow beside amazing trail at edge of steep cliff.

Now we’re heading south along the edge of the cliff. Torrey Pines State Beach is far below. When it’s possible to spy beach-goers, they’re very tiny!

Yellow sea dahlias high above foaming breakers.
Yellow sea dahlias high above foaming breakers.

You can’t hear the crashing waves, but the mighty expanse of
ocean seen from above makes a lasting impression!

Pink sand verbenas add bright color to a beautiful walk.
Pink sand verbenas add bright color to a beautiful walk.

It’s springtime and many native flowers are in bloom. These dry, brittle hillsides are covered with coastal sagebrush and chaparral and during the dry summer can appear quite brown and desolate.

Trail heading down toward another scenic overlook.
Trail heading down toward another scenic overlook.
Looking south over a sculpted sandstone canyon.
Looking south over a sculpted sandstone canyon.

Another fantastic view. Many beautifully eroded sandstone canyons run through the State Reserve.  You’ll see more in upcoming blog posts.

A glance back toward the ocean and a lone walker.
A glance back toward the ocean and a lone walker.

We’ve nearly come full circle. The sunshine and warm ocean breeze, the views, majestic Torrey pines, cacti and flowers…you really need to walk the Guy Fleming Trail to fully experience its magnificence!

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Some cool pics of the Imperial Beach pier.

Abstract surfboards welcome people to Imperial Beach pier.
Abstract surfboards welcome people to Imperial Beach pier. This public art is titled Surfhenge, by local artist Malcolm Jones.

Imperial Beach lies south of downtown San Diego, at the extreme southwest corner of the continental United States. The Imperial Beach pier is just a few miles from Mexico. This beach community is a perfect example of laid-back southern California, mostly just locals kicking back, a smattering of tourists, and a good vibe all around. The days are sunny and people are friendly.

Come stroll with me toward the pier and let’s see what’s going on!

Colorful surfboard arches frame a pier visitor.
Colorful acrylic surfboard arches frame a pier visitor. Surfhenge was dedicated in 1999.
Lifeguard tower behind palm trees and flags.
Lifeguard tower behind palm trees and flags.
Benches near the pier are made of surfboards!
Benches near the pier are made of many different style surfboards, representing different eras of the sport.
Imperial Beach pier beckons from the sand.
Imperial Beach pier beckons from the sand.
A few people on the beach on a spring weekday morning.
A few people on the beach on a spring weekday morning.
Looking down the length of the Imperial Beach pier.
Looking down the length of the Imperial Beach pier.
Fisherman cuts bait at one of the public sinks.
Fisherman cuts bait at one of the public sinks.
Gazing down at the blue Pacific on a nice day.
Gazing down at the blue Pacific on a nice day.
Approaching the Tin Fish restaurant at the end of the pier.
Approaching the Tin Fish restaurant at the end of the pier.
Window of Tin Fish restaurant at end of Imperial Beach pier.
Window of Tin Fish restaurant at end of Imperial Beach pier.
Pier pilings rise from an emerald ocean.
Pier pilings rise from an emerald ocean.

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Surfers ride waves near Imperial Beach pier.

Surfer rides a wave just below the Imperial Beach pier.
Surfer rides a wave just below the Imperial Beach pier.

Wow! Check out this first cool pic! Did that come out great, or what?

I’m in the middle of my week off from work, and today I went to Coronado again and biked down the Silver Strand to Imperial Beach. I’ve got more photos than you can shake a stick at!

What a beautiful day. I stood on the pier at a spot between the beach and breaking waves and tried to photograph a group of surfers below. Most of action was too far away for my little camera, but a few pics seem worth sharing…

Surfers wait for the perfect wave near Imperial Beach pier.
Surfers wait for the perfect wave near Imperial Beach pier.
Surfer gets ready to go for a ride.
Surfer gets ready to go for a ride.
Surfer riding a nice wave on a sunny day.
Surfer riding a nice wave on a sunny day.
Guy on surfboard just coasting along the foamy ocean surface.
Guy on surfboard just coasting along the foamy ocean surface.
No fishing in the surf zone on Imperial Beach pier.
No fishing in the surf zone on Imperial Beach pier.

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MOOPA ArtWall mural in San Diego’s East Village.

Part of Museum of Outdoor Photographic Art's mural on F Street.
Part of Museum of Outdoor Photographic Art’s mural on F Street.

On F Street, one block west of SMARTS farm (see my last blog post), San Diegans can enjoy a huge public mural. Created by the Museum of Outdoor Photographic Art (MOOPA), the photo ArtWall covers the upper portion of the old Jerome’s Warehouse between 14th and 15th Street.

The mural features the work of three photographers. Matt Black’s photos feature a village in the Mixteca, an impoverished area in Mexico. Susan Madden Lankford’s photos show the streets of San Diego and contain many diverse portraits. A simple photo of a cone flower in the center of the mural, linking north and south, is the work of Polly Lankford Smith.

Face peers over treetops from large MOOPA ArtWall.
Face peers over treetops from large MOOPA ArtWall.
Segment of gigantic mural in downtown San Diego.
Segment of gigantic mural in downtown San Diego.
Walking along the rails on wall of abandoned warehouse.
Walking along the rails on the upper wall of an old warehouse.
Photography records face in time in San Diego.
Amazing photography records a face in time.
Another example of art in downtown's East Village.
Another example of art in downtown’s vibrant East Village.
Old Jerome's warehouse on F Street features the huge mural.
Old Jerome’s warehouse on F Street features the huge mural.
Public art includes farm workers on the empty city warehouse.
Public art in San Diego’s East Village  includes farm workers.
Photo of child in a mask is part of MOOPA mural.
Photo of child in a mask is part of MOOPA mural.
Playing a tuba on F Street between 14th and 15th.
Playing a tuba on F Street between 14th and 15th.
Museum of Outdoor Photographic Art's ArtWall is in East Village.
Museum of Outdoor Photographic Art’s ArtWall is a very cool sight.
East side of old Jerome's warehouse across from SMART farms.
East side of old Jerome’s warehouse across from SMART farms.

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East Village’s SMARTS Farm, a cool urban garden!

A friendly greeting from the folks at downtown's SMARTS farm.
A friendly greeting from the folks at downtown’s SMARTS Farm.

This morning I headed out for a short walk along F Street in downtown San Diego’s East Village, with the intention of photographing some awesome murals and street art. As I was strolling along, my feet carried me into a super cool place I really hadn’t noticed before.

SMARTS Farm is an urban garden run by the nonprofit organization Humane Smarts. In addition to being a community garden, SMARTS Farm offers educational programs aimed at local kids. Children plant their own produce, watch it grow and learn about our environment. Photography classes are also offered!

How appropriate that I randomly discovered this cool place on Earth Day!

Happiness is working in a beautiful urban garden.
Happiness is working in a beautiful urban garden.
Lots of stuff to see, including some photo art.
Lots of stuff to see, including some photo art.
An educational community garden in the concrete jungle.
An educational community garden in the concrete jungle.
SMARTS farm is located on F Street in downtown San Diego.
SMARTS Farm is located on F Street in downtown San Diego’s East Village.
Children learn to love gardening and being outside.
Children learn to love gardening and being outside.
New beds where salsa ingredients will be grown.
New beds where salsa ingredients will be grown.
Lots of fun stuff to see!
Lots of fun stuff to see!
Look at this big old tub of color!
Look at this big old tub of color!
Grow, Cultivate, Learn, Share.
Grow, Cultivate, Learn, Share.

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Kaleidoscope and a revolving bowl of flowers.

Interesting contraption in a nook at Spanish Village.
Interesting contraption in a nook at artsy Spanish Village.

In a nook of Balboa Park’s Spanish Village, right next to the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building, you’ll find this interesting contraption. Is it an antique device once used to navigate a ship? Is it a microscope? What is it?

It’s a kaleidoscope mounted above a revolving bowl of flowers! Instead of turning the kaleidoscope tube, you whirl the bowl of blooms and watch different colorful patterns form through the lens. Several mirrors in the tube create the complex symmetry.

Once I figured out what the contraption was, I tried putting my camera right up to the eyepiece. I got a bunch of interesting photos!

A kaleidoscope aimed at turning bowl of flowers.
A kaleidoscope aimed at turning bowl of flowers.
Mirrors of kaleidoscope turn flower blooms into art.
Mirrors of kaleidoscope turn flower blooms into art.
Revolving the bowl turns flowers and leaves into amazing patterns.
Revolving the bowl turns flowers and leaves into amazing patterns.
Infinite beauty created via the reflection of light.
Infinite beauty created via the reflection of light.

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Bronze plaque marks birthplace of naval aviation.

Bronze plaque in Coronado marks birthplace of naval aviation.
Bronze plaque in Coronado marks birthplace of naval aviation.

In Coronado’s beautiful Centennial Park, just north of the Coronado Ferry Landing, you can find this relatively new bronze plaque. It marks the birthplace of naval aviation, Rockwell Field, which no longer exists.

The historical marker reads:

BIRTHPLACE OF NAVAL AVIATION

In 1910, on the unoccupied brushland of North Coronado Island, inventor and entrepreneur Glenn Hammond Curtiss opened his winter flying school for prospective “aeroplane pilots.” Among his first class of students was Navy Lieutenant Theodore G. “Spuds” Ellyson, who would become the first Naval Aviator. In 1917, the U.S. Congress appropriated the island to support the World War I effort and two airfields occupied its sandy flats–the Navy’s “Camp Trouble” and the Army Signal Corps’ Rockwell Field. The Army vacated Rockwell Field in 1935, at which time the Navy expanded its operations to cover the whole island. Many aviation milestones originated from North Island including the first seaplane flight in the United States in 1911.

San Diego, California was designated the “Birthplace of Naval Aviation” by the Armed Services Committee of the United States House of Representatives on 24 March 1961.

Marker Placed By

California State Society, Daughters of the American Revolution

2011

Historical marker is located near east end of Centennial Park.
Historical marker is located near east end of Centennial Park.
Rockwell Field in 1924.
Rockwell Field in 1924.

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