Strange geometries on the G Street Pier.

The crazy tangle of fishing nets, lobster traps, rusty chains, floats, pallets and miscellaneous junk on the G Street Pier is wonderful beyond description.

The pier was open today, so I walked out on it.

Not only did I stride over the beautiful bay, with fishing boats floating before the San Diego skyline, and gulls wheeling overhead, but I felt I was moving through a fundamental Truth of this world made visible. Mathematical truth. Divine truth.

Were great philosophers walking with me, what would they conclude?

To help bring out some of the geometry–the ordered symmetry and fractured chaos–I’ve added a whole lot of contrast to these photographs.

IMG_6820z

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!

Finding tracks, signs of wildlife at Mission Trails!

A guided group walks through Mission Trails Regional Park looking for signs of wildlife.
A guided group walks through Mission Trails Regional Park looking for signs of wildlife.

This morning I went on a truly extraordinary guided walk. Two expert trackers took a small group on an easy hike in Mission Trails Regional Park to search for tracks and other signs of often elusive wildlife!

The immense, mountainous Mission Trails Regional Park, located within the City of San Diego, is home to abundant wildlife. But it can be hard to spot animals in the wild during a visit to the park. Many species are nocturnal. Many tend to hide in the scrubby vegetation to avoid predators, to watch for a passing meal, or protect a nest.

This morning I and others met at the Visitor Center to set out on this special walk. While we didn’t see anything very dramatic, we did observe how the living world around us is engaged in a perpetual dance. We learned that humans with open eyes and curious minds might find signs left by rabbits, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, bobcats, deer, and even (but rarely) mountain lions!

We saw several spots where a skunk dug for grubs. We saw several wood rat’s nests. We leaned down to the ground to peer at the secret trap door of a spider. We saw lots of dog tracks in dried mud, rabbit tracks in some green grass, and coyote scat. We learned what differently pressed tracks might indicate about an animal passing that way. Were they stealthily hunting? Leaning to one side? In a big hurry to avoid a predator?

We watched birds flitting through shrubs and trees and soaring in the blue sky high above, and we learned a whole lot about crows and ravens and red-tailed hawks. We learned why coyotes howl. We saw a hummingbird. We watched a fence lizard pump itself up and down. We discovered a small, perfectly circular hole dug by a digger bee.

We learned how scent is a critically important sense for both predator and prey, and how animals in the wild are all acutely aware of each other at any given moment. And how they are confused by oddly unpredictable human behavior. We learned far too much to mention everything in this blog!

Our two super knowledgeable guides have been leading these wildlife tracking walks, which are held the first Saturday of every month, for about 11 years.

Bob MacDonald and Mike Gibbs belong to the San Diego Tracking Team, an organization of experts and enthusiasts who track wildlife in our region. They advocate for good stewardship of the natural environment and provide researchers with data from about 20 sites around San Diego County, as far away as the Anza Borrego desert.

According to their website: “San Diego County has the most biodiversity of any County in North America… Many of the plants and animals that call our region home are found nowhere else in the world… The San Diego Tracking Team (SDTT) is dedicated to preserving the wildlife habitat in the San Diego region through citizen-based wildlife monitoring and environmental education programs…”

Both Bob and Mike were super interesting and personable, and even the young kids in our group never lost interest as we learned about the endlessly amazing dance of life all around us.

I learned that Mike Gibbs was an Army Green Beret with extensive wilderness survival knowledge. He has worked in law enforcement and search and rescue as an educator and as a human and animal tracker. I’m anxious to read his book Spirit Wolf, a novel that takes place on the High Plains. (Which, by pure coincidence, is where I once lived and is the setting for a short story I’m now working on!)

But enough of that for now! On to a few photographs!

One of two experienced animal trackers addresses our group near the Mission Trails Visitor Center before we begin our adventure.
Mike Gibbs, one of two highly experienced animal trackers, addresses our group near the Mission Trails Visitor Center before we begin our adventure.
Our short but super fascinating wildlife tracking walk took us up the Oak Grove Inner Trail.
Our short but super fascinating wildlife tracking walk took us up the Oak Grove Inner Trail.
A hiking stick has been laid down to show where a skunk has dug small holes in the soil looking for grubs.
A hiking stick has been laid down to show where a skunk has dug small holes in the soil looking for grubs.
As the skunk moved forward, nose to the ground, it dug a series of additional holes.
As the skunk moved forward, nose to the ground, it dug a series of additional holes.
Walking again along the trail, searching for more signs of local wildlife.
Walking again along the trail, searching for more signs of local San Diego wildlife.
One of our guides points to the lair of a trapdoor spider! They pop out to catch prey, and lay their eggs inside their smooth burrow for safety. Yes, spiders can dig!
One of our guides points to the lair of a trapdoor spider! They pop out to catch prey, and lay their eggs inside their smooth burrow for safety. Yes, spiders can dig!
We saw lots of dog tracks in dried mud. The heavy front pads indicate a breed with a forward center of gravity. Coyotes have much neater, straighter tracks.
We saw lots of dog tracks in dried mud. The heavy front pads indicate a heavy breed with a forward center of gravity. Coyotes have distinctive, much straighter tracks.
Way up there on that distant tree we spot a hummingbird!
Way up there on top of that distant tree we spot a tiny hummingbird!
Rabbits made these tracks in the bent grass as they moved forward eating. We saw a couple calm rabbits feeding in the distance, seemingly unconcerned about predators.
Rabbits made these tracks in the bent grass as they moved forward leaving a U-shaped trail. We saw a couple of calm rabbits feeding in the distance, seemingly unconcerned about predators.
A gopher hole in the trail, long abandoned. The hole was subsequently widened by curious dogs poking in their noses, excited by an old scent.
A pocket gopher’s hole in the trail, long abandoned. The hole was subsequently widened by curious dogs poking in their noses, excited by an old scent.
Fresh moist coyote scat. These droppings seemed to show a recent vegetable diet.
Fresh moist coyote scat. These droppings seemed to show a recent vegetable diet.
But nearby, other dried, ropy coyote droppings contain rabbit fur.
But nearby, other dried, ropy coyote droppings contain rabbit fur.
This small perfectly circular hole was dug by a digger bee. Yes, bees can dig, too! It seems a lot of critters dig. Snakes don't. They like to digest their food in the safety of Wood Rat's nests.
This small perfectly circular hole was dug by a digger bee. Yes, bees can dig, too! It seems a lot of critters dig. Snakes don’t. They like to digest their food in the safety of a wood rat’s sturdy stick nest.
What will we discover next? Life continues its dance, and the natural world is ever changing.
What will we discover next? Life continues its dance and the natural world is ever changing.

Wildlife Tracking Walks are held at Mission Trails Regional Park the first Saturday of every month, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. To learn more about the park’s different guided walks, 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!

Rob Prior paints cool mural during Comic-Con!

Comic book artist Rob Prior paints a cool mural inside the Theatre Box in San Diego.
Comic book artist Rob Prior paints an awesome mural inside the Theatre Box in San Diego.

I stepped into the Theatre Box in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter this morning and made a cool discovery! During 2019 Comic-Con, an absolutely awesome mural is being painted on the wall behind the Theatre Box’s grand staircase!

The artist is Rob Prior, a popular comic book artist who has worked for Marvel, DC, Todd McFarlane and Image Comics, as well as video game companies and major advertisers.

Check out this cool artwork! I didn’t go right up and disturb Rob Prior as he worked, but I did manage to photograph some of the characters. I captured Darth Vader and a stormtrooper from Star Wars, Thanos and Black Panther from Marvel Comics, and Wonder Woman from DC Comics. It appears that Marvel’s Deadpool might be part of the mural, too! All of these characters have appeared in recent movies.

I was told that this mural, when completed, will be a permanent decoration at the Theatre Box. Look for it in the lobby at the top of that first flight of stairs!

Rob Prior works on a mural that includes several well-known pop culture characters.
Rob Prior works on a mural that includes several well-known pop culture characters.

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 morning walk before Comic-Con Preview Night!

Here come loads of photos from my morning walk around 2019 San Diego Comic-Con before Preview Night. It’s Wednesday, and everyone is working furiously to get wraps and offsites ready!

I walked everywhere: through East Village, the Gaslamp Quarter, around the San Diego Convention Center and Marriott Marquis, and down MLK Promenade.

Among other things I observed . . . the Nerdist offsite has received Museum of Mayhem window wraps. The Watchmen offsite had barely even begun their construction. The Syfy wrap is finished. The entrance of the Star Trek: Picard offsite appears ready, with the words Jean-Luc Picard: The First Duty and Starfleet Museum. DeadQuarters is a radioactive zone, and that airplane appears to have crash landed. The South Park miniature golf is about ready. The Marriott appears ready to host the Esports Lounge. One or two people walking about are already engaging in cosplay. The Dragon Ball Z activation looks really cool now. The IMDb yacht appears about ready. The Adult Swim and FX offsites are both looking pretty awesome, with some mysterious objects that make me wonder what they are. The Petco Park wraps are done, including one for ABC’s Emergence. A gigantic The Twilight Zone wrap is on the brand new Park 12 high-rise near Petco Park. The Interactive Zone at Petco Park is still setting up, and will include a Ripley’s Believe It or Not “Car Lot” with various unusual vehicles. The Chilladelphia activation has carnival games including a Shazam ring toss. I’m starting to see people hauling swag bags about. The Star Trek: Discovery wrap on the Omni is done. So are all the wraps on the Hard Rock Hotel, where IGN will be filming live on a balcony.

And if you’re tired after all this, have a seat on the Seinfeld couch!

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!

Stay tuned for lots more 2019 Comic-Con photos!

Glimpses of nature’s beauty after a storm.

This morning I walked a short stretch of the San Diego River Trail in Mission Valley, just south of Hazard Center.

Trees and leaves were still dripping with moisture from our last storm.

My camera caught a few glimpses of nature’s awesome beauty.

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!

Cool art at the Washington Street Skate Park!

Look at these photos! You’ll be surprised by some of the super cool art that greets local skateboarders at the Washington Street Skate Park!

I’ve always known there was some sort of outdoor art near this public skateboard park–many times I’ve glimpsed it while passing by on the trolley. So this morning I finally decided to check it out.

And I was blown away!

In addition to some simple metal rebar art along the enclosing fence, there’s a bunch of awesome mosaic tile artwork near the skatepark’s east entrance and on a dark, seldom seen wall along unused railroad tracks under Interstate 5. The above photo with the large word RESPECT was taken as I stood on the other side of the tracks. The additional photos you see were taken from a closer range.

There’s even more cool art inside the Washington Street Skatepark (which is also known as WSVT) and my camera captured one example of it. But unfortunately the park was closed this morning, so I couldn’t explore further.

In case you want to see this surprising art for yourself, the Washington Street Skate Park is located under Interstate 5 between historic Mission Brewery Plaza and Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. Look for the intersection of West Washington Street and Pacific Highway, northeast of Lindbergh Field.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

A walk along rocks south of the OB Pier.

Walking south along the Ocean Beach boardwalk near the foot of the OB Pier, toward the old Silver Spray Apartments and Plunge.
Walking south along the Ocean Beach boardwalk near the foot of the OB Pier, toward the old Silver Spray Apartments and Plunge.

Let’s take a walk along the shore! We’re going to start at the boardwalk near the foot of the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier, pass quickly around the historic, ruin-like Plunge, then head along a rocky trail between cliffs and the crashing ocean.

We’ll see tide pools, tiny pocket beaches and amazing scenery. Many refer to this stretch as a part of San Diego’s Sunset Cliffs, even though the official Sunset Cliffs neighborhood lies farther south down the Point Loma peninsula.

Ready to go exploring? Let’s start!

People explore tide pools between the sand-filled, long-defunct Plunge and the OB Pier.
People explore tide pools between the sand-filled, long-defunct Plunge and the OB Pier.
The Plunge, often called the Sandbox, was built in 1917. Famous English Channel swimmer Florence Chadwick, who grew up in San Diego, trained here.
The saltwater Plunge, now often called the Sandbox, was built in 1917. Famous English Channel swimmer Florence Chadwick, who grew up in San Diego, trained in this historic pool.
We've passed the Plunge, which is officially part of the beach, and are now carefully traversing sandstone rocks along the base of cliffs. It can be very slippery.
We’ve passed the Plunge, which is officially part of the beach, and are now carefully traversing sandstone rocks along the base of cliffs. It can be very slippery.
Looking back north we see the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier and beach.
Looking back north we see the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier and beach.
People enjoy looking into small tide pools in the eroded sandstone. I occasionally saw some crabs.
People enjoy looking into small tide pools in the eroded sandstone. I occasionally saw some small crabs.
The easily carved sandstone is like a book containing years of names and often humorous images.
The easily carved sandstone is like a book containing years of names and often humorous images.
OB is a place for free spirits, and the rocks along the water attract many.
OB is a place for free spirits, and the rocks along the water attract many.
Looking north again. I see Pacific Beach and La Jolla in the distance.
Looking north again. I see Pacific Beach and La Jolla in the distance.
Splashing water and curious eyes.
Splashing water and curious eyes.
People peer down at us from the street level high above.
People peer down at us from the street level above.
A small group walks along the crude trail.
A small group walks along the crude trail.
A perfect day to explore nature's many wonders beside the ocean.
A perfect day to explore nature’s many wonders beside the ocean.
Someone heads toward one of the small pocket beaches tucked between rocky outcrops.
Someone heads toward one of the small pocket beaches tucked between rocky outcrops.
Standing on a tiny beach at the water's edge.
Standing on a tiny beach at the water’s edge.
The sandstone cliffs are unstable and sometimes you hear of people falling and needing rescue.
The sandstone cliffs are unstable and sometimes you hear of people accidentally falling and needing rescue.
Here comes a guy and his dog.
Here comes a guy and his dog.
As we continue to walk south, we can see the coast vanishing into the distance. The actual Sunset Cliffs neighborhood is farther down the Point Loma peninsula.
As we continue to walk south, we can see the coast vanishing into the distance. The actual Sunset Cliffs neighborhood is farther down the Point Loma peninsula.
A white sailboat out on the wide blue Pacific Ocean.
A white sailboat out on the wide blue Pacific Ocean.
In places the rocky and slippery sand footing is a bit difficult to navigate, even on the trail. Wear good shoes.
In places the rocky and slippery sand footing is a bit difficult to navigate, even on the trail. Wear good shoes!
Looking north. Spectacular scenery.
Looking north. Spectacular scenery.
More natural beauty.
More natural beauty.
The rough trail continues south. Fewer people seem to be in this section.
The rough trail continues south. Fewer people seem to be in this section.
Now we're approaching an interesting part of the walk, with a short, undulating path along a sea wall.
Now we’re approaching an interesting part of the walk, with a short, undulating path along a sea wall.
Looking back.
Looking back.
We've almost reached the end of our walk. The concrete pathway ahead has either been undermined by water, or intentionally made into a ramp for thrill seekers.
We’ve almost reached the end of our walk. The concrete pathway ahead has either been undermined by water, or intentionally made into a ramp for thrill seekers.
At the foot of old stairs that climb up to Orchard Avenue.
At the foot of old stairs that climb up to Orchard Avenue.
As we head up, someone begins down.
As we head up, someone begins down.
Two people begin their own adventure along the rocks.
Two people begin their own adventure along the rocks.
Looking back north at the short stretch we just finished.
Looking back north at the short stretch we just finished.
Someone gets exercise on the steps. At the top there is some fun artwork.
Someone gets exercise on the steps. At the top there is some fun artwork.
Sitting on a unique surfboard bench, gazing across the blue ocean.
Relaxing on a unique surfboard bench, gazing across the magical blue ocean.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!