The historic Lodge at Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Sign at entrance to Torrey Pines State Reserve.
Sign at entrance to Torrey Pines State Reserve.

I hope you enjoyed my last blog post, where I described a hike around the Guy Fleming Trail in Torrey Pines State Reserve. Now I’d like to take you up to see the Lodge.

We’re going to start at the entrance of Torrey Pines State Reserve, just off the Pacific Coast Highway. We’ll be climbing the steep Torrey Pines Park Road all the way to the historic Lodge.

Looking south along Torrey Pines State Beach.
Looking south along Torrey Pines State Beach.

As we begin our climb we bend away from the beach, but pause for a moment to observe the high sandstone cliffs to our south. This wonderful beach, which extends for many miles, will be the subject of a future blog post!

Heading up steep Torrey Pines Park Road.
Heading up steep Torrey Pines Park Road.
Entering a zone full of endangered Torrey pines.
Entering a zone full of endangered Torrey pines.
Torrey pines stand atop eroded sandstone cliffs.
Torrey pines stand atop eroded sandstone cliffs.

The Torrey pine is an endangered tree found only here and on Santa Rosa island. We’ll learn more about it shortly…

View of lagoon and ocean from High Point Overlook.
View of lagoon and ocean from High Point Overlook.

Near the top of the road we come to High Point Overlook, a short trail that heads up some steps for a 360 degree view. Here we’re looking north and seeing a bit of the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.

Sign about philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps.
Sign about philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps.

This sign stands among some Torrey pines at the top of the overlook. It reads:

The philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps (1836-1932) holds a special and endearing place in the annals of Torrey Pines. Without Miss Scripps, this mesa might resemble what you see to the east: a tangle of roads, houses and businesses.

Although the City of San Diego had set aside some land to preserve the Torrey pines, the best and densest groves remained in the hands of developers who planned to subdivide and commercialize the area. Miss Scripps bought these lots in 1908, 1911, and 1912.

She hired naturalist Guy Fleming to care for and protect this wonderful place in 1921 and funded the construction of his house on the property.

The Torrey Pines Lodge, now used as a visitor center and ranger station, was built with her funds and donated to the people of San Diego. It was designed by noted architects Richard Requa and Herbert Lewis Jackson. It opened as a restaurant in 1923.

Finally, she bequeathed the City of San Diego the groves of Torrey pines, asking that they “be held in perpetuity as a public park,” and requesting, “that care be taken to preserve the natural beauty of the area” in 1932.

Today’s visitors may thank Ellen Browning Scripps for having the foresight to protect this unique place in the California landscape.

Nearing Torrey Pines State Reserve's historic Lodge.
Nearing Torrey Pines State Reserve’s historic Lodge.

A little more walking takes us to our main destination, the Lodge. An old adobe built in 1922, it originally served as a restaurant! According to the official website, it had stumpy tables, chintz curtains, lampshades made of Torrey Pine needles, and a jukebox! Back in those days, Model T cars had difficulty going up the steep hill, because they didn’t have a fuel pump, and instead relied on a gravity system. When the steeply climbing cars conked out, drivers were told to continue up the hill in reverse!

Banner commemorates 150 years of California State Parks.
Banner commemorates 150 years of California State Parks.
Gap in Lodge's stucco shows original adobe bricks.
Gap in Lodge’s stucco shows original adobe bricks.

This is near the front door. The sign below reads:

When the Lodge was built in 1922-23, thousands of bricks were made on site using local sand and clay. The gap in the stucco coating above deliberately reveals the original adobe bricks.

Portion of large sign outside describing coastal flowers.
Portion of large sign outside describing coastal flowers.
Interior of Lodge is a museum and visitor center.
Interior of Lodge is a museum and visitor center.

I love the interior of the Lodge. There’s so much interesting stuff to see, and so much history and natural charm jammed into one place. The Lodge is open daily 9 AM to 6 PM during summer daylight saving time and 10 AM to 4 PM during winter standard time. Ranger guided hikes are available on weekends.

One of many exhibits in the visitor center.
One of many educational exhibits.
Mountain lion patiently watches visitors to the Lodge.
Mountain lion patiently watches visitors to the Lodge.
Plaque in Lodge credits Ellen Browning Scripps.
Plaque in Lodge credits Ellen Browning Scripps.
Old fireplace shows decades of use.
Old fireplace shows decades of use.

The plaque above the old fireplace reads:

Torrey Pines Lodge dedicated to Dr. John Torrey, for whom, in 1850, these unique trees were named Pinus torreyana by Dr. C. C. Parry.

Sign behind Lodge describes Torrey pines woodlands.
Sign behind Lodge describes Torrey pines woodlands.

Now we’ve headed back outside, around the back of the Lodge. Numerous Torrey pines are all around us, and benches are sprinkled here and there with sweeping views eastward toward developed Carmel Valley and Interstate 5.

This sign reads:

The Torrey Pine tree is one of the most rare pine trees in all of North America. The young trees that you see today may be the remnants of what was once an ancient coastal forest. This natural plant community is found only in nutrient-poor sandy soils, along the sandstone bluffs, canyons, and ravines, of Torrey Pines State Reserve and on Santa Rosa Island. In this harsh arid landscape, coastal fog is vital to the tree’s survival, acting as an air conditioner, shielding the needles from the hot sun and providing most of the moisture for the trees. The twisted and gnarled trees along the bluffs often lean inland, growing close to the ground, as a result of the ocean winds and pruning by salt crystals in the air.

School kids learn about local flora and fauna.
School kids learn about local flora and fauna.

A ranger was giving a bunch of school kids a talk about Torrey Pines State Reserve. They’ll remember this special place for the rest of their lives.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines State Reserve is a must see!
The Lodge at Torrey Pines State Reserve is a must see!

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

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!

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

More photos of truly amazing sky and clouds.

Scale-like clouds above Mission Valley.
Scale-like clouds above Mission Valley.

I snapped these photographs late Monday, a few minutes after five o’clock. I was walking in Mission Valley, near the intersection of Friars and Frazee. The sky was absolutely incredible!

Clouds and reflections on two office buildings.
Clouds and reflections on two office buildings.
Sky and clouds on a grid of windows.
Sky and clouds on a grid of windows.
Clouds reflected on several angled planes.
Clouds reflected on several angled planes.
Lines of radiant, gilded clouds.
Lines of radiant, gilded clouds.
Looking upward at endlessly changing beauty.
Looking upward at endlessly changing beauty.
Gauzy clouds above a silver building.
Gauzy clouds above a silver building.
Straight washboard clouds seem unworldly.
Straight washboard clouds seem unworldly.

Beautiful clouds in the San Diego sky!

Clouds and changing light provide endless beauty.
Clouds and changing light provide endless beauty.

The clouds above San Diego yesterday afternoon were amazingly beautiful. Here are some pics!

Boats in tuna harbor between splashes of light.
Boats in tuna harbor between splashes of light.
Tall trees reach up into the San Diego sky.
Tall trees reach up into the San Diego sky.
Late afternoon clouds above trees by the bay.
Late afternoon clouds above trees by the bay.
Sailboat passes fishing pier as sun falls toward horizon.
Sailboat passes fishing pier as sun falls toward horizon.
Golden afternoon light flows across the gentle water.
Golden afternoon light flows across the gentle water.
Silvergate ferry heads out under stunning clouds.
Silvergate ferry heads out under stunning clouds.
Windblown clouds radiate above San Diego Convention Center.
Windblown clouds radiate above San Diego Convention Center.
A big yacht seems ready to head toward the light.
A big yacht seems ready to head toward the light.
Clouds above metal trees in front of Hilton hotel.
Clouds above metal trees in front of Hilton hotel.
Bridge over Harbor Drive shines silver as folks ascend.
Bridge over Harbor Drive shines silver as folks ascend.
Imperial Transit Station clock tower and Padres banner under clouds.
Imperial Transit Station clock tower and Padres banner under clouds.
Looking straight up alongside the new Central Library.
Looking straight up alongside the new Central Library.
East Village buildings frame dramatic afternoon clouds.
East Village buildings frame dramatic afternoon clouds.
Light reflects from windows in San Diego's East Village.
Light reflects from windows in San Diego’s East Village.
Amazing sky above a shining downtown building.
Amazing sky above a shining downtown building.

Great artwork on Harbor Island marina gates.

Whales depicted on a Harbor Island marina gate.
Whales depicted on a Harbor Island marina gate.

On Harbor Island, just east of the Hilton, several gates leading down to the marina have metalwork that is really beautiful. Check out these images…

Underwater scene on a marina entrance gate.
Lively underwater scene on a marina entrance gate.
Dolphins decorate a marina gate on Harbor Island.
Dolphins decorate a marina gate on Harbor Island.
Beautiful approach to one gate on Harbor Island marina.
Beautiful approach to one gate at Harbor Island marina.

After early morning rain by the San Diego River.

Joggers and a dog on the partly wet street.
Joggers and a dog on the partly wet street.

These photographs were taken this morning in Mission Valley, in the general area of Hazard Center. It had rained during the night and early morning, and the last remnants of dark clouds were rolling away.

Dark morning rain clouds break for the rising sun.
Dark morning rain clouds break for the rising sun.
Morning light emerges from behind a bank of clouds.
Morning light emerges from behind a bank of clouds.
Tree by San Diego River beneath passing rain clouds.
Tree by San Diego River beneath passing rain clouds.
Rain on fallen leaves, a spider's web and stems.
Rain on fallen leaves, a spider’s web and bent stems.
Blue patch reflected in a building beneath clouds.
Blue patch reflected in a building beneath clouds.

Sunrise, palm trees, and Mission Valley Resort.

Sun rises between palm trees above Mission Valley Resort.
Sun rises between palm trees above Mission Valley Resort.

Greetings to the folks at Mission Valley Resort! Thanks for following my blog! My walk to work takes me down Bachman Place, so today I decided to take a small detour and pass by the resort to check it out! Great location! I took several quick pics and the one above turned out best!

Cheers!