Geometric patterns in a city.

Walking through a city is like navigating through a sea of geometric patterns!

On all sides: circles, lines, triangles, squares, rectangles!

Look up, look down. See the grates, ironwork, bricks, manhole covers. See the windows and reflections. You’ll find yourself surrounded by architecture designed mathematically.

Some of the patterns are simple. Others are complex.

When you walk through a city, what shapes and patterns do you see?

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!

More mysterious morning fog downtown.

Fog crept into San Diego last night. In the early morning it was obscuring the tops of buildings.

I walked through downtown and finally reached the Embarcadero. The water was quiet, gray and perfectly smooth.

Fog had swallowed the distance.

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!

Amazing walk up the historic Helix Flume Trail!

Breathtaking views and unique history can be enjoyed during a hike on the Helix Flume Trail in Lakeside.
Breathtaking views and unique history can be enjoyed during a hike on the Helix Flume Trail in Lakeside.

In 1889 a 35-mile long wooden water flume was completed that brought water from Lake Cuyamaca in San Diego’s East County into the rapidly growing city.

This morning I enjoyed an amazing walk up the historic Helix Flume Trail in Lakeside!

The moderately easy hiking trail begins at the old El Monte Pump Station, climbs a nearby hillside with a series of short steep switchbacks, then follows a short, mostly level section of the historic flume’s route. Information signs describe the construction and history of the engineering marvel, and hikers are able to see the entrance to one of the flume’s old tunnels!

As you will observe in the following photographs, the walk includes some fantastic vistas and natural beauty.

Come along with me and read the photo captions to learn much more…

Looking toward the trailhead of the historic Helix Flume Trail.
Looking past a large shady tree toward the trailhead of the historic Helix Flume Trail.
The old El Monte Pump Station is located next to the small parking lot by the trailhead to the Helix Flume Trail.
The old El Monte Pump Station is located next to a small parking lot by the trailhead to the Helix Flume Trail.
The El Monte Pump Station was originally built in 1898 to lift well water to the flume on the hillside using steam powered pumps.
The El Monte Pump Station was originally built in 1898 to lift well water to the flume on the hillside using steam powered pumps.
Photograph of the historic pump station in Lakeside, California.
Photograph includes huge pipes outside the historic pump station in Lakeside, California.
Plaque by door of El Monte Pump Station dated 1937, when a major overhaul was finally complete. Water was then pumped from the El Capitan Reservoir.
Plaque by door of El Monte Pump Station dated 1937, when a major overhaul was finally complete. Water was then pumped from the El Capitan Reservoir.
Heading toward the trailhead and some information signs concerning the flume.
Heading toward the trailhead and an information sign concerning the flume.
One of several signs along the trail that describe the construction and history of the famous water flume.
One of several signs along the trail that describe the construction and history of the famous water flume.
The blue line on this topographic map is where the flume water descended as it flowed west to the growing city of San Diego.
The blue line on this topographic map is where the flume water descended as it flowed west to the growing city of San Diego.
Photograph of the wooden water flume next to old Highway 80 in El Cajon Valley.
Photograph of the wooden water flume next to old Highway 80 in El Cajon Valley.
Diagram of cross section of wooden flume box from 1913.
Diagram of cross section of wooden flume box from 1913.
As I started up the trail, I looked back. The Helix Water District has a nearby lot with modern pipes and equipment.
As I started up the trail, I looked back toward the parking lot and its big tree. The Helix Water District has a nearby lot with modern pipes and equipment.
Heading up short but steep switchbacks, with rugged mountains in the distance.
Heading up short but steep switchbacks, with power lines overhead and rugged mountains in the distance.
Hikers must stay on the trail due to the historical importance of this area.
Hikers must stay on the trail due to the historical importance of this area.
Looking down toward the pump station and El Monte Road. An old pipeline that ascends from the station is visible in this photo.
Looking down toward the pump station and El Monte Road. An old rusty pipeline that ascends from the station is visible in this photo.
Climbing higher. Wear sturdy shoes if you go on this hike. If it's hot, bring plenty of water.
Climbing higher. Wear sturdy shoes if you go on this hike. If it’s hot, bring plenty of water.
I've gained more elevation on the switchbacks. The hillside is dotted with many prickly pears. That's Hanson Pond in the distance.
I’ve gained more elevation on the switchbacks. The hillside is dotted with many prickly pears. That’s Hanson Pond in the distance.
Higher we climb!
Higher we climb!
A fence conceals an old pipeline that ran from the El Monte Pump Station to the flume.
A fence conceals an old pipeline that ran from the El Monte Pump Station to the flume.
Interesting rock outcroppings.
Interesting rock outcroppings.
A beautiful view of the El Monte Valley below.
A beautiful view of the El Monte Valley below.
A better view of Hanson Pond.
A better view of Hanson Pond.
The climb is over. We approach another information sign where the old hillside pipeline terminates.
The climb is over. We approach another information sign where the old hillside pipeline terminates.
An amazing view of rocky mountains across the valley opens up here.
An amazing view of rocky mountains across the valley opens up here.
Sign describes the struggles to supply water. The open flume had troubles with massive leakage due to rot, and evaporation.
Sign describes the struggles to supply water. The open flume had troubles with massive leakage due to rot, and evaporation.
In 1915, a court ordered Ed Fletcher to repair the leaky flume. He lined it cheaply with asphalt roofing material using a rolling tar wagon.
In 1915, a court ordered Ed Fletcher to repair the leaky flume. He lined it cheaply with asphalt roofing material using a rolling tar wagon.
San Diego County Park Ranger shows a section of wooden flume pipe.
San Diego County Park Ranger shows a section of wooden flume pipe.
The open, wooden flume was eventually replaced with covered conduit and pipe. In 1962, the pump station began to send water to the newly created Lake Jennings.
The open, wooden flume was eventually replaced with covered conduit and pipe. In 1962, the pump station began to send water to the newly created Lake Jennings.
A flag flies near the information sign.
A flag flies near the information sign.
The trail continues along the flume's old route.
The trail continues along the flume’s old route.
Turning a corner, with rugged El Cajon Mountain (El Capitan) in the distance.
Turning a corner, with rugged El Cajon Mountain (El Capitan) in the distance.
Some natural beauty by the hiking trail.
Some natural beauty by the hiking trail.
This is mountain lion country. A sign describes what to do should you encounter one.
Entering mountain lion country. A sign describes what to do should you encounter one.
I spot a third information sign down below, at the end of a short path.
I spot another information sign down below, at the end of a short path.
A short distance from the sign is the entrance to the Monte Tunnel.
A short distance from the sign is the entrance to the Monte Tunnel.
The flume needed eight tunnels along its slowly descending route. The Monte Tunnel was the fifth tunnel from the flume's water source, Lake Cuyamaca.
The flume needed eight tunnels along its slowly descending route. The Monte Tunnel was the fifth tunnel from the flume’s original water source, Lake Cuyamaca.
Diagram on the sign shows the dimensions of each tunnel.
Diagram on the sign shows the dimensions of each tunnel.
The tunnel entrances had decorate facades of cut and mortared local granitic boulders.
The tunnel entrances had decorate facades of cut and mortared local granitic boulders.
The bottom 1887 photo shows construction of the seventh tunnel. Part of the eventually outdated tunnel system was destroyed by Navy SEALS for training.
The bottom 1887 photo shows construction of the seventh tunnel. Part of the eventually outdated tunnel system was destroyed by Navy SEALS for training.
The barred Monte Tunnel entrance photographed during my hike.
The barred Monte Tunnel entrance photographed during my hike.
I took this flash photograph into the tunnel. After the flash I heard a curious low noise, like that of an animal.
I took this flash photograph into the tunnel. After the flash I heard a curious low noise, like that of an animal.
A fourth sign can be found nearby, where the Helix Flume Trail connects with the Lake Jennings trail system.
Another information sign can be found nearby, where the Helix Flume Trail connects with the Lake Jennings trail system.
San Diego residents were thrilled at the flume's completion in 1889. There was a parade and a fountain of water. But it wasn't flume water. There was a blockage somewhere up the line!
San Diego residents were thrilled at the flume’s completion in 1889. There was a parade and a fountain of water. But it wasn’t flume water–it was well water! There was a blockage somewhere up the line!
San Diego's historic water flume was considered such an engineering triumph that it was featured on the cover of Scientific American.
San Diego’s historic water flume was considered such an engineering triumph that it was featured on the cover of Scientific American.
Today little remains of the flume. But the natural beauty of this area in San Diego's East County endures.
Today little remains of the flume. But the natural beauty of this area in San Diego’s East County endures.

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 walk around the Escondido History Center.

People in Grape Day Park head toward buildings that are part of the Escondido History Center's Heritage Walk.
People in Grape Day Park head toward buildings that are part of the Escondido History Center’s unique Heritage Walk.

Last weekend I enjoyed a fascinating walk around the Escondido History Center!

Several original and reconstructed buildings operated by the Escondido History Center form the Heritage Walk at the north end of Grape Day Park. Anyone who is curious can freely visit the Bandy Blacksmith & Wheelwright Shop, the Penner Barn, the Victorian House, the City’s First Library, and an excellent museum inside Escondido’s old Santa Fe Depot. A very cool Pullman railroad car parked nearby contains a large model train layout!

While I really enjoyed my visit, I still don’t know much about the history of Escondido, so please visit the Escondido History Center’s informative website here.

Come along with me as we head down the Heritage Walk. We’ll make several interesting discoveries!

(Click the photos of signs and they will enlarge for easier reading.)

The functioning Bandy Blacksmith and Wheelwright Shop beckons.
The functioning Bandy Blacksmith and Wheelwright Shop beckons. (It was closed the day I visited.)
The 1947 Bandy Blacksmith Shop was reconstructed in Grape Day Park in 1993. The building is used today for education and blacksmithing demonstrations.
The 1947 Bandy Blacksmith Shop was reconstructed in Grape Day Park in 1993. The building is used today for education and blacksmith demonstrations.
As we continue down the Heritage Walk, the Penner Barn and nearby windmill come into view.
As we continue down the Heritage Walk, the Penner Barn and nearby windmill come into view.
The Penner Barn at Escondido's Heritage Walk.
The Penner Barn at Escondido’s Heritage Walk.
The 1907 Penner Barn was reconstructed here in 1976 using the original exterior siding and doors. It's now used by the Escondido History Center for special events.
The 1907 Penner Barn was reconstructed here in 1976 using the original exterior siding and doors. It’s now used by the Escondido History Center for special events.
Looking backward through the windmill, we see an old tractor parked in front of the Penner Barn.
Looking backward through the windmill, we see a vintage Caterpillar tractor parked in front of the Penner Barn.
The Victorian House is furnished authentically and open to the public for tours. (I didn't go inside the day I visited.)
The Victorian House is furnished as it might have been a century ago. It is open to the public for tours. (I didn’t go inside the day I visited.)
The Victorian Country House is an 1890 Queen Anne style farmhouse that was moved to this location by the Escondido Historical Society.
The Victorian Country House is an 1890 Queen Anne style farmhouse that was moved to this location by the Escondido Historical Society.
A small tour group assembles on the front porch.
A small tour group assembles on the front porch of the transplanted farmhouse.
This small building was the very first library in Escondido.
This modest building was the very first library in Escondido.
Escondido's First Library opened in 1895. In 1971 the Escondido Historical Society saved it from demolition and moved it to Grape Day Park.
Escondido’s First Library opened in 1895. In 1971 the Escondido Historical Society saved it from demolition and moved it to Grape Day Park.
Escondido's original public library is now headquarters for the Escondido History Center.
Escondido’s original public library is now headquarters for the Escondido History Center.
Sign details the mission and work of the Escondido History Center, formerly the Escondido Historical Society, which was founded in 1956.
Sign details the mission and work of the Escondido History Center, formerly the Escondido Historical Society, which was founded in 1956.
A time capsule buried under the Heritage Walk is to be opened in 2076.
A time capsule buried under the Heritage Walk is to be opened in 2076.
The handsome old Santa Fe Depot was moved to Grape Day Park in 1984. It houses the main museum of the Escondido History Center.
The handsome old Santa Fe Depot was moved to Grape Day Park in 1984. It houses the main museum of the Escondido History Center.
The platform side of the historic train depot, complete with Western Union sign and vintage luggage cart.
The platform side of the historic train depot, complete with Western Union sign and vintage baggage cart.
Exhibits inside the old train depot concern local history, from the Native American Kumeyaay who lived off the land, through Escondido's development as a town.
Exhibits inside the old train depot concern local history, from the Native American Kumeyaay who lived off the land, through Escondido’s development as a town.
A vintage photograph on one wall shows Escondido's Santa Fe Depot.
A black-and-white photograph on one wall shows Escondido’s Santa Fe Depot.
Parked next to the depot's passenger platform is railroad car number 92, built by the Pullman Company in the 1920s.
Parked next to the depot’s passenger platform is railroad car number 92, built by the Pullman Company in the 1920s.
Inside the railroad car is a huge model train layout that kids love!
Inside the railroad car is a huge, detailed model train layout that kids love!
Sacks of mail were transported at one end of the railroad car.
Sacks of mail were transported at one end of the railroad car.
Visitors to the old railroad car hang out and enjoy another facet of Escondido's fascinating history!
Visitors inside the old railroad car relax and enjoy another facet of Escondido’s fascinating history!

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!

Light, water and beauty at Escondido City Hall.

Escondido City Hall was built in 1988. Its design remains remarkable today. Walk around the stately but welcoming building, and you’ll be greeted by light, water and beauty.

I enjoyed a look at City Hall’s award-winning architecture during my visit to Escondido last weekend. In the past I’ve been able to venture inside, and I can tell you the functional interior is just as spacious and friendly.

You can learn more about the history of the Escondido Civic Center here.

My photos include the large fountain by Grape Day Park and the fantastic open dome at the building’s entrance.

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!

Oil paintings of the Embarcadero at night.

These aren’t actual oil paintings. They’re photographs that I took last night along the Embarcadero, made to look like impressionistic oil paintings with GIMP graphic software.

Can you recognize many of these beautiful nighttime sights on San Diego Bay?

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!

An early morning walk in late October.

It’s now late October. We’re experiencing Santa Ana winds in Southern California, so downtown San Diego in the morning was clear, dry, and promised to warm up quickly.

I took a long random walk to enjoy the early sunlight. I started from the top of Cortez Hill and meandered through East Village and the Gaslamp Quarter.

Halloween and Dia de los Muertos are fast approaching, and I noticed signs of the coming festivities.

Not all of these photos are pleasant. They represent a few of the many things that I saw.

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!