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!

Fog at Balboa Park’s Desert Garden.

Early this morning, an overnight fog obscured Balboa Park’s Desert Garden.

As the rising sun began to brighten the fantastic cacti of the Desert Garden, banks of fog lingered in Florida Canyon and beyond, appearing like ghostly, faraway islands…

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!

The succulents and cacti of Seaport Village.

I discovered a little bit of history yesterday!

You know all those beautiful old succulents and cacti you see in Seaport Village, particularly around the plaza containing the main fountain?

As I walked around the circular plaza I happened to spy a painted tile on top of one planter wall.

Words explain: The beautiful succulents and cacti you are enjoying here were selected and planted by Mr. Chuck Ito of Leucadia, California. 1980.

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!

Nature and art at San Diego River Garden!

There’s a very special garden in San Diego that few people visit. It’s called the San Diego River Garden. It’s situated near the center of Mission Valley, a short distance south of the San Diego River.

Every so often I drive past this native plant garden, but I never see a place to park. The stretch of Camino del Rio North beside it is mostly used by people going to and from nearby office buildings, and no street parking is available.

The gate of the San Diego River Garden’s small dirt parking lot is usually shut. The only other way in is to walk along a dirt path beside the road and pass through an entrance in the fence. Which is what I did this morning!

All was quiet. The early morning summer breeze was pleasantly cool. The few picnic benches were empty. I saw no other people. But I did see many active birds. And bright flowers. And lots of flourishing native plants including some cacti. And modest planters holding more greenery. And many winding trails. And Bigfoot! Yes, you heard me correctly! And–to my additional delight–a whole lot of nature artwork created by young students, including painted tiles scattered here and there on the ground and a cool mural on a shipping container!

According to the San Diego River Park Foundation website: “This site used to be a vacant area reserved for future use by the City of San Diego. But thanks to the City and the many volunteers, sponsors, groups that have come out to garden, the River Park Foundation is caring for this 5 acre area to make it attractive for the community.”

If you or your group would like to volunteer and do a little gardening out in the warm San Diego sunshine, or if you simply want to visit this beautiful kid-friendly park or learn more about it, click here!

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Historic Old (1935) Cactus Garden revitalized!

During my walk this weekend through Balboa Park, I was excited to discover that the historic Old (1935) Cactus Garden behind the Balboa Park Club has been recently revitalized!

Dead and unsightly vegetation has been removed, the cacti and succulents look more beautiful than ever, and the pathways are in great condition!

I was also surprised to see a family of cats walking casually about in the sunshine, greeting me and a few other visitors who were passing through the cactus garden!

If you ever find yourself in Balboa Park and would like a quiet place to read or eat lunch, head over to the Old (1935) Cactus Garden. Not only will you be surrounded by natural beauty, but there are views of the Cabrillo Bridge and the distant California Tower.

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!

Natural beauty near the Sikes Adobe.

Early this morning, before the summer sun could make hiking very hot, I enjoyed a slow, quiet walk near the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead in Escondido.

I followed the Coast to Crest Trail for a bit, passed over Kit Carson Creek, and gazed off toward the willows and sycamores that line the edge of Lake Hodges and the San Dieguito River.

I lifted my camera when my eyes happened to perceive another instance of natural 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!

Natural beauty on a Balboa Park walk.

Starting west across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.
Starting across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.

On Sunday I walked slowly through Balboa Park. I began at the Cabrillo Bridge and headed east along El Prado. My wandering feet finally took me down into Florida Canyon.

I discovered many scenes of natural beauty: green canyons, bright trees, yellow hillsides, spring flowers, newly opened roses and even cacti.

Come along…

Near the center of Cabrillo Bridge. Trees in sunlight on the median of State Route 163, also known as Cabrillo Freeway.
Near the center of the bridge. Sunlit trees line the median of scenic State Route 163, also known as the Cabrillo Freeway.

Looking back west along Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Looking back along historic Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.

Near the east end of Cabrillo Bridge, looking down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.
Near the east end of the bridge, gazing down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.

Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.
Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.

Gazing back toward the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.
Turning back to photograph the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.

Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.
Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.

Staghorn ferns on one wall of the Botanical Building.
Staghorn ferns on one wall of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building.

Orchids inside the Botanical Building.
Orchids inside the Botanical Building.

More beauty inside the wonderful Botanical Building.
More natural beauty inside the Botanical Building.

A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. It's the annual spring sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.
A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. I stumbled upon a sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.

Perfect beauty somewhere along El Prado.
A bloom along El Prado near the Casa de Balboa.

Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.
Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.

Like orange flames on El Prado.
Like orange flames.

Looking back west as I approach the Plaza de Balboa at the east end of El Prado.
Looking backward as I finally approach the east end of El Prado.

About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, gazing back toward the Fleet Science Center.
About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, pausing for a moment to look south toward the Fleet Science Center.

Walking among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
Strolling among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.

In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.
In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.

Another rose.
Another rose.

Another miracle.
Another.

Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.
Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.

I now move north, into the Desert Garden.
Now I am moving north, into the Desert Garden.

Strange cactus beauty.
Strange cactus beauty.

More surprising beauty.
More beauty.

About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.
About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.

A hillside bright with cacti and native sunflowers.
A hillside bright with cacti and spring flowers.

More abundant natural beauty.
Nature has painted the hillside.

Slanting cacti.
Slanting cacti.

The beauty of Balboa Park never ends.
The natural beauty in Balboa Park never ends.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Sunrise at Balboa Park’s Desert Garden.

This morning I spent a few minutes in Balboa Park’s Desert Garden, enjoying a beautiful sunrise.

I had hoped to take photos of new snow on the mountains east of San Diego, but they were too distant for my small camera. What I did discover as I walked down one path was completely unexpected, and indescribably powerful…

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!

Native garden near Old Town San Diego’s McCoy House.

Photo of historic McCoy House in Old Town San Diego from the Native Garden. Today's garden is located in a spot once close to the San Diego River, before it was diverted to the north, through Mission Valley.
Photo of historic McCoy House in Old Town San Diego from the Native Garden. Today’s garden is located in a spot that was once very close to the San Diego River, before the river was diverted to the north, through Mission Valley.

A small, ragged but beautiful native garden can be found in the northwest corner of San Diego’s Old Town, next to the McCoy House Museum. The Native Plant Garden contains vegetation that grows naturally along the rivers of our semi-arid region.

Long before Europeans arrived in Southern California, the Native American Kumeyaay lived where Old Town was eventually established; the Kumeyaay village at the base of Presidio Hill was called KOSA’AAY, or Cosoy. Many of the plants in the garden were used by the Kumeyaay people in everyday life.

Read the photo captions to learn much more. Click the garden plans and the two signs, and those images will expand providing additional information!

Plans of the Native Plant Garden in Old Town State Historic Park. Included are species used by the Native American Kumeyaay for food, shelter and medicine. Their village Cosoy was located here.
Plans of the Native Plant Garden in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Included are species used by the Native American Kumeyaay for food, shelter and medicine. Their village Cosoy was located here.

Looking northwest from the second floor of the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego. The Native Garden is a bit dry and scraggly--but that's how local vegetation naturally appears.
Looking northwest from the second floor of the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego. The Native Garden beyond the fence is a bit dry and scraggly–but that’s how local vegetation naturally appears.

150 years ago the San Diego River flowed nearby, bringing explorers, settlers, boats and traders to Old Town. California native trees and shrubs have been planted that once grew along the riverbank.
150 years ago the San Diego River flowed nearby, bringing explorers, settlers, boats and traders to Old Town. California native trees and shrubs have been planted that once grew along the riverbank.

Dirt paths meander through the small Native Garden at the northwest corner of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Dirt walking paths meander through the small Native Garden at the northwest corner of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Yarrow was used by the Kumeyaay as a treatment for various medical conditions, including burns, inflammation, and pain from toothache, headache and arthritis.
Yarrow was used by the Kumeyaay as a treatment for various medical conditions, including burns, inflammation, and pain from toothache, headache and arthritis.

Tall stalk of a yucca that already flowered still juts into the sky in Old Town San Diego.
Tall stalk of a yucca that already flowered still juts into the sky in Old Town San Diego.

The Kumeyaay people have lived here for at least ten thousand years. Their innovations in managing San Diego's resources in wet winters and dry summers are still used today.
The Kumeyaay people have lived here for at least ten thousand years. Their innovations in managing San Diego’s resources in wet winters and dry summers are still used today.

A variety of native plants found naturally in coastal San Diego's semi-arid climate.
A variety of native plants found naturally in coastal San Diego’s semi-arid climate, including sages and prickly pear cactus.

Fibers from the yucca were used by the Kumeyaay to produce cords, nets, shoes and other useful items.
Fibers from the yucca were used by the Kumeyaay to produce cords, nets, shoes and other useful items.

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!

Flowers along a trail into Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon.

Spectacular flower of a Coastal cholla cactus in San Diego. Seen along a trail near Morley Field Drive that leads down into Balboa Park's Florida Canyon.
Spectacular flower of a Coastal cholla cactus in San Diego. Seen along a trail near Morley Field Drive that leads into Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon.

I took these colorful photos while walking Sunday through Balboa Park, along one of the rugged dirt trails that leads up out of Florida Canyon. A short hike can be enjoyed through native coastal chaparral and spring wildflowers, between Morley Field and Park Boulevard, just south of Morley Field Drive.

Flat-top buckwheat, or California buckwheat, flower clusters are opening in spring. These native plants grow profusely in arid San Diego.
Flat-top buckwheat, or California buckwheat, flower clusters are opening in spring. These native plants grow profusely in arid San Diego.

Small red flower clusters of flat-top buckwheat (Eriogonum deflexum) that have yet to open.
Small red flower clusters of flat-top buckwheat (Eriogonum deflexum) that have yet to open.

More buckwheat in Balboa Park's Florida Canyon. Native Americans used the plant to make tea with medicinal properties.
More buckwheat in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon. Native Americans used the plant to make tea with medicinal properties.

Another flower on a very spiny Coastal cholla (Cylindropuntia prolifera) makes for an interesting photograph.
Another flower on a very spiny Coastal cholla (Cylindropuntia prolifera) makes for an interesting photograph.

A wild yellow prickly pear cactus flower at the rim of Balboa Park's Florida Canyon, just across Park Boulevard from the San Diego Zoo.
A wild yellow prickly pear cactus flower near the rim of Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon, just across Park Boulevard from the San Diego Zoo.

These buckwheat flower clusters have turned brown. Perhaps that's why the plant is sometimes called skeletonweed.
These buckwheat flower clusters have turned brown. Perhaps that’s why the plant is sometimes called skeletonweed.

These flowers that I randomly photographed along the trail have me stumped. I tried to identify them, but without success. If you know what they are, please leave a comment!
These flowers that I randomly photographed along the trail have me stumped. I tried to identify them, but without success. If you know what they are, please leave a comment!

A profusion of red and white buckwheat beauty.
A profusion of red and white buckwheat beauty.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you enjoy beautiful things? Visit my photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.