Torrey Pines Extension hike to the DAR plaque.

This morning I enjoyed an incredible (and relatively easy) hike along several short trails through Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve’s less-visited Northeastern Extension.

I started from the trailhead at the northeast end of Del Mar Scenic Parkway and, watching for rattlesnakes, climbed north along the Mar Scenic Trail to the DAR Trail.

When I reached the trail junction where one turns to reach the DAR plaque, I elected to continue west downhill for a short distance, just to enjoy the amazing scenery. Beyond picturesque Torrey Pine trees stretched the wide blue Pacific Ocean and Torrey Pines State Beach.

Finally I retraced my steps, turned north on the West Ridge D.A.R., and made my way to the historic DAR plaque.

It reads:

TORREY PINE STATE RESERVE

D A R TRAIL AND MEMORIAL GROVE

THIS TRAIL AND MEMORIAL GROVE
ARE DEDICATED TO OUR PLEDGE TO SAVE
AND FAITHFULLY DEFEND FROM WASTE
THE NATURAL RESOURCES OF OUR COUNTRY.
ITS SOILS, MINERALS, ITS FORESTS,
WATERS AND WILDLIFE.

THE CALIFORNIA STATE SOCIETY
OF THE
NATIONAL SOCIETY
DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
MRS. LEROY CONRAD KAUMP, STATE REGENT
NOVEMBER 16, 1971
U.S.A. BICENTENNIAL PROJECT

What a fantastic walk!

Unlike the very popular main section of Torrey Pines State Reserve, which is located to the south across Los Penasquitos Lagoon, it’s possible you won’t encounter another human being while hiking through this small area of protected wilderness. Wear sturdy shoes or boots because the sandy path can be a bit slippery. And bring some water. It can get pretty warm!

Enjoy the following photos!

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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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!

Music like shadow and sunlight in leaves.

This evening I enjoyed another extraordinary concert of the 2019 San Diego International Organ Festival.

In a groundbreaking musical performance, San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez was joined on stage by a symphonic string quartet. Kathryn Hatmaker and Wesley Precourt played violin; Hanah Stuart played viola; and Alex Greenbaum played violoncello. The result was nothing less than brilliant.

The highlight of the concert was a sublime performance of César Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor, transcribed by Raúl Prieto Ramírez for the organ.

The resonant voice of the Spreckels Organ and the yearning quality of the strings combined to bring forth exquisitely complex emotions. Bittersweet joy and heartbreak flowed together. The notes were rich with passion and tinged with regret. A whole lot like life.

A standing ovation concluded the evening.

Before the concert began in Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I walked through the nearby Japanese Friendship Garden.

When I saw my photographs of the garden’s natural beauty, it occurred to me that the music this evening was much like shadow and sunlight in leaves.

The rare magic produced this evening was the result of three San Diego treasures coming together: the world-class San Diego Symphony with its many talented musicians, one of the world’s most accomplished organists, and the Spreckels Organ, one of the most amazing musical instruments in the world.

May this magic become a tradition.

Mural at Civita celebrates San Diego!

Ranches, hot air balloons, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Ranches, hot air balloons, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

There’s a very cool mural inside a pedestrian tunnel at the Civita development in Mission Valley. I recently learned about this public art because it was nominated for a 2019 Orchid Award by the San Diego Architectural Foundation.

The 72-foot-long mural, which can be found under Via Alta next to the Civita Dog Park, was painted in 2018 by local artist and muralist Kevin Anderson. It depicts well-known and beloved places in the city of San Diego and the surrounding county.

San Diego County is so enormous, it’s geographic area is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware put together! Looking at this beautiful mural, you can see the county’s fantastic natural diversity, from the oceans to the mountains and deserts, not to mention San Diego’s rich history and culture.

Because this mural isn’t far from my work, I couldn’t resist walking over today to check it out!

Here are photos that you might enjoy!

View of the pedestrian tunnel that passes under Via Alta in Civita Park. The mural inside depicts many wonderful places around San Diego.
Outside view of the pedestrian tunnel that passes under Via Alta in Civita Park. The mural inside depicts many wonderful places around San Diego.
The Blue Angels, citrus and agriculture, San Diego County mountains, golf.
The Blue Angels, citrus and agriculture, the mountains of San Diego County, golf.
Potato Chip Rock, mountain biking, rural living.
Potato Chip Rock, mountain biking, rural living.
Julian apple pie, wildlife and wildflowers, the Palomar Observatory.
Julian apple pie, wildlife and wildflowers, the Palomar Observatory.
Mountains overlooking Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, cacti, bighorn sheep.
Mountains overlooking Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, cacti, bighorn sheep.
Beneath San Diego State University and Balboa Park, Civita Park has been painted in Mission Valley, along with the names of Civita Kids Art.
Beneath San Diego State University and Balboa Park, Civita Park has been painted in Mission Valley, along with the names of Civita Kids Art.
Junior Seau, Tony Gwynn, Petco Park, downtown and San Diego Bay.
Junior Seau, Tony Gwynn, Petco Park, downtown and San Diego Bay.
USS Midway, Coronado Bay Bridge, Star of India, Hotel del Coronado.
Little Italy, USS Midway, Coronado Bay Bridge, Star of India, Hotel del Coronado.
Mariachis of Old Town beneath the Serra Museum, SeaWorld, Mission Bay.
Mariachis of Old Town beneath the Serra Museum, SeaWorld, Mission Bay.
La Jolla Cove and Pacific Ocean aquatic life.
La Jolla Cove and Pacific Ocean aquatic life.
Surfing and paragliding along the cliffs of Torrey Pines.
Surfing and paragliding along the cliffs of Torrey Pines.

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 summer whale watching trip in San Diego!

Wow! Talk about a fun summer adventure! Today, thanks to Hornblower Cruises and Events, I enjoyed a summer whale watching trip out in the beautiful Pacific Ocean off San Diego!

I and other passengers aboard the Adventure Hornblower cruised out of San Diego Bay and continued many miles west of Point Loma in search of blue whales, the largest animal on planet Earth.

Spotting these enormous mammals, which move through the oceans in a constant pursuit of food, can be a hit or miss proposition, but it was such a sunny, perfect day and the wide ocean was so calm and blue, I didn’t really care what we might happen to discover!

We did see numerous pods of dolphins almost everywhere we turned. They fed and played in the gentle swells nearby, and didn’t seem to mind the big ship full of pointing humans passing overhead.

I took lots of photos, but dolphins break the surface unexpectedly then quickly melt back into the water, so my small camera just managed to get a few decent pics. You have to be there to feel the excitement, not to mention the fresh wind and bright sunshine. It’s an incredible, magical experience!

Had this been a winter whale watching trip, we would likely have seen gray whales as they migrate along the California coast to and from Mexico. During the summer it’s possible to spot a variety of other whales, including blue whales and humpback whales, but these species don’t follow a predictable route of migration.

Our captain took us a good distance out into the open ocean. All hands searched the horizon when we reached the Nine Mile Bank–an underwater mountain range teeming with sea life where blue whales often feed. On our way out we spotted the distant spout of a Fin Whale–the second-largest species on Earth–but were unable to successfully see it up close.

On our way back to San Diego we approached another boat that might have sighted a whale. We turned off our motor and silently drifted in, watching carefully, but we saw only dolphins and a group of feeding gulls and pelicans. The other boat had a drone hovering over the water, but it didn’t seem to find what it was looking for.

As we neared the channel into San Diego Bay, friendly people from the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park gave a short educational presentation, complete with close up photos of blue whales, an example of the filter-like baleen that these huge whales use to collect four tons of tiny krill per day, and a toothy dolphin skull. Kids enjoyed learning about all the cool marine life and had many questions!

I should mention, the summer whale watching trip included a narrated tour of the north part of San Diego Bay, where you always see something new. Including sea lions! It’s just as fun and interesting as a regular harbor cruise.

Because we didn’t spot a whale today, every passenger got a voucher for another free whale watching trip, or a harbor cruise on San Diego Bay. You can bet I’ll use mine!

Find out more about this awesome four hour summer whale watching adventure by visiting Hornblower’s San Diego website here!

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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!

More of nature’s beauty in Mission Valley.

This morning I got off the trolley in Mission Valley earlier than usual, so I walked around.

Please enjoy a few photograph’s of nature’s beauty.

I walked down a path through landscaping near the Hazard Center trolley station, along a short segment of the San Diego River Trail, then turned north at Mission Center Road to head to work.

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!

Exhibit shows Kumeyaay history in the South Bay.

The Chula Vista Heritage Museum now has an exhibit that includes Kumeyaay history in the South Bay. Bringing the past to life.
The Chula Vista Heritage Museum has an exhibit that features Kumeyaay history in the South Bay. Bringing the past to life.

Until this afternoon I’d never stepped inside the Civic Center Branch of the Chula Vista Public Library. The other day I learned this library is home to the Chula Vista Heritage Museum, so I wanted to take a look!

The small but very fine museum, which is located in a corner of the library, now features an exhibit titled Natural History and the Indigenous People of the South Bay. There are all sorts of fascinating displays concerning fossils and wildlife and natural resources that are an essential part of Chula Vista’s story. But the section that fascinated me most provides information about the Native American Kumeyaay people and their very long history in the South Bay.

If you are interested in this region and its rich history, head down to the Civic Center Branch of the Chula Vista Public Library when it’s open, and take a stroll through the Chula Vista Heritage Museum!

In addition to displays about birds, fish, wildlife and plants, the exhibit explores the history of indigenous people in the South Bay region.
In addition to displays about birds, fish, wildlife and plants, the exhibit explores the history of indigenous people in the South Bay region.
Our Kumeyaay ancestors understood that without water there is no life. The term Mai Ha refers to the Creator--the life sustaining water cycle from the heavens to the Earth.
Our Kumeyaay ancestors understood that without water there is no life. The term Mai Ha refers to the Creator–the life sustaining water cycle from the heavens to the Earth.
The Kumeyaay near the coast traded acorns, deer meat, baskets, seafood and shells for obsidian, red ochre, pottery, agave and other items from clans in the eastern mountains and deserts.
The Kumeyaay near the coast traded acorns, deer meat, baskets, seafood and shells for obsidian, red ochre, pottery, agave and other items from clans in the eastern mountains and deserts.
Kumeyaay artifacts include willow baskets. Bedrock mortars and metates were used to grind acorns to flour.
Kumeyaay artifacts include beautiful willow baskets. Bedrock mortars and metates were used to grind acorns to flour.
The Kumeyaay made sandals, nets and rope from the fibers of Coastal Agave and Yuccas.
The Kumeyaay made sandals, nets and rope from the fibers of Coastal Agave and Yuccas.
Maps show extent of the Kumeyaay/Diegueño Nation in 1775, 1822 and 1850, as Spain, Mexico and the United States took control of more land.
Maps show extent of the Kumeyaay/Diegueño Nation in 1775, 1822 and 1850, as Spain, Mexico and the United States took control of more land.
The Kumeyaay of the Sycuan band have ancestral village sites along the Sweetwater River. The village of Chiap or Chayp was located by mudflats at the southern end of South Bay.
The Kumeyaay of the Sycuan band have ancestral village sites along the Sweetwater River. The village of Chiap or Chayp was located by mudflats at the southern end of South Bay.
Historical photo of a Kumeyaay village in the South Bay region. San Diego Bay and the Silver Strand are visible in the background.
Historical photo of a Kumeyaay village in the South Bay region. San Diego Bay and the Silver Strand are visible in the background.

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!