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!

Spring roses in Old Town San Diego.

Today I went for a slow, easy walk through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

After turning down a path behind several historic buildings, I noticed bright spring colors in a garden that few visitors see. A straggly, uniquely beautiful rose garden can be enjoyed behind the reconstructed La Casa de Machado y Wrightington, which today is home to the Tafoya and Son pottery shop.

For lovers of roses, this a wonderful little place to seek out. The roses even have signs that identify the varieties.

I took a few photos of the newly opened roses.

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 spring walk through Hillcrest and Mission Hills.

Spring has arrived in the window of Mission Hills Automotive.

Yesterday I went for a long, very pleasant springtime walk. These photographs represent my journey through the west part of Hillcrest, then through an interesting slice of Mission Hills.

I started inside Hillcrest, headed west down Washington Street, took a momentary detour to Fort Stockton Drive, then headed back down Washington Place to historic (and some say haunted) Pioneer Park, which I will blog about in a day or two. I then hiked down sloping Mission Hills Canyon along the green, seemingly little known Robyn’s Egg Trail, which I also plan to blog about. Eventually I came out near San Diego Avenue, southeast of Old Town.

Come along and read the captions to get a taste…

A flying unicorn on a fence by Copper Top Coffee and Donuts in Hillcrest.
Lovers in a window at Urban Fusion Decor.
Springtime in a window at VCA Hillcrest Animal Hospital.
A cool mural on the side of Dame and Dapper Barber Shop.
One of the bird sculptures along Washington Avenue’s median. I believe the sculptures were a project of the Mission Hills Garden Club.
Mysterious tile artwork on the corner of a building.
Banner thanks cool teachers at St. Vincent de Paul School.
Interesting old building is home of the Ibis Market.
Mission Hills homeowners are hoping to have acorn-style street lamps installed, to create a more charming and historic look.
One of many beautiful old houses I passed in Mission Hills. I believe this one is a Craftsman.
Gravestones line a corner of Pioneer Park, which was built over a cemetery where many early residents of San Diego remain buried.
Heading down green Mission Hills Canyon on a sunny spring day. The Robyn’s Egg Trail is rough and requires careful navigation in spots. Along its approximately half mile length I encountered one walker with a dog and one homeless person.
Bright flowers along the path.
A happy kitty face greets me as I arrive at San Diego Avenue!

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!

Early spring in the Zoro Garden.

Spring sprang two days ago.

Late this afternoon I descended into Balboa Park’s sunken Zoro Garden.

The day’s final rays of sunshine were filtering down to flowers planted along the stone walls and walkways.

I didn’t see any butterflies. Not yet! But I did see early spring color, and the promise of many more flowers to come…

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!

Balboa Park’s hidden Australian Garden.

The nation of Australia presented the City of San Diego with many beautiful plants in 1976 for the United States Bicentennial. These plants can be found in Balboa Park’s seldom visited, little known Australian Garden.

Should you drive into the heart of Balboa Park by turning from Park Boulevard onto Presidents Way, you’ll glimpse the top of the Australian Garden to your right. To see most of the native Australian trees and shrubs, however, you must drive or carefully walk down winding, slightly steep Paseo de Oro, which motorists pass just before they reach the large parking lot behind the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Look for the Gold Gulch Remote Parking Lot sign. There’s no sidewalk!

You can also reach the Australian Garden by walking south down Gold Gulch Trail, which begins near El Prado at the Zoro Garden. The trail passes under the Space Theater Way bridge near the Fleet Science Center and continues along the east side of the Japanese Friendship Garden. Once you see a fenced area where the green Balboa Park shuttles are stored, you’re there!

Plants in the Australian Garden, according to this page, include: “Grevellia, Acacia, Callistemon, Banksia, Hakea, Stenocarpus, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, and Eucalyptus.” There are no signs in Gold Gulch Canyon at the garden, but apparently there are plans to create trails in this area of Balboa Park and erect an informational kiosk.

In 1935, this small canyon was the home of Gold Gulch, a popular attraction at Balboa Park’s California Pacific International Exposition. According to Wikipedia, Gold Gulch was an “Old West mining town-ghost town re-creation for fairgoers to experience the atmosphere of a mining boomtown… Gold Gulch inspired and influenced subsequent Western theme parks…Examples include the Calico Ghost Town…and the “Ghost Town” section of Knott’s Berry Farm… and Frontierland by Walt Disney.…”

The above photo of the “hidden” Australian Garden was taken from a point above the canyon, behind the WorldBeat Cultural Center and Centro Cultural de la Raza.

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River ducks arrive, greet, depart!

These events were recorded in Mission Valley this morning. I watched from the middle of the pedestrian bridge that spans the San Diego River by the Fashion Valley Transit Center.

Two ducks splashed down. They exchanged quack-greetings with a duck that floated nearby. The single duck launched itself from the water. Contented ducks swam happily along….

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!

Watermarks art at Mission Trails Regional Park.

Extraordinary public art can be found at one entrance to Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego. Titled Watermarks, the long, curving mosaic wall stands adjacent to the water pump station at Mission Gorge Road and Deerfield Street. Hikers proceeding through a gate in the beautiful wall find themselves on the Deerfield Crossing Trail.

Watermarks was created in 2000 by Lynn Susholtz and Aida Mancillas of artist collaborative Stone Paper Scissors. According to this page of the San Diego Civic Art Collection website: “Applied to the wall is a highly detailed mosaic of tile, indigenous rock and metal pieces etched sporadically with petroglyphs, text and animal tracks…(the wall) serves to illustrate the ecological, historical and cultural importance of the park and the San Diego River. Once used by the Kumeyaay Indian tribe and the Spanish missionaries, the San Diego River connects our histories, cultures and lives.”

I took these photographs on a gray day between winter showers.

I love how the blue tile mosaic river flows and meanders along the earthy wall. Native plants like mesquite, wild onion, yucca and sage appear like fossils on river stones, each labeled with both their English and Kumeyaay names. On the ground and bench, you can see how nature’s fallen leaves, and rain water collected in the sculpted animal tracks, imbue this amazing artwork with even more life.

Six miles downstream, in 1769, the Spanish established the Misión San Diego de Alcalá, creating the demand for a mission waterworks system which was continually modified from 1775 through the 1830’s. The Old Mission Dam, located at the top of the gorge, was constructed of local stone, clay deposits from the river, and a cement mortar mixture over a solid foundation of bedrock. The dam provided a reliable water source for crops and livestock brought in by the Spanish. The dam and subsequent aqueduct connection were fully operational for less than twenty years.

(If you’d like to see photos of a hike to the Old Mission Dam, 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!

Nature’s wonders at Ranch House Crossing.

I spent nearly the entire day walking. Part of my journey was through a small part of the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.

Even my short, easy hike at Los Peñasquitos Creek just west of Black Mountain Road was awe-inspiring.

As I walked beside the water at the Ranch House Crossing, nature’s wonders enveloped me. The overhanging oaks and willows, their thirsty roots, sunlight in fluttering leaves….

Put on a pair of sturdy shoes and see for yourself!

Benthic organisms, or bottom dwellers, such as water snails and freshwater clams are a good indicator of the water quality in the stream.
A riffle is an area where the water is shallow and moves fast. Rounded stones called cobbles are formed by ages of tumbling and water wear.

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!

Cherry blossoms appear in Balboa Park!

Spring must be around the corner, because pink clouds of cherry blossoms have appeared in Balboa Park’s beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden!

I arrived at Balboa Park late this afternoon, after a long walk elsewhere in San Diego. Luckily I captured the last rays of sunlight filtering into JFG’s Lower Garden, with its many Japanese cherry trees.

Enjoy a few 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!

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!

Art fills up El Cajon gas station!

If you ever driven through the intersection of El Cajon Boulevard and West Washington Avenue in El Cajon, you’ve probably noticed panda bears. And exotic birds and colorful flowers and other painted scenes from nature.

That’s because murals can be found everywhere around this 76 gas station, and inside it, too!

The super nice clerk allowed me to take photographs of the ceiling inside the gas station’s convenience store. Artwork covers the walls, doors–everywhere you look!

An enthusiastic customer who seemed knowledgeable said it all was painted about nine years ago. I couldn’t find an artist signature. (Could the artist be Henry Goods, who is responsible for other gas station murals around San Diego? For example, here.)

If anybody knows more about this artwork, please leave a comment!

Next time you need gas in El Cajon, swing by this friendly 76 station and fill up with lots of beautiful art!

Now we’ve stepped inside the door and are gazing up at the incredible ceiling!

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!