Walking through natural beauty at Torrey Pines.

It’s easy to find breathtaking natural beauty in San Diego. Three of my favorite places to walk along the coast are Torrey Pines State Reserve, Torrey Pines State Beach, and the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

The high sandstone cliffs topped by rare, windswept Torrey pines, the beautiful beaches stretching at their feet, the endless surf, blue San Diego sky, lingering banks of fog . . . all of these elements combine to produce an experience that is difficult to match anywhere in the world.

Over the years I’ve taken many photographs around Torrey Pines. And it’s quite likely I’ll be taking many more!

This morning, as I sit at my computer wondering where I might walk today, I’ve decided to revisit some of those old blog posts.

Click these links to see great natural beauty…

Hiking Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Beach Trail.

Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Guy Fleming Trail.

Torrey Pines Extension hike to the DAR plaque.

The historic Lodge at Torrey Pines State Reserve.

A walk in fog along Torrey Pines State Beach.

Taking flight at the Torrey Pines Gliderport!

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!

Bottlenose dolphins off San Diego!

Today I headed out into the wide Pacific Ocean aboard the Adventure Hornblower. We were going to look for whales!

Sometimes you can find blue whales–the planet’s largest animal–feeding at the Nine Mile Bank, which is an underwater mountain range deep in the ocean west of San Diego.

You might recall I went summer whale watching last year. I blogged a good description of what the experience is like here.

We didn’t spot any whales on this unusually foggy, hazy summer’s day, but we observed two pods of dolphins.

The first was a small pod of common dolphins not far from the harbor’s entrance.

About four miles out of San Diego Bay we slowed down to enjoy the view of a large pod of very active bottlenose dolphins! The captain said they appeared to be travelling south together, not feeding. There were some baby dolphins, too, but I failed to capture any good photos of them.

It’s hard to photograph suddenly surfacing or leaping dolphins–at least it is for me and my little camera. I’m usually much too late reacting.

But here come several photos you might enjoy!

The cool thing about whale watching in San Diego, you’re almost guaranteed to see lots of dolphins. And if you don’t see any whales, Hornblower Cruises gives you a voucher to enjoy another free trip!

For me, heading out into the wild, beautiful ocean is an amazing experience every single time.

I got my voucher! Maybe I’ll try again this winter, when numerous gray whales are migrating along our coast!

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 few photos from the Hospitality Point jetty.

One last blog post from my Mission Bay adventure yesterday!

Loving the fresh air, I walked out onto the narrow jetty at Hospitality Point. To my left, beyond the San Diego River, I saw families and their playful dogs at Ocean Beach. To the right, I saw sailboats navigating out of the Mission Bay channel toward the Pacific Ocean. A couple was paddling kayaks nearby. Several guys were fishing from the rocks. Bicyclists also headed down the jetty.

I didn’t notice until I’d taken many photographs that the inside of my camera’s lens had fogged up! But I did capture some decent images. Hopefully you get an idea of what it’s like to walk out on the jetty on a summer Sunday afternoon.

A bright watery world stretches all around you.

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 painted walks in nature’s beauty.

It’s going to be hot this weekend. So I’m planning on taking it easy–do some reading by the water, perhaps write something.

Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to create even more digital oil paintings!

My recent walk in San Clemente Canyon has inspired me to select a few past photos of nature’s beauty, and transform them into “paintings” with GIMP’s graphic Oilify filter.

If you think you recognize the ocean at Torrey Pines State Reserve, the San Diego River, Mount Laguna, snow at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and Mission Trails Regional Park–in no particular order–you’d be correct!

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!

The beauty of nature on the coastal strand.

The coastal strand lies just above the high tide line of a beach. While its appearance might be sandy, dry and scraggly, look closely and you’ll find plenty of nature’s endless beauty.

Last Saturday I walked around Silver Strand State Beach.

Entrance station at Silver Strand State Beach.
Entrance station at Silver Strand State Beach.
The blue Pacific Ocean stretches beyond the seemingly barren western shore of the Silver Strand. Point Loma and a cruise ship can be seen in the distance.
The blue Pacific Ocean stretches beyond the seemingly barren western shore of the Silver Strand. Point Loma and a cruise ship can be seen in the distance.
The flowers of beach suncup, or evening primrose, are like bright gems on the sand.
The flowers of beach suncup, or evening primrose, are like bright gems on the sand.
The Western Snowy Plover depends on kelp and seagrass washed ashore, feeding on insects. Their young are hatched in the sand. Fences keep the feet of people away.
The Western Snowy Plover depends on kelp and seagrass washed ashore, feeding on insects. Their young are hatched in the sand. Fences keep the feet of beachgoers away.
Walking along the San Diego Bay side of the State Park.
Walking along the San Diego Bay side of the State Park.
Coastal strand plants begin to grow past the tide line. Winds and waves sculpt the sands in this dynamic, yet fragile habitat.
Coastal strand plants begin to grow past the tide line. Winds and waves sculpt the sands in this dynamic, yet fragile habitat.

San Diego black-tailed jackrabbits are frequently seen in the dry coastal sage scrub of Silver Strand State Beach.
San Diego black-tailed jackrabbits are frequently seen in the dry coastal sage scrub of Silver Strand State Beach.
How many rabbits can you see? They are well adapted to this environment.
How many rabbits can you see? They are well adapted to this environment.

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!

Underwater mural in Silver Strand tunnel!

Three pedestrian tunnels pass underneath California State Route 75, connecting the west and east sides of Silver Strand State Beach. If you choose to use the south tunnel, you might want to put on some scuba gear!

That tunnel is home of a long, very cool mural that depicts life above the water and beneath it.

Silver Strand State Beach occupies a section of the peninsula between Coronado and Imperial Beach. Much of the life painted in the mural can be observed from the park’s two shores.

Walking along coastal habitat by either the Pacific Ocean or San Diego Bay, you will observe many birds, including snowy plovers, great blue herons, least sandpipers, black skimmers, marbled godwits, long-billed curlews, snowy egrets, endangered California least terns, brown pelicans, seagulls and a variety of ducks.

Out in the water you might also spot surfacing seals and dolphins! But if you want to see a whale up close, you’ll need to dive into the tunnel!

This very cool environmental mural was painted in 2009 by Imperial Beach artist Jaime Rayon, with some help from young members of The Art Kids, in partnership with the nearby Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

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!

Returning to a reopened Ocean Beach Pier.

The piers and boardwalks of San Diego reopened yesterday. The coronavirus pandemic seems to be subsiding locally.

I got off work early this hot June day and decided to go to Ocean Beach. A fresh sea breeze would be so nice. I hadn’t been out on the OB Pier in a long while.

When I arrived, a good crowd was gathered on the beach. It seemed fewer people were on the pier.

Fishermen were leaning against the rail or sitting on benches hoping to catch the big one. Those strolling down the pier often paused to watch a group of surfers below.

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!

Dark storm clouds off Crystal Pier.

Today I enjoyed a very cool guided mural walk in Pacific Beach. I arrived early, however, so I walked along the beach just before a heavy wave of rain arrived.

As I approached Crystal Pier, the remaining sunlight on the breaking surf and the pier’s rows of white cottages contrasted very strongly with the black storm clouds. The photos I captured, just moments before a heavy rain, are visually interesting.

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!

Photos from the Ponto State Beach jetty.

Yesterday, before heading to Escondido where I enjoyed watching the magical Zoppè Family Circus, I walked in the gray morning mist along the coast. I started in Encinitas and headed north up Coast Highway 101 through Leucadia, where I photographed many murals and other fun stuff. Finally I reached my destination: Ponto State Beach and the entrance to Batiquitos Lagoon.

I walked to the end of the two rock jetties that stretch a short distance into the Pacific Ocean on either side of the lagoon’s channel.

Some surfers were out, and a few people strolled slowly across the beach. Incoming surf splashed up near where I stood. Gulls wheeled in the overcast sky.

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 from Swami’s to the Cardiff Kook.

Surfer crossing sign near a golden dome of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram in Encinitas.
Surfer crossing sign near a golden dome of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram in Encinitas.

Today I went for a long walk beside the Pacific Ocean. I began along old Coast Highway 101 from the Coaster’s Encinitas Station, headed south through Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and walked all the way through Solana Beach to Via de la Valle.

The following photographs are from one very cool stretch of my walk.

Come along! We begin at Swami’s in Encinitas and proceed south down Coast Highway 101 to the Cardiff Kook sculpture.

As you will see, this is quite an amazing walk.

Please read the captions!

A woody with surfboard heads north along old Coast Highway 101 past one of the exotic Self-Realization Fellowship Golden Lotus Towers.
A woody with surfboard heads along old Coast Highway 101, past one of the Self-Realization Fellowship’s iconic Golden Lotus Towers.
As I walked south, a surfer passed me on the sidewalk going the opposite way.
As I walked south by the exotic ashram, a surfer passed me on the sidewalk going the opposite way. I turned to take a photo.
Here comes another surfer, heading through the park by the Swami's Beach parking lot. It appears he finished surfing at Swami's Reef for the day.
A few steps farther and here comes another surfer, heading through the park by the Swami’s Beach parking lot. It appears he just finished surfing at Swami’s Reef.
I've arrived at the entrance to Swami's Beach, which was mentioned in the Beach Boys' song Surfin' U.S.A..
I’ve arrived at the entrance to Swami’s Beach, which was mentioned in the Beach Boys’ song Surfin’ U.S.A.
Two huge Easter Island Heads carved of wood tilt in the grassy park at Swami's.
Two huge Easter Island Heads carved from dead tree stumps tilt in the grassy park at Swami’s.
Both Easter Island Heads were created by Tim Richards and are in the Encinitas Public Art Collection.
Both Easter Island Heads were created by Tim Richards and are in the Encinitas Public Art Collection.
Cool art on a park planter.
Cool art on a park planter.
People walk past another planter with cool tile art.
People walk past another planter with cool tile art depicting a palm tree and Pacific Ocean sunset.
A blue wave seems to be surging up from the walkway ahead.
A blue wave seems to be splashing up from the walkway ahead.
This public artwork is the Swamis Surfing Memorial.
This public artwork is the Swamis Surfing Memorial.
Dedicated with appreciation to Gary Taylor and the others whose efforts of the past and future make Encinitas a better place to live and surf.
Dedicated with appreciation to Gary Taylor and the others whose efforts of the past and future make Encinitas a better place to live and surf.
One guy stretches while a couple gets ready to head down to Swami's Beach.
One guy stretches while a couple gets ready to head down to Swami’s Beach.
Descending steps to the public beach far below.
Descending steps to the public beach far below.
Benches above the bluffs allow people to watch the surfing action at Swami's internationally famous point break.
Benches above the bluffs allow people to watch the surfing action at Swami’s internationally famous point break.
My small camera catches some distant surfing action.
My small camera catches some distant surfing action.
Many surfers were out on a sunny September day, enjoying good conditions.
Many surfers were out on a sunny September day, enjoying good conditions.
Engraved on a rock by the benches are the words: Waves on the Point are dedicated to Syrus King.
Engraved on a rock by the benches are the words: Waves on the Point are dedicated to Syrus King.
Looking south along the beautiful shoreline as I get ready to resume my walk along Coast Highway 101, sometimes referred to as Pacific Coast Highway.
Looking south along the beautiful shoreline as I get ready to resume my walk along Coast Highway 101, sometimes referred to as Pacific Coast Highway.
Bicyclists head down South Coast Highway 101, leaving Encinitas.
Bicyclists head down South Coast Highway 101, leaving Encinitas.
I turn for a moment to glance back north at Swami's.
I turn for a moment to glance back north at Swami’s.
The surging Pacific Ocean and the narrow beach below.
The surging Pacific Ocean and the narrow beach below.
A cool pink residence near the highway with a great view of the ocean.
A cool pink residence near the highway with a great view of the ocean.
As I continue south I see a lifeguard tower coming up.
As I continue south I see a lifeguard tower coming up.
People gaze at the foaming water from a rocky beach.
People gaze at the foaming water from a rocky beach.
I couldn't help looking back north one more time.
I couldn’t help looking back north one more time.
Lifeguard tower 19 near the north end of San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff rises above wet sand.
Lifeguard tower 19 near the north end of San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff rises above wet sand.
I saw hundreds of surfers out in the water during my walk. Looks like fun!
I saw hundreds of surfers out in the water during my walk. Looks like fun!
Walking down a path that enters the campground area at San Elijo State Beach.
Walking down a path that enters the campground area at San Elijo State Beach.
A smiley for a laid-back, sunny day.
A smiley for a laid-back, sunny day in Southern California.
Entrance sign at San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff-by-the Sea.
Entrance sign at San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff-by-the Sea.
Continuing south along Coast Highway 101, approaching Chesterfield Drive.
Continuing south along Coast Highway 101, approaching Chesterfield Drive.
Up ahead I see the Cardiff Kook. The bronze sculpture is officially called Magic Carpet Ride, but to most people the figure on the surfboard appears a bit kooky.
Up ahead at the intersection I see the Cardiff Kook. The bronze sculpture is officially called Magic Carpet Ride, but to most people the youthful figure on a surfboard appears awkward and silly.
Someone looks up at the Cardiff Kook, which is often dressed up by pranksters in odd clothing and costumes.
Someone looks up at the Cardiff Kook, which is often dressed up by pranksters in odd clothing and costumes.
Magic Carpet Ride, 2007, bronze, Matthew Antichevich.
Magic Carpet Ride, 2007, bronze, Matthew Antichevich.
If the balloon is any indication, the Cardiff Kook must be celebrating a birthday.
If the balloon is any indication, the Cardiff Kook must be celebrating a birthday.
A poem for the Cardiff Kook.
A poem for the Cardiff Kook.

Magic Carpet Ride

Grommit of bronze
On an ocean of stone
Frozen in time
In Cardiff, at home
Action in art
Still life by the sea
Community pride
Goofy footed and free
Exuberant youth
Arms open and wide
A cultural ambassador
Takes his first ride
His story is our story
Personified Grace
Both the past and the future
See yourself in his face
Grommit of bronze
On an ocean of stone
Surfs by the sea
In Cardiff, at home.

A wonderfully kooky conclusion to an amazing walk!
A wonderfully kooky conclusion to this amazing stretch of my walk!

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!