Photos of a hike up Mother Miguel Mountain.

At the top of Mother Miguel Mountain you'll find the Stone House and its flags, and a view of nearby San Miguel Mountain.
At the top of Mother Miguel Mountain you’ll find the Rock House and its flags, and a view of nearby San Miguel Mountain.

Today I enjoyed a hike to the top of Mother Miguel Mountain, just northeast of Chula Vista. While not as high as nearby San Miguel Mountain, the views of the southern part of San Diego from Mother Miguel Mountain are pretty amazing.

On a clear day you can see Mexico, San Diego Bay, Coronado, downtown, Point Loma, and various peaks including Otay Mountain, Mount Soledad, Cowles Mountain and Mt. Helix. Looking down to the south you can see Salt Creek Golf Course, which was closed a couple of years ago and will undergo future development.

Fortunately it wasn’t very hot today, being early January. I just wore jeans, a simple shirt and some good shoes. Should you hike this steep rocky trail on a hot day, make sure to bring lots of water. There are virtually no trees and no shade. And it’s a constant very rocky climb. Pay attention to where you step and wear boots or shoes with a good grip!

In addition to a fair number of other hikers and some mountain bikers, I saw half a dozen ravens circling above and below, a few cacti, lots of sagebrush and wild grass, and many crumbled rock outcroppings. To the northwest one can look down at Sweetwater Reservoir. And of course, there’s impressive nearby San Miguel Mountain, rising not far to the northeast.

I started at the trailhead at the corner of Paseo Veracruz and Paseo Los Gatos and started up the Rock House Trail for the peak! It’s a moderately difficult 4.3 miles round trip with a 1,171 feet elevation gain. Follow the designated trail, which has many switchbacks.

Halfway up you find a sign which points out and names many of the distant sights that are visible. From there, the trail gets steeper. (Those airplanes flying overhead are making their approach to San Diego International Airport which is near downtown!)

At the top of Mother Miguel Mountain is the Rock House: a large mound of rocks with several flags and an adjacent low stone open shelter. On all sides are scenic views. If you proceed a little beyond the Rock House, there’s a large outcropping and nearby crude wood bench with a small plaque. From it you can look toward the northeast and see distant El Cajon Mountain, often called El Capitan.

If you want to read the photos of signs, click the images and they will expand for easy reading.

Now come along with me and get a taste of this rewarding hike!

Mother Miguel Trail Head Bulletin Board contains useful information and a map for hikers.
The Mother Miguel Trail Head Bulletin Board contains useful information and a topographic map for hikers.
The Mother Miguel Mountain Trail is inside the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. Stay on the trails to protect the habitat of many animal and plants species, some of which are endangered.
The Mother Miguel Mountain Trail is inside the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. Stay on the designated trail to protect the habitat of many animal and plants species, some of which are endangered.
Starting up the trail, which was muddy in spots.
Starting up the trail, which was muddy in spots. This winter it has been rainy in San Diego.
One of two information signs, on opposite sides of a small bridge spanning tiny creek.
One of two information signs, on opposite sides of a very small bridge spanning a tiny creek.
Sign describes this part of San Diego National Wildlife Refuge and protecting natural biodiversity.
Sign describes this part of San Diego National Wildlife Refuge and protecting natural biodiversity.
The small California gnatcatcher makes its home on Mother Miguel Mountain.
The small California gnatcatcher makes its home on Mother Miguel Mountain.
Second sign describes the Quino checkerspot butterfly, which is listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Second sign describes the Quino checkerspot butterfly, which is listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
A section of very rocky trail.
A section of very rocky trail.
Looking down after climbing for a bit. I could see downtown San Diego and Point Loma in the far distance.
Looking down after climbing for a bit. I could see downtown San Diego and Point Loma in the far distance.
Sweetwater Reservoir appears below.
Sweetwater Reservoir appears below.

Another sign ahead.
Another sign ahead.
Left part of long sign, showing peaks and features from Mexico northward.
Left part of long sign, showing peaks and features from Mexico northward.
Right part of sign shows sights to the northwest, as far away as Mount Soledad in La Jolla.
Right part of sign shows sights to the northwest, as far away as Mount Soledad in La Jolla.

Looking southward toward the San Ysidro Mountains and Mexico.
Looking southward toward the San Ysidro Mountains and Mexico.
Looking back down the climbing trail, you can see green Mount San Miguel Park with its sports fields, not far from the trailhead.
Looking back down the trail, you can see green Mount San Miguel Park with its sports fields, not far from the trailhead.
The view of Sweetwater Reservoir keeps getting better as we climb.
The view of Sweetwater Reservoir keeps getting better as we climb.

You can see some of the now closed Salt Creek Golf Course to the southeast.
You can see some of the now closed Salt Creek Golf Course to the southeast.
San Miguel Mountain rises to the northeast.
San Miguel Mountain rises to the northeast.

Someone stands on an outcropping just below the summit of Mother Miguel Mountain.
Someone stands on an outcropping just below the summit of Mother Miguel Mountain.
Mount San Miguel Park is now far below.
Mount San Miguel Park is now far below.
Flags show we've almost reached the Rock House atop Mother Miguel Mountain.
Flags show we’ve almost reached the Rock House atop Mother Miguel Mountain.
We made it!
We made it!
A couple of hikers brought a blanket to rest on the grass beneath the sky.
A couple of hikers brought a blanket to rest on the grass beneath the sky.
This rocky enclosure at the Rock House might provide a little bit of shelter on a windy day.
This rocky enclosure at the Rock House might provide a little bit of shelter on a windy day.

Continuing along, we approach another rocky outcropping atop Mother Miguel Mountain.
Continuing along, we approach another rock outcropping atop Mother Miguel Mountain.
The view to the northeast includes part of the Cuyamaca Mountains.
The view to the northeast includes part of the Cuyamaca Mountains.
A simple wood plank serves as a bench. I was surprised to see it has a plaque.
A simple wood plank serves as a bench. I was surprised to see it has a plaque.
TO MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF THE MOUNTAIN FOR THE BETTER APPRECIATION OF HOME 2016
TO MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF THE MOUNTAIN FOR THE BETTER APPRECIATION OF HOME — 2016

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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Free activities and help for San Diego seniors!

Look what I discovered today!

I was walking around Balboa Park, looking at an arts and crafts sale in the Casa del Prado courtyard, when I discovered some great information. If you’re in San Diego and at least 55 years old (or if you know someone who is) there are lots of activities and services available for seniors, and many are absolutely free!

A friendly gentleman with the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department told me all about it. The program is called AgeWell Services. You can visit the AgeWell Services website by clicking here.

AgeWell Services offers art classes, senior art shows, needle crafts, poetry parties, dance lessons, talent shows, craft sales and much more. There’s free tea, coffee, water, bingo and social opportunities in the Balboa Park Senior Lounge, and easy walks around Balboa Park. There are laugh hours and free movies. There are informative talks. There is even free assistance for those 60 years or older with a variety of legal issues such as wills and renter disputes!

There are senior activities at many City of San Diego Recreation Centers!

AgeWell Services also has occasional day trips to interesting places like the J. Paul Getty Museum, Big Bear, Catalina Island and Julian. I noticed these special trips are offered for a very reasonable fee.

If you’d like to see all of these activities and services that are available to San Diego seniors, you should subscribe to a newsletter that comes out every few months called The Scroll. The Scroll is packed with all the latest information, including a Calendar of Events.

To join the mailing list for The Scroll, or to learn more about AgeWell Services, simply call 619-525-8247.

Volunteers are also needed! Call 619-236-6905 if you’d like to volunteer!

Have fun on Mission Bay for a good cause!

Today I learned that Susan G. Komen’s 19th Annual Row for the Cure is coming up on Sunday, October 27, 2019!

I can affirm after watching the Row for the Cure out on Mission Bay last year that this event is definitely fun! And money raised is used to fight breast cancer!

Any and all are welcome to participate. There are a variety of activities that you can enjoy, including kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. Or simply hang out on the grass or the sand and watch!

Learn the details by visiting the Susan G. Komen website here!

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

Creativity at a museum helps to mend lives.

A wonderful new project is underway for the summer at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. To Do: A Mending Project can be enjoyed by the general public at MCASD’s downtown location in their Danah Fayman Gallery, right next to the America Plaza trolley station.

Artists Michelle Montjoy, Anna O’Cain, and Siobhán Arnold offer a unique workshop environment where people in the community can come together, talk, relax, create, and enjoy a tranquil safe space free of the many societal tensions and stresses in our contemporary world. With simple thread divisions are mended, and people feel whole once again.

As I walked into the gallery, the artists were sewing bags, and smiling and enjoying themselves thoroughly. They gave me a friendly welcome!

I poked my nose around and learned that To Do: A Mending Project has its own website, listing a wide range of activities that anyone can join through the summer. There’s the mending of clothes, knitting, poetry collage, yoga exercises, pasta making, a silent reading group, painting, and a whole lot more!

Check out all the activities by clicking 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!

Photos of dragon boat races on Mission Bay!

The 15th Annual San Diego Dragon Boat Festival was held today in the Tecolote Shores North part of Mission Bay. This cool event is presented by the San Diego Alliance for Asian Pacific Islander Americans. Twenty two wild races on the water saw competition between amateur dragon boat teams from all around our region and nation.

My walk around Mission Bay late this morning included a long pause to watch the action…

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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Local history remembered at Trolley Barn Park.

A cobblestone post at the entrance to Trolley Barn Park.
A cobblestone post at the entrance to Trolley Barn Park.

In University Heights, sunny Trolley Barn Park is a favorite place for neighbors to gather. Whenever I drive past I notice the grass field and playground are alive with activity.

Last weekend, as I walked through the park, I observed plaques and a winding path that remember the old trolley car barn that once occupied this beautiful spot overlooking Mission Valley.

In 1913 the Adams Avenue Trolley Barn was built near Mission Cliff Gardens. The popular botanical destination north of downtown was created by John D. Spreckels, who also owned the San Diego Electric Railway Company. The trolley barn was built directly adjacent to Harvey Bentley’s Ostrich Farm, where visitors could actually ride the exotic birds.

The large brick trolley barn serviced hundreds of cars until 1949. That’s when the streetcars, overtaken by city buses, finally ceased operation.

Many old cobblestone walls and posts from the days of Mission Cliff Gardens can still be seen around Trolley Barn Park and the surrounding neighborhood. Like the surprising images of ostriches, these cobblestone structures today are a symbol of the very unique history of University Heights.

To learn much more about the history of Trolley Barn Park and University Heights, you can visit a very informative page here.

Plaque at base of post reads: HISTORIC LANDMARK No. 369 - ADAMS AVENUE TROLLEY CARBARN SITE 1913 - 1949 . . . The Old Trolley Barn Park was dedicated on this site April 6, 1991.
Plaque at base of post reads: HISTORIC LANDMARK No. 369 – ADAMS AVENUE TROLLEY CARBARN SITE 1913 – 1949 . . . The Old Trolley Barn Park was dedicated on this site April 6, 1991.
What appears to be a round table in the park contains an interesting plaque that remembers when trolleys ran through University Heights.
What appears to be a round table in the park contains an interesting plaque that recalls when trolleys ran through University Heights.
Map of the old 1917 trolley line from downtown San Diego into University Heights in Old Trolley Barn Neighborhood Park.
Map of the old 1917 trolley line from downtown San Diego into University Heights in Old Trolley Barn Neighborhood Park.
Dedicated to all of the members of the University Heights Community Association who helped make this park a reality.
Dedicated to all of the members of the University Heights Community Association who helped make this park a reality.
This scenic spot in Trolley Barn Park overlooks Mission Valley.
This scenic spot in Trolley Barn Park overlooks Mission Valley, which lies to the north.
People jog along a walkway which features tracks that wind through the park like the old trolley line.
People jog along a shady path. Its “tracks” wind through the park like the old trolley line.
Along the walkway are the street names once passed by the trolley line.
Along the walkway are the street names once passed by the trolley line.
Another sunny San Diego day as people recreate on the grass.
Another sunny San Diego day as people recreate on the grass.
An electrical box at the edge of the park is painted like a cobblestone post, one of the symbols of University Heights.
An electrical box at the edge of the park is painted like a cobblestone post, one of the symbols of University Heights.
Trolley Barn Park is a beautiful part of University Heights that honors its colorful history.
Trolley Barn Park is a beautiful gathering place in University Heights that honors the community’s colorful 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!

Swords of Chivalry knights battle in Balboa Park!

In my opinion, the most exciting part of the House of England’s lawn program in Balboa Park yesterday was the historical sword fighting. A local group called Swords of Chivalry provided a fine demonstration of realistic combat between armored knights during the Middle Ages.

According to their website, the Swords of Chivalry Program is one of only 16 schools in the world that have been selected to the Chivalric Fighting Arts Association. The program is led by “San Diego’s own Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) expert and medieval history guru, Scott Farrell.”

As knights and their squires performed heroic feats upon the green grass of the International Cottages, I and everyone watching were drawn back in time to the fantastic Age of Chivalry.

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!