Quiet beauty at Maxton Brown Park in Carlsbad.

A small but very beautiful public park can be enjoyed in Carlsbad at the corner of Laguna Drive and State Street.

Maxton Brown Park is a quiet place. One can sit on a bench to read a book or gaze out at Buena Vista Lagoon.

During my recent walk in Carlsbad I rested on one bench that had a view of the lagoon. It was very peaceful.

I then briefly explored the park and found several memorial plaques that honor loved ones.

Here are a few photos…

The above plaque overlooking the lagoon reads:

LT. MAXTON BROWN PARK

515th SQDN

MARCH 5, 1915 – JULY 8, 1943

BUENA VISTA LAGOON CONSERVATOR

AMERICAN LEGION POST 146 MARCH 5, 1976

I did a little searching on the internet and learned that during World War II, on July 8, 1943, 2nd Lieutenant Maxton Brown of Carlsbad was downed over Sicily. He flew with the 515th Bomb Squadron.

The Buena Vista Lagoon is home of the Maxton Brown Bird Sanctuary. According to this page of the Carlsbad Historical Society, prior to the war Maxton “spent many hours at the lagoon sighting and recording over 150 species of birds.”

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 hike near the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center.

A beautiful, very easy nature hike can be enjoyed at the south end of Oceanside near the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center. The quarter mile hike follows a quiet looping trail with views of the Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Yesterday I walked the trail and took these photographs.

The Buena Vista Audubon Society runs the Nature Center, which is located at 2202 South Coast Highway. The trail begins and ends a few steps from the building’s front entrance, directly across the driveway.

The Buena Vista Audubon Society engages the community and local students by offering nature education and various birding opportunities. They are also active in working to protect and restore wetlands and other environmentally sensitive land. You can learn more about their mission at this web page.

The Nature Center was closed when I happened by, but the trail was wide open and inviting on a sunny July day.

Here and there through dense bulrushes, or at viewing platforms, one can see the placid lagoon, and birds floating in the water or taking flight. Not only does local wildlife depend on this important natural habitat, but Buena Vista Lagoon is used by thousands of migrating birds that follow the Pacific Flyway.

One section of the hike was on a wood plank boardwalk over shallow water, then the trail turned toward dry land where I saw majestic trees, including sycamores, cottonwoods, and even a few Torrey pines.

During my walk I happened to meet Buena Vista Audubon Society’s Executive Director Natalie Shapiro. Before I began my hike, I observed her picking up trash along the Coast Highway, where it crosses the lagoon. Then I saw her again on the trail! She asked if I’d like to volunteer! Volunteers are always greatly appreciated!

She was super friendly and explained to me the difference between bulrushes and cattails, which I tend to confuse. At the margins of the lagoon, the plant community includes both of these, not to mention pickleweed and saltgrass.

Since the 1940s, Buena Vista Lagoon has been sealed off from natural tidal fluctations, and it has consequently become a stagnant fresh-water system. But there are now plans to open the lagoon to the ocean, creating a more healthy wetland.

If you’d like to enjoy this very easy, educational nature hike, head to Oceanside. And plan to visit when the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center is open! I need to do that, too!

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!

Photos of San Diego Archers King Arthur Tournament!

I was lucky to get some photographs of the San Diego Archers annual King Arthur Tournament in Balboa Park today!

I was walking near the Rube Powell Archery Range behind Balboa Park’s Alcazar Garden when I noticed some archers dressed in medieval costumes. So I had to check it out!

One friendly archer posed for the above cool photo. I then watched a bit of the tournament from the top of the canyon and took a few distant shots.

I was told the San Diego Archers is one of the oldest organized archery clubs in California, having been established in 1938. Since 1962 their King Arthur Tournament is a popular annual event full of Arthurian costumes, pageantry and family fun!

(I didn’t notice any knights wearing shining armor. Perhaps I missed them.)

Interested in participating or learning more? Check out the San Diego Archers website here!

UPDATE!

I received a great Facebook comment concerning the San Diego Archers:

For your readers information. Archery has been practiced in Balboa Park since 1917. The archery range is open to the public and membership with the San Diego Archers is not required to participate in tournaments. The San Diego Archers host four novelty tournaments each year. In addition, there are more than twenty regular competition tournaments throughout the year. Participants are only required to show up with their own gear, sign a waiver, and pay a small fee.
For more info: https://sandiegoarchers.com/

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!

Cool skateboard murals at Chicano Park Skatepark!

Today I headed to Chicano Park to look for a recently painted mural. A friend that I know from work told me about it. Searching among the dozens and dozens of colorful murals in Chicano Park, I’m afraid I couldn’t find it! But I’ll ask her about it again and make another attempt in the near future. (UPDATE! Turns out she was mistaken.)

As I walked at the southwest end of Chicano Park, I circled around the popular skatepark which is located under the Coronado Bay Bridge. The Chicano Park Skatepark was created in 2015 with a little help from San Diego skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and his foundation.

And check out what I spotted! Four cool skateboarding murals that I’d never seen before!

The small murals face the various quarter pipes, ledges and rails where youthful skaters were riding back and forth and performing tricks.

I saw an Aztec performing a handplant, and indigenous peoples Día de los Muertos skeletons skating up and down the bridge’s concrete pillars, too!

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!

A springtime walk along Lake Hodges.

I spent most of my day Saturday in North County. My first destination was Lake Hodges.

Starting from the trailhead by Hernandez Hideaway, which is a short distance off Del Dios Highway, I walked north along the San Dieguito River Trail.

It was an overcast spring morning, cool, mostly quiet, with a few other walkers about and mountain bikers flying past in a very big hurry. Not sure what the hurry was. To seek adrenaline, I suppose.

After moving north along the trail for a few minutes, observing one or two fishermen relaxing down by the water, I found a side trail that led down to a private spot on the silver lake’s shore.

It was a time for open eyes and reflection.

Here are my photographs. Bright things in the gray morning included light on the rippling lake, yellow patches of mustard, and white snowy egrets.

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 very short, easy hike at East Fortuna.

Yesterday, as part of a much longer walk in urban Santee, I enjoyed a very short, easy hike in the northeast corner of 7,220-acre Mission Trails Regional Park.

I started at the East Fortuna Staging Area and proceeded from the Equestrian Circle Trailhead west a quarter mile or so, just to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery.

Imagine my surprise when I quickly spotted a roadrunner!

The City of San Diego’s wild, rugged Mission Trails area, during World War II, was used to train members of the 2nd Marine Division. Camp Elliott is where they learned to fire artillery and operate tanks. According to the above sign posted near the trailhead: “At the height of the war, 50,000 officers and men were dispatched to combat zones from Camp Elliott in a little over a year.”

The canyons, mountains and grasslands of Mission Trails are now home to abundant wildlife and natural beauty.

Trees in the distance line the San Diego River where its life giving water flows through the park.

Some bright California bush sunflowers near the trail…

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 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!

Bike to Explore the Shore in April!

Bicyclists are encouraged to Explore the Shore during the month of April!

As I walked along the Embarcadero today, I saw an interesting sign just south of the USS Midway Museum.

Residents are being urged by Circulate San Diego to bike the Bayshore Bikeway, which circles San Diego Bay. The sign explains: “The Bayshore Bikeway is a 24-mile bicycle circuit with 13 miles of car-free bicycle paths and a number of scenic points.”

The route leads from downtown San Diego through Barrio Logan, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, the Silver Strand and Coronado. To return to downtown San Diego from Coronado, people can transport their bikes on the Coronado Ferry.

Of course, you can also ride in the opposite direction!

I took some photos of the sign, but to see a better, easier to read interactive Google map of the Bayshore Bikeway, click here.

Check this out! When you ride the Bayshore Bikeway through Chula Vista, you’ll see a series of amazing, huge outdoor murals that almost nobody else can see!

Or you can click here and see them right now!

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 hike in Tecolote Canyon near Genesee.

This fine afternoon in early February I enjoyed a short, relatively easy hike at the north end of Tecolote Canyon.

I started at Genesee Avenue and Chateau Drive, beside the prominent Tecolote Canyon Natural Park sign. The short segment I walked ended by a grassy field at the North Clairemont Recreation Center.

I saw few other people. I frightened a large hawk as I came down the trail. The large oaks around me were still and quiet, and appeared very old.

Along the canyon’s bottom, where the oak trees were thick, I carefully stepped on broken stones to cross trickling streams. I almost thought I was walking through an ancient forest of Tolkien’s Middle Earth–dim and gray, full of fantastically bent branches. But it was simply quiet, not eerie. Not with all the sunlit trees at the canyon’s rim and glimpses of a house here and there.

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 gazebos of Balboa Park’s hidden garden.

There’s a hidden garden in Balboa Park that almost nobody visits. It’s called the Administrative Courtyard.

The Administrative Courtyard is green, peaceful and very beautiful. There are fountains. There are arbors with vines and trees. To me, the most wonderful part of this courtyard garden are the gazebos at its corners. They give this special place personality. They are both cheerful and elegant, welcoming visitors with their bright tiled domes and nearby benches.

As I walked through and around the gazebos on a sunny winter’s day, I found many interesting contrasts of light and shadow for my camera.

If you’d like to find the hidden Administrative Courtyard, head to Balboa Park’s Inspiration Point, east of Park Boulevard, and walk behind the Developed Regional Parks Administration Building. That’s the handsome building that stands with its double towers atop a hill.

This corner of Balboa Park, including the Administration Building and nearby Veterans Museum (originally a military chapel), was once part of San Diego’s United States Naval Hospital, which was built in the early 1920s. When the hospital moved into Florida Canyon, Inspiration Point opened up its wonders to you and me.

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