Building a beautiful waterfall in San Diego!

A couple months ago I blogged about a big new waterfall that is coming to the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park.

Yesterday I swung by again and noticed huge progress has been made creating the waterfall!

The step-like watercourse is being readied. Large boulders have been placed where the water will descend through the Lower Garden to the existing bridge, waterfall and koi pond by the Inamori Pavilion. Many smaller rocks will surely follow.

If you’d like to compare photos, click here for what I saw in late November.

UPDATE!

During a later visit, I noticed stairs are being built in the canyon’s side. They climb beside the waterfall. It appears there will be a viewing area up above!

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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Sculptures beautify Paradise Creek Gathering Place.

On the south side of National City’s Kimball Park, near 16th Street, a footbridge crosses Paradise Creek. Look up near the bridge and you’ll spy beautiful small sculptures mounted atop high posts.

These shining metal sculptures at the Paradise Creek Gathering Place were created by San Diego artist Vicki Leon, in collaboration with high school students at A Reason To Survive (ARTS), an organization in National City that uplifts local youth using the power of creativity.

The Paradise Creek Gathering Place sculptures together are titled Migratory Flight. They resemble silvery birds taking wing. Solar-powered lights illuminate bits of colored glass in clear tubes beneath each sculpture.

The environmental sculptures, symbolizing wildlife that depends on Paradise Creek, were installed in 2018. Many in the community came out to help build and beautify the Paradise Creek Gathering Place, including the Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center’s Kitchenistas and students from San Diego City College and San Diego State University. You can read more about the project here and here.

Lead artist Vicki Leon has also helped to beautify her own City Heights Azalea Park neighborhood. You can see photos of more amazing public artwork that I took during a special visit to Azalea Park here and here and 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!

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Big new waterfall coming to Balboa Park!

San Diego’s crown jewel, Balboa Park, is about to become even more amazing!

How?

A big new waterfall is under construction in the Lower Garden of the Japanese Friendship Garden!

I hadn’t walked down into the Lower Garden recently, so today when I saw the new waterfall being readied, I had to take photos!

As I understand it, from a conversation I had months ago, a small structure will be built beside this new water feature. Those walking down the nearby path will have the opportunity to grab a tea and possibly other refreshments.

A new footbridge will span this new stream. The water will continue on down to the existing waterfall by the Inamori Pavilion.

I can’t wait to see it all done!

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!

Extraordinary new Old Town art honors Kumeyaay!

Extraordinary new public art has been unveiled in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

Two benches in the park’s recently opened outdoor expansion, which is called Land of the First People, feature beautiful mosaics that honor the Native American Kumeyaay and the world of nature.

Once you look at the following photographs, you’ll likely agree these ceramic mosaics are exceptional. They were created by local artist Betsy K. Schulz.

The two interpretive benches contain images of the Kumeyaay people in our region, fishing, collecting reeds, paddling boats and living by a river, among birds, fish and other native wildlife.

If you’d like to see more stunning public art around San Diego that was created by Betsy K. Schulz, click here.

These images were captured yesterday evening just before nightfall. I took additional photographs of this newly opened area of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and posted them 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!

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Rose Creek Bikeway near Mission Bay.

Have you ever wondered what the Rose Creek Bikeway is like just north of Mission Bay?

I did, so I walked along the bike and pedestrian path a few weekends ago. I started at a point near the In-N-Out Burger at Damon Avenue (just east of Mission Bay Drive) and headed south under Garnet and Grand Avenue to North Mission Bay Drive. I then walked west over the Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge spanning the Rose Creek Inlet to the entrance of Campland on the Bay.

As you’ll see in the upcoming photographs, the path along Rose Creek features natural beauty but can be trashy in places. It cuts behind businesses, passes the ends of residential streets, and winds along the edge of several sporting facilities. I also saw evidence that homeless people use the path and camp near it.

The Rose Creek Bikeway is part of the much longer 44 mile Coastal Rail Trail which, when completed, will connect downtown San Diego with Oceanside, California. (Had I walked north up the path instead, I would have followed Interstate 5 toward La Jolla and Sorrento Valley, next to the tracks of the soon-to-open Mid-Coast Trolley extension.)

Looking north for a moment as I get started south.
About to pass under Mission Bay Drive.
Approaching Garnet Avenue.
Approaching Grand Avenue.
A couple walks dog under Grand Avenue.
It appears someone lives under the bridge.
Passing a basketball court.
Walking between Rose Creek and the Mission Bay Youth Baseball field.
Someone practices pitching.
To the right beyond the fence is the San Diego Mission Bay Boat and Ski Club.
Passing the Mission Bay Golf Course and Practice Center.
Turning for a moment to look back north. Sign at North Mission Bay Drive, just east of the Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge, reads: Welcome To… The Rose Creek Bike Path.
Now walking west, near a plaque at the east end of the Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge.
Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge. October 4, 1947 – May 18, 2008. In memory of Mike’s commitment to creating the people’s playground, not just for today, but all generations to come. Dedicated April 20, 2012.
Looking south toward Mission Bay. I see Fiesta Island in the distance.
Passing behind Mission Bay High School’s sports fields.
Approaching Pacific Beach Drive, where the dedicated bike and pedestrian path ends.
Bicyclists start east along the path, near the entrance to Campland on the Bay.

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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Rose Creek depicted on new Fire Station 50!

Monumental public art debuted late last year, when the new San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Station 50 opened in University City. I saw the artwork for the first time on Saturday and took these photographs!

The huge metal sculpture on the building’s side represents “blue” Rose Creek running through “coppery” Rose Canyon, which the fire station is positioned above!

The artist, Susan Zoccola, has an assortment of great photos on her website, including images taken at night when the sculpture is lit. (I had to take my own shots into the sunlight. A little photo editing produced the results you see here.)

At first sight I thought the bluish wire-like tubes that compose the river represent smoke! Or perhaps the tall grass by the sidewalk! But, no. The vertically arranged river runs across perforated copper layers that intentionally appear like a topographic map–the type of map firefighters often use.

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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Nature and art at Chollas Creekside Park.

Nature’s beauty and fine public art can be enjoyed at Chollas Creekside Park, located in southeast San Diego’s Chollas View neighborhood. The curved linear park, which preserves important natural habitat in an urban setting, can be found near the northwest corner of Market Street and Euclid Avenue.

A couple weekends ago I visited this beautiful community park for the first time and, by using the pedestrian bridge over Chollas Creek, walked the pathways along both sides of the dry creek bed.

I saw spring flowers. I saw new green leaves. I saw many birds.

I also paused to admire the Chollas Realm Gateways at either end of the park. The public artwork was created by local artist Roman de Salvo and installed in the summer of 2019.

At the center of Chollas Creekside Park, I circled Visualize Biodiversity. The 10-foot Corten sculpture is shaped like a barrel cactus. Patterns of butterflies and insects around its circumference light up at night. Created by artist Deedee Morrison, it was also installed in 2019.

You’ll see in my photos that I also climbed up to a lookout point above Chollas Creek, where there’s a great view of the entire park. With a little imagination one can visualize the surrounding area as it was before the city sprang up and streets and buildings covered the landscape.

Chollas Creek and Chollas View take their name from the Cholla cactus. Cholla were numerous here, once upon a time.

Chollas Realm Gateway, by artist Roman de Salvo, 2019.
Birds of Chollas Creek include California gnatcatcher, red-tailed hawk, Bell’s vireo, and cactus wren.
Visualize Biodiversity, by artist Deedee Morrison, 2019.
Plants of Chollas Creek include California buckwheat, California sunflower, lemonadeberry, and California sycamore.
Mammals of Chollas Creek include coyote, gray fox, desert cottontail, and big brown bat.
Benefits of creek restoration include cleaner water, reduced flooding and preservation of wildlife habitat along a riparian corridor.

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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A unique Fountain Mountain at Mission Trails!

Very unique public art with an environmental theme can be seen (and activated!) in the northeast corner of Mission Trails Regional Park. Fountain Mountain is located just outside the recently completed East Fortuna Equestrian Staging Area Field Station.

Fountain Mountain was created by renowned San Diego artist Roman de Salvo in 2020. The drinking fountain not only quenches your thirst after a hot day of hiking, but it’s the source of water for two small meandering rivers carved into a mountain-like boulder!

Instead of going down a drain, fountain water that escapes your thirsty mouth comes to life as it streams and sparkles down the small mountain!

According to this page from San Diego’s Civic Art Collection website: “De Salvo’s artwork references the archeological remains of grinding rocks used by the Kumeyaay, who were the first people to extensively live on and make use of the land that became part of the park. For de Salvo, these grinding rocks embody a sense of history, timelessness, and a connection to human activity in the park…”

To learn more about Roman de Salvo, check out this Wikipedia page.

I’ve photographed a number of his works around San Diego. To see more of his inventive, often often playful sculptures and public artwork, including a fun riddle encountered by riders of the San Diego Trolley, click here and here and here and here and 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!

Early winter and three Santee bridges.

This afternoon I wandered a little around Santee–mostly through Town Center Community Park.

During the walk I crossed three bridges. The first two you’ll see are the pedestrian bridges that pass over Woodglen Vista Creek, providing access to several sports fields. The third bridge I crossed is where Cuyamaca Street passes over the San Diego River.

By looking straight down from the bridges I could see stagnant pools of leaf-covered water. It’s still early winter. We’ve only experienced one storm so far–and that was weeks ago.

And, yes, leaves are falling. The most prominent river trees here seem to be willows, and they now appear to be mainly yellow, a burnt orange, or brown. I saw many cottonwoods turning yellow and gray, too.

The late bright sunshine passing through the foliage made for beautiful scenery, as you can see.

Here come two more photos from the first bridge…

After crossing the first pedestrian bridge, I read an informative sign showing local insects and birds, plus a map.

You can see where Woodglen Vista Creek joins with the San Diego River…

I headed west down the pathway near those four sports fields to the next pedestrian bridge…

As I came to the second bridge, my eyes were greeted by another sign!

This one explains a little about Woodglen Vista Creek. People who live nearby can be treated to sightings of all sorts of native wildlife, from coyotes to caterpillars, red-tailed hawks to California ground squirrels…

Then I found myself walking west along River Park Drive toward Cuyamaca Street, with lots of baseball fields nearby.

Many families and kids were out playing and practicing!

As I walked, the bright orange of a California poppy caught my attention!

When I reached Cuyamaca Street, I turned back east to see a line of trees following the nearby San Diego River.

Turning south, I crossed over the San Diego River and couldn’t help taking many more photographs…

Having crossed the San Diego River, I turned my gaze back northeast.

There, in the distance, stood prominent El Cajon Mountain!

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!