Stones, water and light at Torrey Pines.

Our recent winter storms in San Diego thrust small stones high up onto the beach in places. At Torrey Pines State Beach, smooth stones covered much of the pedestrian pathway that runs down to and under the bridge near the north parking lot.

The stones, combined with a high tide and descending sun, made for some silvery photographs this afternoon! Bands of reflected light approached the shore with every crashing wave. Newly wetted stones gleamed like magic.

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Remains of ostrich farm in University Heights.

In 2022, the University Heights Historical Society placed a historical marker at the intersection of Park Boulevard and Adams Avenue. The sign stands near the remains of the entrance to the long-vanished Harvey Bentley’s Ostrich Farm!

The City of San Diego describes Historical Landmark No. 346 as: Mission Cliff Gardens Cobblestone Wall and Related Features.

One can see similar stone posts a couple blocks to the east at Trolley Barn Park. Cobblestones structures (and images of ostriches) are frequently seen throughout University Heights!

The sign explains:

This was once the entrance to Harvey Bentley’s Ostrich Farm, established in 1904. Nearby are the remains of a waiting station and drinking fountain for the #11 streetcar that brought scores of visitors from downtown to University Heights to see the ostriches as well as Mission Cliff Gardens and William Hilton’s Silk Mill. The streetcar was part of the 165-mile San Diego Electric Railway network, established in 1892 by visionary entrepreneur John D. Spreckels.

Here are two public domain images of the ostrich farm…

Just for fun, I photographed an ostrich painted at Yipao Coffee, a short distance south on Park Boulevard…

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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 descent into La Jolla’s Sunny Jim Cave!

For over a hundred years, curious visitors have descended into Sunny Jim Cave in La Jolla. I recently ventured down into the sea cave for my very first time! And I’m glad I did!

What was this small adventure like?

North of La Jolla Cove is a series of sea caves, with entrances that can be approached by water. One of the openings is to Sunny Jim Cave.

Visitors to The Cave Store can descend via tunnel into famous Sunny Jim Cave.

Historical Landmark No. 380. Tunnel & Cave Store – 1902. The City of San Diego.

Artwork in the Cave Store depicts someone sitting on a rock inside Sunny Jim Cave.

History of the Cave. In 1902, a German entrepreneur named Prof. Gustav Schultz commissioned two Chinese workers to dig a tunnel into the sea cave through the cliffs of La Jolla with the idea of charging visitors a few cents to enter…During Prohibition, alcohol was smuggled through the tunnel and into San Diego…Its nickname, Sunny Jim, comes from the resemblance of (its) silhouette to that of an old cereal mascot named Sunny Jim.

Starting down narrow stairs into the steeply sloping tunnel.

145 steps…All persons entering this cave do so at their own risk.

Here we go!

I’ve been inside mines, and this experience feels similar.

The stairs descend around several turns. In places the ceiling is rather low, and I had to stoop while carefully holding onto the railing.

When people pass in the narrow tunnel, it’s a tight squeeze! The wooden steps become more wet and slippery the farther down we go…

Almost there. The rock above and around is very damp now.

Walking out onto the wooden deck just inside Sunny Jim Cave.

The profile of Sunny Jim becomes apparent.

Several people were already on the deck, gazing out at ocean waves surging into the cave.

Sea lions sometimes hang out in the cave, but there were none when I visited.

The cave’s name Sunny Jim was suggested by Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum. Sunny Jim was the prominent-nosed mascot for Force, the first commercially successful wheat flake breakfast cereal!

(Public domain image, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.)

Venturing down into Sunny Jim Cave makes for a fun little adventure. If you can manage the steep stairs and narrow tunnel, you might enjoy it, too!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Making spheres and cabochons in Balboa Park!

If you ever visit Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park, make sure to step into the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building. Inside you’ll discover walls lined with displays. Arranged in glass cases are crystals, fossils, jade carvings, handmade jewelry and a whole lot more.

You might not view, however, what goes on behind the scenes.

During this weekend’s December Nights event, the public was invited into several rooms where students were transforming minerals and gems into works of art!

I confess that as a boy I had a rock tumbler. Promising stones found on the beach would be rounded and polished in the simple tumbler until they seemed like bright bits of treasure. I also had an uncle who enjoyed lapidary as a hobby–he gave me a tiny fire opal cabochon as a present one year.

Have you considered working with metals, gems and minerals? I’m sure it would be a lot of fun!

I see the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society offers many very affordable classes. You can learn faceting, metal fabrication, casting, carving…

During my behind-the-scenes look yesterday, I spoke to one friendly teacher and watched students grinding and polishing minerals using specialized machines. And I took these photographs in the “cab room” where spheres and cabochons are created!

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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!

Kumeyaay remembered in La Jolla park.

May the resiliency of the Kumeyaay forever be remembered.

At the north end of Cuvier Park in La Jolla you will find the above plaque. It’s set beside the sidewalk near the corner of Coast Boulevard and Cuvier Street.

A nearby boulder contains a pair of oval depressions, used long ago by the native Kumeyaay to grind acorns, seeds, roots and other food. The Kumeyaay call these grinding mortars ‘ehmuu, which means bedrock hole.

The boulder with its ancient history was restored to this location last year. It had been removed for a construction project. You can read about the Re-Internment of the Mortar That was Removed by the City by clicking here.

The plaque dedication ceremony included a Kumeyaay blessing and the performance of Bird Singers.

I took these photos during a walk today.

The sun was shining. Ocean waves crashed upon rocks a short distance from the place where I paused.

May the resiliency of the Kumeyaay forever be remembered.

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Bones, stones, and ancient history in San Diego.

Did you know humans might have been living in your neighborhood 130,000 years ago?

I was visiting the San Diego Natural History Museum when my eyes fell upon an interesting display concerning the Cerutti Mastodon site.

Thirty years ago, during the expansion of State Route 54 in the South Bay, a team of researchers from the San Diego Natural History Museum discovered mastodon bones among cobbles. The bones appeared to have been intentionally broken. It was believed the stones, which had impact marks, had been used by humans to fracture the mastodon bones to extract marrow.

Using radiometric dating, the bones were found to be about 130,000 years old. If, indeed, early humans had worked these bones, that would mean humans were in North America about 100,000 years earlier than previously thought!

Many experts asserted the bones were broken due to the heavy machinery used for freeway construction. Two years ago, however, more evidence was obtained. Bone micro-residues were observed on the cobbles, which seems to confirm that ancient inhabitants of San Diego did indeed hammer at fresh, tasty mastodon bones!

If all of this excites your curiosity, the Wikipedia article concerning San Diego’s scientifically important Cerutti Mastodon site can be found here.

And here’s a detailed article about the discovery written in 2017.

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!

The surprising Coral Reef Garden at Scripps!

There’s a surprising garden on the campus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. It’s called The McReynolds Family Coral Reef Garden.

Desert cacti and succulents planted among rocks strongly resemble an ocean’s underwater coral reef!

This isn’t coincidental. I read several information signs around the Coral Reef Garden and learned how two very different environments are alike in many respects.

You can view this fantastic garden for yourself by walking along the Scripps Coastal Meander Trail, where it heads down Biological Grade. Look for it by the Eckart Building.

Fascinated? Read more about this very unique coral reef-inspired garden here!

As I explored the garden, I saw this plaque by a bench. It reads:

Ricky Grigg

Big Wave Surfer

PhD Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Pioneer Coral Reef Ecologist

Devoted his life to the sea and all it’s [sic] splendor

Two different ecosystems compared: a coral reef and a desert environment. Harsh habitat and abundant life. A seeming contradiction called Darwin’s Paradox.
The fore reef, with its many ridges and channels, contains the greatest diversity of corals, fishes, invertebrates and algae.
At the reef drop off, deeper, less turbulent water allows corals to grow taller and make more intricate shapes. Much like plants not subject to strong winds!

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A hike down Manzanita Canyon to Jamie’s Way.

Last weekend I hiked down part of Manzanita Canyon in City Heights. I started at the trailhead just east of the Ocean Discovery Institute and walked along the dry creek bed to a place where the trail splits, then I climbed a short distance up Jamie’s Way trail into Azalea Park.

It was an easy walk full of nature’s beauty. Manzanita Canyon is one of many canyons sprinkled throughout San Diego. These narrow semi-wild corridors provide habitat for birds and a bit of wildlife, and when there are trails like this one, they provide refuge for the spirit.

Jamie’s Way is named after a beloved child from the Azalea Park neighborhood who perished in a car crash. If you’d like to learn more about this amazing little person, who seemed like an angel, click here.

It appears the small rocks along the trailhead at the beginning of my hike were painted by kids at the nearby Ocean Discovery Institute. I saw many sea creatures. I once was told students walk into the canyon here to explore our natural environment.

To learn more about the small park area where Jamie’s Way begins (and where my short, easy hike ended), at the 4200 block of Manzanita Drive, click here. You’ll also see a photograph of a plaque on the bench which is dedicated to Jamie. I took a photo of the plaque, but it is severely weathered beyond recognition, so I’ve chosen not to post it.

Just ahead a few steps I turned to the left and began the short climb up Jamie’s Way.

If you’d like to see an amazing mural that depicts and celebrates the canyon trails in this area, and Jamie’s Trail in particular, 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!

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!

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!

Walking down the Juniper Staircase in Balboa Park.

The Juniper Staircase is located near the southwest corner of Balboa Park, just north of Marston Point. The rugged “staircase” descends toward a dirt trail that runs through Cabrillo Canyon along the west side of State Route 163.

Ninety eight stone steps that were built by the California Conservation Corps descend from a paved pathway that winds through trees on Balboa Park’s West Mesa. Google Maps refers to the several paths in Cabrillo Canyon as Bridle Trail.

You can locate the curving stairs on a map if you follow the line of Juniper Street east past the intersection of Balboa Drive and 8th Avenue.

I took these photographs walking down the rocky steps. I continued north along the dirt trail by the freeway and passed the place where one can turn to walk under the historic Cabrillo Bridge. I then completed this relatively short and easy hike at Nate’s Point Dog Park, on El Prado, just west of the bridge.

If you’re curious to see what it looks like standing directly under the Cabrillo Bridge, I took some really interesting photographs one day and posted them here!

Be sure to watch your step! The loose dirt and leaves can be slippery.

The Juniper Staircase is a destination for local joggers and runners seeking a workout.

A very peaceful spot, if it weren’t for the noise of nearby freeway traffic.

Looking northeast across Cabrillo Canyon, one can see Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower!

Make sure to wear good shoes. The trail is rough and eroded in spots.

Approaching a split in the trail, where one can walk down under the Cabrillo Bridge.

I was tempted to walk under the bridge again, but decided against it the particular day I took these photos.

Soon arriving at the fence around Nate’s Point Dog Park where happy dog’s can run freely off leash.

El Prado, the road that crosses the Cabrillo Bridge into Balboa Park, is to the right, just a short distance up the hill!

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!