Walking the Otay River Trail to Hollister Pond.

There’s a beautiful pond in San Diego’s South Bay that few seem to know about. It’s called Hollister Pond. It’s located near the west end of the large Otay Valley Regional Park.

I walked down a dirt trail to this hidden pond yesterday.

I started from Hollister Street, a short distance north of where it crosses the Otay River. The Otay River Trail heads west and soon reaches a small observation platform at the north edge of the pond.

I saw nobody else on the trail on a sunny Saturday morning. Profuse litter and graffiti seem to indicate the presence of homeless people and perhaps gang activity in the area. So if you choose to walk here, be advised. But the hike is very easy and you will be rewarded by seeing hundreds of ducks, herons and other birds out on the water.

According to an information sign at the observation platform, Hollister Pond, like many other ponds along the Otay River valley, is actually a water-filled abandoned quarry, where sand and gravel was commercially mined. Wildlife one can find on or around the pond include the Snowy Egret, Mallard Duck and Baja California Tree Frog.

After taking in the sparkling scenery, I continued west on the Otay River Trail, which passes through the darkness underneath Interstate 5, then passes a sign concerning preventable urban pollution. Unfortunately, hundreds of toxic spray paint cans are tossed along the river by those vandalizing the park with graffiti.

The trail then turns south and crosses over the Otay River bed. It’s a spot that likely becomes impassable after a good rain.

As I walked I took photographs of trees and native plants in the warm sunlight.

The trail eventually reaches a small parking lot behind a Home Depot at the north end of Saturn Boulevard in Imperial Beach. The area features a kiosk, picnic table, and several people who appeared to be using drugs, whom I avoided.

If you’d like to go on a small daytime adventure in the South Bay, consider a visit to Hollister Pond! Google Maps shows the “Walking Path” that leads to it.

But please be careful and safe.

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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Cool sights along Third Avenue in Chula Vista!

Colorful art painted high on a building that is for lease on Chula Vista's Third Avenue.
Colorful art painted high on a building on Chula Vista’s Third Avenue.

Two years ago I walked along Third Avenue in downtown Chula Vista during the annual Lemon Festival. At the time I took a few photos of murals and public art that I happened to notice. To see those photographs, click here.

Last weekend I walked along Third Avenue again and discovered all sorts of cool sights that are either new or that I hadn’t seen previously. (Or, in the case of the street clock and big landmark sign, that I hadn’t thought to photograph.)

As you can see, downtown Chula Vista has a very friendly vibe. And the village appears to be getting even more inviting. I noticed that improvements along Third Avenue’s median are underway.

Forgive me if I don’t know who created much of the artwork. All of it is very cool, however!

Inspiring mural painted by Jorge Mendoza in Chula Vista. This is a message of strength and love.
Inspiring mural painted by Jorge Mendoza in Chula Vista. This is a message of strength and love.

Cool sculpture that I spotted in front of an office occupied by attorneys.
Cool sculpture that I spotted in front of an office occupied by attorneys.

Chula Vista mural on Davidson Street with the names of local businesses and residents. I believe this was also created by Jorge Mendoza.
Chula Vista mural on Davidson Street with the names of local businesses and residents. I believe this was also created by Jorge Mendoza.

This tasteful little mural is at the entrance to Groundswell Brewing Co.
This tasteful little mural is at the entrance to Groundswell Brewing Co.

Abstract paintings by Rich Walker in the window of Art on Third.
Abstract paintings by Rich Walker in the window of Art on Third.

Beneath a window at Art on Third. I see a red door and I want to paint it black.
Beneath a window at Art on Third. I see a red door and I want to paint it black.

A large colorful mural at the Third and F office and retail complex.
A large colorful mural at the Third and F office and retail complex.

A street clock near the intersection of Third Avenue and F Street in Chula Vista.
A street clock near the intersection of Third Avenue and F Street in Chula Vista.

The street clock was dedicated on April 28, 1984.
The street clock was dedicated on April 28, 1984.

The arching Third Avenue landmark sign welcomes visitors to Chula Vista's historic downtown.
The arching Third Avenue landmark sign welcomes visitors to Chula Vista’s historic downtown.

According to a plaque on its base, downtown Chula Vista's Third Avenue landmark sign debuted on September 5, 2003.
According to a plaque on its base, downtown Chula Vista’s Third Avenue landmark sign debuted on September 5, 2003.

Fun graphic in the window of Teriyaki Grill.
Fun graphic in the window of Teriyaki Grill.

Check out the unique, attractive architecture of the El Primero Boutique Hotel!
Check out the unique, attractive architecture of the El Primero Boutique Hotel!

Old photo on AT&T building shows a scene from Chula Vista's early history.
Old photo on AT&T building shows a scene from Chula Vista’s early history.

I spotted this graffiti wall a block east of Third Avenue at Alvarado Street.
I spotted this graffiti wall a block east of Third Avenue at Alvarado Street.

Cool sculpture near intersection of Third Avenue and H Street in Chula Vista.
Cool sculpture near intersection of Third Avenue and H Street in Chula Vista.

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!

Living Coast Discovery Center needs your help!

I just read an article on the KPBS website about how the Living Coast Discovery Center desperately needs donations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of their revenue comes from people visiting the center, which has been closed. Meanwhile, the many animals in their care–the birds, turtles, snakes, small mammals and other wild critters rescued around South Bay’s wetlands–need to eat! That requires money!

So I thought perhaps some of my San Diego readers might like to help out, too.

Have your kids taken school field trips to the Living Coast Discovery Center? Have you enjoyed a visit with your family? These deserving people really need your help!

Click here to learn more and perhaps make a donation!

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 Working Waterfront mural in National City.

Cyclists following the Bayshore Bikeway head north on Marina Way past a mural on a building at the National City Marine Terminal.
Cyclists following the Bayshore Bikeway head north on Marina Way past a mural on a building at the National City Marine Terminal.

Earlier this year a mural titled The Working Waterfront was painted on the east side of a Pasha Group National Distribution Center building at the National City Marine Terminal.

The creator is internationally known artist DAAS. The new mural, which celebrates those who work unloading imported new cars at the nearby terminal, workers at San Diego’s shipyards, and others employed on the waterfront, was commissioned by the Port of San Diego. The large mural is visible to the west as you drive on Interstate 5.

I took photos last weekend during my walk in National City. I first spotted the mural as I headed up Paradise Trail, which follows Marina Way. The Bayshore Bikeway also heads this way, giving passing bicyclists a great view of this very colorful artwork!

The Working Waterfront, by muralist DAAS, in National City, California.
The Working Waterfront, by muralist DAAS, in National City, California.

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 part of the Sweetwater River Bikeway.

View of Interstate 5 over the Sweetwater River from the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.
View of Interstate 5 over the Sweetwater River from the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.

In my last blog post, I shared some photos that I took during yesterday’s walk along part of the Sweetwater River Bikeway. Those surprisingly artistic images were from the path beneath Interstate 5.

Now I’ll share additional photographs from my walk.

I began at the trailhead at the south end of Hoover Avenue. Once I reached the Sweetwater Bikeway, I headed west along the river, with a short detour to check out the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.

If you recognize Paradise Marsh and those overgrown old railroad tracks, that might be because a couple years ago I posted photos of them a little farther north here.

I walked onto the Sweetwater Bikeway from the trailhead at Hoover Avenue and W. 33rd Street in National City.
I walked onto the Sweetwater Bikeway from the trailhead at Hoover Avenue and W. 33rd Street in National City.

Turning a corner, about to go under a ramp from I-5 to U.S. Route 54.
Turning a corner, about to go under a ramp from I-5 to U.S. Route 54.

Here comes a Blue Line San Diego trolley!
Here comes a Blue Line San Diego trolley!

About to find myself on the Sweetwater River Bikeway.
About to find myself on the Sweetwater River Bikeway.

I begin walking west toward various bridges.
I begin walking west toward various bridges.

This guy and his bike found some summer shade by the water.
This guy and his bike found some summer shade by the water.

If you continue west, you eventually reach Pepper Park.
If you continue west, you eventually reach Pepper Park.

Bicyclists on Sweetwater Bikeway about to go under Interstate 5.
Bicyclists on Sweetwater Bikeway about to go under Interstate 5.

I took a bunch of cool photos under the freeway and shared them on my previous blog post!
I took a bunch of cool photos under the freeway and shared them on my previous blog post!

The head of a bicyclist is visible coming down the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.
The head of a bicyclist is visible coming down the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.

I turn for a moment to look back east.
I turn for a moment to look back east.

The Gordy Shields Bridge is dedicated to a civic leader who advocated for bicycling.
The Gordy Shields Bridge is dedicated to a civic leader who advocated for bicycling.

Now I'm walking south on the bike bridge, heading over the Sweetwater River channel.
Now I’m walking south on the bike bridge, heading over the Sweetwater River channel.

Looking east at traffic on Interstate 5.
Looking east at traffic on Interstate 5.

A guy on a skateboard passed me.
A guy on a skateboard passed me.

Looking west down the Sweetwater River channel toward San Diego Bay. That's Pier 32 Marina on the right.
Looking west down the Sweetwater River channel toward San Diego Bay. That’s an old train bridge. That’s the Pier 32 Marina beyond it on the right.

Someone made this cool peace sign out of some artificial wreath material.
Someone made this cool peace sign out of some artificial wreath material.

Another look east. That peak in the distance is San Miguel Mountain.
Another look east. That peak in the distance is San Miguel Mountain.

Freeway ramp swings south over part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Freeway ramp swings south over part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Sign at intersection of Bayshore Bikeway and Sweetwater River Bikeway.
I’m back by the water’s edge. A sign at the intersection of the Bayshore Bikeway and Sweetwater River Bikeway.

Biking west along the river channel.
Biking west along the river channel.

Continuing west. Lots of bikes out today!
Continuing west. Lots of bikes out for the weekend!

Looking north at Paradise Marsh, part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Looking north at Paradise Marsh, part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Part of Paradise Creek, which winds its way through the protected marshland.
Part of Paradise Creek, which winds its way through the protected marshland.

Paradise Marsh is a refuge for many local and migratory birds.
Paradise Marsh is a refuge for many local and migratory birds.

These old train tracks pass south over the Sweetwater River on a bridge that is no longer in use.
These old train tracks pass south over the Sweetwater River on a bridge that is no longer in use.

At this point the Sweetwater Bikeway turns away from the river and starts around the Pier 32 Marina.

That’s all for 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!

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!

Cool photos under I-5, over Sweetwater River!

Check out these very cool photos!

Yesterday I walked a little around National City. When I found myself under Interstate 5, where it passes over the Sweetwater River, my camera got really busy!

You might not think a freeway bridge over a channel of water would make for such interesting photographs. But I was stunned!

Some of those curving ramps you see overhead lead to U.S. Route 54, which runs parallel here to the Sweetwater River.

If you wonder about the bicycles, this is where the Sweetwater Bikeway intersects the Bayshore Bikeway. I saw lots of people out cycling in the sunshine–and through the dark shadows…

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 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!

Mosaics on wall by Silver Strand nature trail.

Check out this cool mosaic art at Silver Strand State Beach!

The artwork covers one side of a low wall near a California State Parks bench, where two paths in the northeast section of the park intersect. In my photos you can see a nature trail made of wood planks heading off through scrubby coastal habitat toward San Diego Bay.

To appreciate this unusual mosaic you need to view it up close. Bits of broken tiles, sea shells and other objects have been arranged into triangles. The triangles frame clay forms of native wildlife and people. In places the mosaics have broken off. The entire wall has become weathered in such a way that the organic artwork appears even more earthy.

Try as I might, I’m unable to discover any information about this public art.

Leave a comment if you know anything!

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!

Art Through History murals on Bayshore Bikeway!

People bicycle past huge colorful murals painted along the Bayshore Bikeway in Chula Vista.
People bicycle past huge colorful murals painted along the Bayshore Bikeway in Chula Vista.

In 2019, some of the largest, most impressive outdoor murals in San Diego were completed in Chula Vista along a stretch of the Bayshore Bikeway. Very few people see them–only those who ride or walk down a segment of the bike path west of L Street.

The bold, very colorful murals, representing different art styles throughout history, were painted by eleven talented artists. Check out these photos, then hop onto your bicycle to experience the amazing wall for yourself!

This public art was the result of the Chula Vista Art Through History Outdoor Art Gallery project, organized by the City of Chula Vista. The variety of styles portrayed celebrates the diversity that thrives in this South Bay community.

A row of bold murals that represent different art styles through history.
A row of bold murals that represent different art styles through history.

Art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, inspire and motivate!
Art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, inspire and motivate!

In Full Color, by Allison Bamcat. Classical Greek and Roman art.
In Full Color, by Allison Bamcat. Classical Greek and Roman art.

Wally, by Chloe Becky. Expressionism.
Wally, by Chloe Becky. Expressionism.

The Warrior, by Guillermo "Memuco" Munro. Arte Mexicano.
The Warrior, by Guillermo “Memuco” Munro. Arte Mexicano.

Crying Girl, by Daryl Shawni. Pop Art.
Crying Girl, by Daryl Shawn1. Pop Art.

Michelle Guerrero. Primitive Art.
Michelle Guerrero. Primitive Art.

Niz. Art Nouveau.
Niz. Art Nouveau.

Us Watching You, Watching Us, Watching You, by Jhelen Ramirez and George Shaffer. Post-Impressionism.
Us Watching You, Watching Us, Watching You, by Jhelen Ramirez and George Shaffer. Post-Impressionism.

In Bloom, by Andy Rios. Graffiti.
In Bloom, by Andy Rios. Graffiti.

Self-Actualized, by Sergio Daniel Robleto. Feminist art movement.
Self-Actualized, by Sergio Daniel Robleto. Feminist art movement.

Carve Your Path, by Sergio Daniel Robleto. Social Realism.
Carve Your Path, by Sergio Daniel Robleto. Social Realism.

Picasso, by Michelle Guerrero. Cubism.
Picasso, by Michelle Guerrero. Cubism.

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!

Fun scenes from the Fern Street Circus!

Today I took a long walk, wrote a little, and kicked back for a while as I enjoyed some entertainment in Chula Vista. Local favorite Fern Street Circus was performing in Bayfront Park as part of a special Port of San Diego event!

Circus in the Park: A South Bay Arts Event attracted a good crowd of happy people. Everyone got to watch jugglers, acrobats, and all sorts of thrilling circus acts. Kids were kept busy with an array of games and art activities, and everyone was treated by the Port of San Diego to some tasty food.

After watching the first circus performance, I walked by the water to a quiet park bench and looked out over San Diego Bay, thinking that much in life is indeed good.

(What I discovered once I resumed my walk was absolutely amazing. It’s something very few in San Diego know about–and one of the coolest things you’ll ever see! Those photos will be in the next blog post.)

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!