Amazing walk from Swami’s to the Cardiff Kook.

Surfer crossing sign near a golden dome of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram in Encinitas.
Surfer crossing sign near a golden dome of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram in Encinitas.

Today I went for a long walk beside the Pacific Ocean. I began along old Coast Highway 101 from the Coaster’s Encinitas Station, headed south through Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and walked all the way through Solana Beach to Via de la Valle.

The following photographs are from one very cool stretch of my walk.

Come along! We begin at Swami’s in Encinitas and proceed south down Coast Highway 101 to the Cardiff Kook sculpture.

As you will see, this is quite an amazing walk.

Please read the captions!

A woody with surfboard heads north along old Coast Highway 101 past one of the exotic Self-Realization Fellowship Golden Lotus Towers.
A woody with surfboard heads along old Coast Highway 101, past one of the Self-Realization Fellowship’s iconic Golden Lotus Towers.
As I walked south, a surfer passed me on the sidewalk going the opposite way.
As I walked south by the exotic ashram, a surfer passed me on the sidewalk going the opposite way. I turned to take a photo.
Here comes another surfer, heading through the park by the Swami's Beach parking lot. It appears he finished surfing at Swami's Reef for the day.
A few steps farther and here comes another surfer, heading through the park by the Swami’s Beach parking lot. It appears he just finished surfing at Swami’s Reef.
I've arrived at the entrance to Swami's Beach, which was mentioned in the Beach Boys' song Surfin' U.S.A..
I’ve arrived at the entrance to Swami’s Beach, which was mentioned in the Beach Boys’ song Surfin’ U.S.A.
Two huge Easter Island Heads carved of wood tilt in the grassy park at Swami's.
Two huge Easter Island Heads carved of wood tilt in the grassy park at Swami’s.
Both Easter Island Heads were created by Tim Richards and are in the Encinitas Public Art Collection.
Both Easter Island Heads were created by Tim Richards and are in the Encinitas Public Art Collection.
Cool art on a park planter.
Cool art on a park planter.
People walk past another planter with cool tile art.
People walk past another planter with cool tile art depicting a palm tree and Pacific Ocean sunset.
A blue wave seems to be surging up from the walkway ahead.
A blue wave seems to be splashing up from the walkway ahead.
This public artwork is the Swamis Surfing Memorial.
This public artwork is the Swamis Surfing Memorial.
Dedicated with appreciation to Gary Taylor and the others whose efforts of the past and future make Encinitas a better place to live and surf.
Dedicated with appreciation to Gary Taylor and the others whose efforts of the past and future make Encinitas a better place to live and surf.
One guy stretches while a couple gets ready to head down to Swami's Beach.
One guy stretches while a couple gets ready to head down to Swami’s Beach.
Descending steps to the public beach far below.
Descending steps to the public beach far below.
Benches above the bluffs allow people to watch the surfing action at Swami's internationally famous point break.
Benches above the bluffs allow people to watch the surfing action at Swami’s internationally famous point break.
My small camera catches some distant surfing action.
My small camera catches some distant surfing action.
Many surfers were out on a sunny September day, enjoying good conditions.
Many surfers were out on a sunny September day, enjoying good conditions.
Engraved on a rock by the benches are the words: Waves on the Point are dedicated to Syrus King.
Engraved on a rock by the benches are the words: Waves on the Point are dedicated to Syrus King.
Looking south along the beautiful shoreline as I get ready to resume my walk along Coast Highway 101, sometimes referred to as Pacific Coast Highway.
Looking south along the beautiful shoreline as I get ready to resume my walk along Coast Highway 101, sometimes referred to as Pacific Coast Highway.
Bicyclists head down South Coast Highway 101, leaving Encinitas.
Bicyclists head down South Coast Highway 101, leaving Encinitas.
I turn for a moment to glance back north at Swami's.
I turn for a moment to glance back north at Swami’s.
The surging Pacific Ocean and the narrow beach below.
The surging Pacific Ocean and the narrow beach below.
A cool pink residence near the highway with a great view of the ocean.
A cool pink residence near the highway with a great view of the ocean.
As I continue south I see a lifeguard tower coming up.
As I continue south I see a lifeguard tower coming up.
People gaze at the foaming water from a rocky beach.
People gaze at the foaming water from a rocky beach.
I couldn't help looking back north one more time.
I couldn’t help looking back north one more time.
Lifeguard tower 19 near the north end of San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff rises above wet sand.
Lifeguard tower 19 near the north end of San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff rises above wet sand.
I saw hundreds of surfers out in the water during my walk. Looks like fun!
I saw hundreds of surfers out in the water during my walk. Looks like fun!
Walking down a path that enters the campground area at San Elijo State Beach.
Walking down a path that enters the campground area at San Elijo State Beach.
A smiley for a laid-back, sunny day.
A smiley for a laid-back, sunny day in Southern California.
Entrance sign at San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff-by-the Sea.
Entrance sign at San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff-by-the Sea.
Continuing south along Coast Highway 101, approaching Chesterfield Drive.
Continuing south along Coast Highway 101, approaching Chesterfield Drive.
Up ahead I see the Cardiff Kook. The bronze sculpture is officially called Magic Carpet Ride, but to most people the figure on the surfboard appears a bit kooky.
Up ahead at the intersection I see the Cardiff Kook. The bronze sculpture is officially called Magic Carpet Ride, but to most people the youthful figure on a surfboard appears awkward and silly.
Someone looks up at the Cardiff Kook, which is often dressed up by pranksters in odd clothing and costumes.
Someone looks up at the Cardiff Kook, which is often dressed up by pranksters in odd clothing and costumes.
Magic Carpet Ride, 2007, bronze, Matthew Antichevich.
Magic Carpet Ride, 2007, bronze, Matthew Antichevich.
If the balloon is any indication, the Cardiff Kook must be celebrating a birthday.
If the balloon is any indication, the Cardiff Kook must be celebrating a birthday.
A poem for the Cardiff Kook.
A poem for the Cardiff Kook.

Magic Carpet Ride

Grommit of bronze
On an ocean of stone
Frozen in time
In Cardiff, at home
Action in art
Still life by the sea
Community pride
Goofy footed and free
Exuberant youth
Arms open and wide
A cultural ambassador
Takes his first ride
His story is our story
Personified Grace
Both the past and the future
See yourself in his face
Grommit of bronze
On an ocean of stone
Surfs by the sea
In Cardiff, at home.

A wonderfully kooky conclusion to an amazing walk!
A wonderfully kooky conclusion to this amazing stretch of my walk!

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!

Torrey Pines Extension hike to the DAR plaque.

This morning I enjoyed an incredible (and relatively easy) hike along several short trails through Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve’s less-visited Northeastern Extension.

I started from the trailhead at the northeast end of Del Mar Scenic Parkway and, watching for rattlesnakes, climbed north along the Mar Scenic Trail to the DAR Trail.

When I reached the trail junction where one turns to reach the DAR plaque, I elected to continue west downhill for a short distance, just to enjoy the amazing scenery. Beyond picturesque Torrey Pine trees stretched the wide blue Pacific Ocean and Torrey Pines State Beach.

Finally I retraced my steps, turned north on the West Ridge D.A.R., and made my way to the historic DAR plaque.

It reads:

TORREY PINE STATE RESERVE

D A R TRAIL AND MEMORIAL GROVE

THIS TRAIL AND MEMORIAL GROVE
ARE DEDICATED TO OUR PLEDGE TO SAVE
AND FAITHFULLY DEFEND FROM WASTE
THE NATURAL RESOURCES OF OUR COUNTRY.
ITS SOILS, MINERALS, ITS FORESTS,
WATERS AND WILDLIFE.

THE CALIFORNIA STATE SOCIETY
OF THE
NATIONAL SOCIETY
DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
MRS. LEROY CONRAD KAUMP, STATE REGENT
NOVEMBER 16, 1971
U.S.A. BICENTENNIAL PROJECT

What a fantastic walk!

Unlike the very popular main section of Torrey Pines State Reserve, which is located to the south across Los Penasquitos Lagoon, it’s possible you won’t encounter another human being while hiking through this small area of protected wilderness. Wear sturdy shoes or boots because the sandy path can be a bit slippery. And bring some water. It can get pretty warm!

Enjoy the following photos!

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 walk in fog along Torrey Pines State Beach.

This morning I arrived at Torrey Pines State Beach very early. About 7:30. A deep, thick fog blanketed the shore and nearby bluffs.

I began my walk around the North Torrey Pines Road bridge that spans the entrance to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. I headed south toward the towering sandstone cliffs.

When I moved from the noisy roadway down to the sand, it became very quiet. Just the sound of distant surf. A couple of stand up paddle boarders were visible through the fog. People were fishing from the sand. People were walking along the beach. Moving through the dreamlike fog. Where minds and hearts, made quiet, can focus.

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Help students learn about San Diego history!

Help our students discover the past.
Help our students discover the past.

Do you love San Diego? Your help is needed!

The Old Town San Diego Foundation is raising funds so that Fourth Grade students across San Diego County can continue taking educational field trips to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The San Diego History Program helps kids learn about San Diego’s unique, culturally diverse early history. But financial assistance is urgently needed!

I found out about this program today while walking about Old Town’s Founders Day event. I learned thousands of students have been fortunate to enjoy these field trips in past years. Fourth graders visit Old Town’s interactive museums and enjoy special docent led tours.

The nice folks of the Old Town San Diego Foundation explained that without this program, many young people would probably never visit the birthplace of San Diego and California.

Often kids who participate are so amazed by what they discover, they bring their families back to Old Town! How cool is that?

But funds are now needed to continue this program.

Please visit the Old Town San Diego Foundation website here to learn more.

And please visit the “4th Graders Need Your Help” GoFundMe page here to make your contribution! Donations are 100% tax deductible.

(I know that some educators follow this blog. Spread the word!)

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 free walking tour of Old Town San Diego.

A small group on a free walking tour learns about the history of Old Town San Diego.
A small group on a free walking tour learns about the history of Old Town San Diego.

A free walking tour of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is available every day at 11 am and 2 pm. The tours meet in front of the Robinson-Rose House Visitor Center, at the northwest end of Old Town’s large grassy plaza.

When I visit Old Town San Diego, I’ll sometimes join the walking tour while it’s in progress. Last weekend I happened to be in front of the Robinson-Rose House right at eleven o’clock, so I decided to enjoy the full one hour tour!

During this easy walk a guide in period costume provides fascinating information about San Diego’s early history. Several different periods are covered, from the Spanish mission period, to the Mexican rancho period, to the early American period. The main interpretive period is 1821 to 1872.

Among the following photos are a few interesting bits of history…

Free walking tours begin daily at 11 and 2 in front of the Robinson-Rose House Visitor Center at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Free walking tours begin daily at 11 and 2 in front of the Robinson-Rose House Visitor Center at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Inside the Robinson-Rose House visitors can view a large model behind glass. It shows what Old Town San Diego looked like in 1872.
Inside the Robinson-Rose House visitors can view a large model behind glass. It shows what Old Town San Diego looked like in 1872.
The tour guide leads our group out into Old Town's historic Plaza de las Armas.
The tour guide leads our group out into Old Town’s historic Plaza de las Armas.
We learn that the Native American Kumeyaay village of Cosoy was located right here, long before Old Town was established.
We learn that the Native American Kumeyaay village of Cosoy was located right here, long before Old Town was established.

The Native American Kumeyaay village of Cosoy was located where Old Town San Diego’s plaza was established. Before the San Diego River was diverted in 1877, its water ran very close to Old Town and was an integral part of the life of early people in our desert-like Southern California coastal region.

Our tour now heads toward restored buildings that stand on the southwest side of the plaza.
Our tour now heads toward restored buildings that stand on the southwest side of the plaza.
We enter Casa de Machado y Silvas, where today visitors can view the small Commercial Restaurant museum.
We enter Casa de Machado y Silvas, where today visitors can view the small Commercial Restaurant museum.
Our tour guide talks about tiny San Diego during the Mexican rancho period. Trade goods were acquired from merchant ships in exchange for cattle hides, which were called California Banknotes.
Our tour guide talks about tiny San Diego during the Mexican rancho period. Trade goods were acquired from merchant ships in exchange for cattle hides, which were called California Banknotes.

When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, the Spanish soldiers of the nearby San Diego Presidio switched their allegiance to Mexico, which couldn’t afford to pay them. For their service, they were given land at the foot of Presidio Hill, where many soldiers and their families built houses. That is how Old Town started.

You can learn more about La Casa de Machado y Silvas and the fascinating Commercial Restaurant museum here.

We head back outside into the plaza.
We head back outside into the plaza.
We learn more about Old Town by the unusual, tall flagpole.
We learn more about the history of Old Town by the unusual, tall flagpole.
Old Town's flagpole resembles a ship's mast!
Old Town’s flagpole resembles a ship’s mast!

You might notice the flagpole at the center of Old Town’s Plaza looks a lot like a ship’s mast. Because originally it was!

When an American force under Captain Samuel F. DuPont sailed into San Diego Bay in 1846 to take control of Old Town unopposed, the plaza had no flagpole, because most of the independent-minded Californios who lived here didn’t feel a strong attachment to Mexico. So a ship’s mast was used to raise the flag of the United States.

You can see a bronze plaque commemorating the event here.

You can learn more about the old Spanish cannon that sits in the middle of Old Town’s plaza near the flagpole here.

We head toward a tree that stands near the Colorado House.
We head toward a tree that stands near the Colorado House.
This is where the Franklin House hotel once stood.
This is where the Franklin House hotel once stood.

A vacant area of ground beside the Colorado House (now home of the Wells Fargo Museum) is where the Franklin House hotel used to stand. It was Old Town’s only three story building, notable for its relative elegance and its baths.

The Franklin House was destroyed during the great fire of 1872 along with several adjacent buildings including Old Town’s courthouse, ensuring that San Diego’s future would be located in Alonzo Horton’s New Town, which was then called Horton’s Addition.

To learn more about San Diego’s first courthouse, click here.

To learn more about Colorado House and the Wells Fargo Museum, click here.

We head toward a beautifully restored adobe house that stands alone behind the plaza buildings.
We head toward a beautifully restored adobe house that stands alone behind the plaza buildings.
Entering the grounds of La Casa de Machado y Stewart Museum.
Entering the grounds of La Casa de Machado y Stewart Museum.
Many artifacts are displayed in the main living room of La Casa de Machado y Stewart. An adjacent bedroom is where parents and daughters slept. The sons slept outside in San Diego's temperate climate.
Many artifacts are displayed in the main living room of La Casa de Machado y Stewart. An adjacent bedroom is where parents and daughters slept. The sons slept outside in San Diego’s temperate climate.

Our tour group then walked over to Casa de Machado y Stewart. We learned many things, including the fact that the fancier china seen on the dining table came by merchant ships that crossed the Pacific from Asia.

The more simple items like candlesticks were made by local blacksmiths. Because iron was rare in San Diego, harpoons from a brief period of whaling in San Diego Bay were used to make a variety of furnishings and household utensils.

You can learn more about the Casa de Machado y Stewart here.

You can learn about Old Town’s blacksmith shop here.

We also learned that the art of brick-making was introduced to Old Town by members of the Mormon Battalion, whose arrival in San Diego you can learn about here.

The outdoor oven was made of clay and adobe bricks. Cow manure provided fuel!
The outdoor oven was made of clay and adobe bricks. Cow manure provided fuel!
The garden outside La Casa de Machado y Stewart not only provided vegetables for eating, but native herbs used for medicine.
The garden outside La Casa de Machado y Stewart not only provided vegetables for eating, but native herbs used for medicine.
Our tour guide explains the uses of prickly pear. The cochineal beetle found on prickly pears is used to make red dye. That plant you see is about 150 years old!
Our tour guide explains the uses of prickly pear. The cochineal beetle found on prickly pears is used to make red dye. That plant you see is about 150 years old!
Finally, we head over to the beautiful, iconic Casa de Estudillo.
Finally, we head over to the beautiful, iconic Casa de Estudillo.
The courtyard of the U-shaped Casa de Estudillo includes a simple fountain at the center.
The courtyard of the U-shaped Casa de Estudillo includes a simple fountain at the center.
Sitting on wooden benches, learning more about San Diego's unique early history.
Sitting on wooden benches, learning more about San Diego’s unique early history.

The walking tour concluded inside the courtyard of La Casa de Estudillo. In many respects, this beautiful house is the centerpiece of Old Town San Diego. Two past blog posts provide a great deal of information about La Casa de Estudillo.

You can peer into the house’s restored rooms and learn about their history here.

You can learn how a wildly popular novel saved this historic building from destruction here!

The walking tour is over. Now visitors to Old Town can roam wherever they fancy, and visit the numerous free museums around the plaza.
The walking tour is over. Now visitors to Old Town San Diego can roam wherever they fancy, and visit numerous free museums scattered around the plaza.

Finally, to enjoy a good overview of San Diego’s early history, I recommend a visit to Old Town’s excellent McCoy House Museum. You can check out my blog post featuring its many exhibits 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!

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!

Earth Day at Old Town’s Native Plant Garden.

Many volunteers improve the Native Plant Garden near the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego.
Many volunteers improve the Native Plant Garden near the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego.

I was pleased to stumble upon an Earth Day event today as I walked into Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. A variety of organizations had gathered along the path leading to the McCoy House Museum, and many volunteers were working in the nearby Native Plant Garden.

What did I see?

Sign welcomes visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park's weekend Earth Day Open House!
Sign welcomes visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s cool Earth Day Open House!
Volunteers work with a State Park Ranger in Old Town's native garden for Earth Day. The Old Town Transit Center is visible in the background.
Volunteers work with a State Park Ranger in Old Town’s native garden for Earth Day. The Old Town Transit Center is visible in the background.
A row of tents near the McCoy House Museum welcomes curious visitors during the Earth Day Open House event.
A row of tents near the McCoy House Museum welcomes curious visitors during the Earth Day Open House event.
These guys represent Green Love, an environmental organization of the Associated Students at San Diego State University.
These guys represent Green Love, an environmental organization of the Associated Students at San Diego State University.
Green Love's endeavors include campus outreach, environmental justice, sustainable transportation, and even a community garden.
Green Love’s endeavors include campus outreach, environmental justice, sustainable transportation, and even a community garden.
Friendly ladies of the Old Town Basketry Guild demonstrate their craft.
Friendly ladies of the Old Town Basketry Guild demonstrate their ancient craft.
Sheet details how to become a member of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Basketry Guild.
Sheet details how to become a member of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Basketry Guild.
Participants in Old Town's Earth Day hang out by the McCoy House, which today serves as a museum of San Diego's early history.
Participants in Old Town’s Earth Day hang out by the McCoy House, which today serves as a museum of San Diego’s early history.
At this table, the California State Parks Foundation celebrates Earth Day!
At this table, the California State Parks Foundation celebrates Earth Day!
This sheet shows upcoming volunteer opportunities in California State Parks!
This sheet shows upcoming volunteer opportunities in several regional California State Parks!
An expert showed me examples of native San Diego flowers, like the California golden poppy, our state's official flower.
A knowledgeable expert showed me examples of native San Diego flowers, including the richly golden California poppy, our state’s official flower.
Flyer provides info concerning the California Native Plant Society's San Diego Garden Tour 2019.
Flyer provides info concerning the California Native Plant Society’s San Diego Garden Tour 2019.
I declined to plant a seed today, but I did get some smiles.
I declined to plant a seed today, but I did get some smiles.
Guys with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife answered questions at their table. I believe that's a coyote.
Guys with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife answered questions at their table. I believe that’s a coyote.
Hard-working volunteers could be seen all around the Native Plant Garden.
Hard-working volunteers could be seen all around the Native Plant Garden.
These generous Target employee volunteers were repairing the fence around the McCoy House. Thank you!
These generous Target employee volunteers were repairing the fence around the McCoy House. Thank you!
Caring for our planet during a cool Earth Day event.
Caring for our planet during a cool Earth Day event.

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!

Magical light transforms Old Town backyards.

After work I got off the trolley at Old Town, crossed Congress Street, and headed into the State Historic Park. With the recent return to Daylight Saving Time, there’s an extra hour of light for a leisurely walk.

At first I wasn’t sure what I would photograph. Then, minutes before the sun might disappear behind the horizon, I found myself lingering near the backyards of several very early San Diego houses.

It was the golden, almost dreamlike light that caught my eyes.

I walked along a quiet pathway that passes behind a row of historic structures, including Colorado House, La Casa de Machado y Silvas, U.S. House and San Diego House.

These backyards, back porches and gardens always appear a bit timeworn and scraggly, but the late light magically turned them into something wholly new.

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!