The unique bridges of Torrey Pines State Beach.

If you’ve walked along or driven past Torrey Pines State Beach, your eyes have probably lingered on two very different, uniquely picturesque bridges.

The North Torrey Pines Road Bridge, which crosses the narrow ocean inlet to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, was completed in 2005, replacing a 1932 structure that was neither earthquake-proof nor environmentally friendly. The new 340 feet long bridge was designed with only four columns, which allows for better natural tidal flushing of the lagoon. The graceful design has won numerous engineering awards.

As you can see in my photographs, the bridge fits in beautifully with the nearby beach and eyes are drawn to the sand and bright water. Next to the bridge is a preserved concrete chunk of the old bridge it replaced, with the original date of 1932.

The second, more elaborate bridge whose arches have a uniquely Gothic appearance is 553 feet long and crosses the railroad tracks at the north end of Torrey Pines State Beach. It has been variously called High Bridge, the Sorrento Overhead, or North Torrey Pines Bridge. Built in 1933, it facilitated increasing car traffic along the coast highway just south of Del Mar–part of the main route that connected San Diego to Los Angeles.

High Bridge was built to replace a railroad underpass located a short distance to the south. The original road was winding, steep, and the railroad’s wooden trestle was susceptible to flooding.

The picturesque but aging High Bridge was retrofitted between 2011 and 2014, thereby avoiding a proposed replacement.

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Plaques honor golf champions at Torrey Pines.

San Diego’s beloved Torrey Pines Golf Course is one of the most beautiful and famous golf courses in the world. It has a history of great competitions between the world’s top professional golfers.

Last weekend I walked a little around Torrey Pines Golf Course and took photos of outdoor plaques that honor notable past champions.

Plaques along one side of a practice putting green at Torrey Pines Golf Course.
Plaques along one side of a practice putting green at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

The Century Club WALK OF FAME.
The Century Club WALK OF FAME.

Arnold Palmer, San Diego Open Champion 1957, 1961.
Arnold Palmer, San Diego Open Champion 1957, 1961.

Billy Casper, San Diego Open Champion 1966.
Billy Casper, San Diego Open Champion 1966.

Gene Littler, San Diego Open Champion 1954.
Gene Littler, San Diego Open Champion 1954.

Tom Watson, San Diego Open Champion 1977, 1980.
Tom Watson, San Diego Open Champion 1977, 1980.

Craig Stadler, Buick Invitational Champion 1994.
Craig Stadler, Buick Invitational Champion 1994.

Jack Nicklaus, San Diego Open Champion 1969.
Jack Nicklaus, San Diego Open Champion 1969.

Scott Simpson, Buick Invitational Champion 1998.
Scott Simpson, Buick Invitational Champion 1998.

Gary Player, Buick Invitational Champion 1963.
Gary Player, Buick Invitational Champion 1963.

108th United States Open Championship, June 12-16, 2008. Champion Tiger Woods.
108th United States Open Championship, June 12-16, 2008. Champion Tiger Woods.

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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El Camino Real Bell at Torrey Pines.

After finishing my walk along North Torrey Pines Road last weekend, I waited for a bus at a stop near the north end of the Torrey Pines Golf Course and the south end of Torrey Pines State Reserve. For a while I watched groups of bicyclists fly past. Then I noticed that an El Camino Real Bell rose from the nearby sidewalk!

I’ve taken photographs of various historic El Camino Real Bells all around San Diego over the years. You can revisit a few of my sightings by clicking here.

As I explained in that blog post: “Many of these guidepost bells were placed in 1906 by the California Federation of Women’s Clubs. They marked the primitive roads that connected the old Spanish missions in California. El Camino Real, which means the Royal Road or King’s Highway in Spanish, led to 21 missions in Alta California, plus a variety of sub-missions, presidios and pueblos. The bells stand on tall posts in the shape of a shepherd’s crook. In subsequent years, bells have been removed or added to the California landscape.”

This bell appears similar to others I’ve come upon. An old plaque at the base of this one reads:

Donated by
California Federation of Women’s Clubs
Bostonia Woman’s Club

And, like other examples I’ve seen, this appears on the bell itself:

Loreto
Oct 25 1697

Solano
July 4 1823

According to the California State Parks website: “On October 25, 1697, Father Salvatierra founded the first permanent mission in the Californias on a sheltered plain opposite Isla Carmen. It was named Nuestra Señora de Loreto Concho…” (That original mission was built in what today is Baja California, Mexico.)

The 21st mission in Alta California (the present state of California) was established in San Francisco on July 4, 1823. It was the final and northernmost mission. It was named Mission San Francisco de Solano.

The name and founding date of both the first and last mission explains what is written on every El Camino Real Bell.

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 through natural beauty at Torrey Pines.

It’s easy to find breathtaking natural beauty in San Diego. Three of my favorite places to walk along the coast are Torrey Pines State Reserve, Torrey Pines State Beach, and the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

The high sandstone cliffs topped by rare, windswept Torrey pines, the beautiful beaches stretching at their feet, the endless surf, blue San Diego sky, lingering banks of fog . . . all of these elements combine to produce an experience that is difficult to match anywhere in the world.

Over the years I’ve taken many photographs around Torrey Pines. And it’s quite likely I’ll be taking many more!

This morning, as I sit at my computer wondering where I might walk today, I’ve decided to revisit some of those old blog posts.

Click these links to see great natural beauty…

Hiking Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Beach Trail.

Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Guy Fleming Trail.

Torrey Pines Extension hike to the DAR plaque.

The historic Lodge at Torrey Pines State Reserve.

A walk in fog along Torrey Pines State Beach.

Taking flight at the Torrey Pines Gliderport!

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!

Oil painted walks in nature’s beauty.

It’s going to be hot this weekend. So I’m planning on taking it easy–do some reading by the water, perhaps write something.

Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to create even more digital oil paintings!

My recent walk in San Clemente Canyon has inspired me to select a few past photos of nature’s beauty, and transform them into “paintings” with GIMP’s graphic Oilify filter.

If you think you recognize the ocean at Torrey Pines State Reserve, the San Diego River, Mount Laguna, snow at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and Mission Trails Regional Park–in no particular order–you’d be correct!

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!

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 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.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

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Conjuring magic bubbles by the ocean.

Early this morning I took a long walk along Torrey Pines State Beach.

After the fog had lifted, as I made my way back north from the sandstone cliffs, I was surprised to see colorful bubbles rising above the surf.

They appeared to be magic bubbles.

Then I saw the magician.

Watching the delicate bubbles rise, I suddenly thought of a short story that I wrote some time ago. It’s titled One Magic Bubble. It’s a bittersweet story about life. If you’d like, you can read it here.

Del Mar’s natural beauty, beach from Coaster!

I was careful to sit on the west side of the Coaster yesterday for my trip from San Diego to Encinitas. The very best views can be enjoyed from that side when riding the train through Del Mar.

I thought it would be fun to take photographs of the natural beauty. As we quickly moved through La Jolla out over Los Peñasquitos Lagoon I had my camera ready.

I snapped photographs nonstop as we flew over the marshy lagoon and past Torrey Pines State Beach, then up along the bluff’s edge toward Seagrove Park.

We were moving so fast that the nearby vegetation was a blur. But my small camera was able to capture the distant sandstone cliffs of Torrey Pines State Reserve, the broad Pacific Ocean’s beautiful white surf, people down below on the beach, and even a line of pelicans flying through the blue sky.

I altered these photos a bit, sharpening them and increasing contrast.

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!

Los Peñasquitos Lagoon between winter storms.

Debris has been washed by the ocean under the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach.
Debris has been washed by the ocean under the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach.

This morning, the day after a severe winter storm, I visited Torrey Pines State Beach and the ocean inlet to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Arriving at high tide, I found myself astonished by the incredible power of nature. Turbulent waves were crashing onto the pedestrian walkway under the North Torrey Pines Road bridge.

I spent some time exploring near the state park’s North Parking Lot and its entrance. I then headed north along a path at the edge of sandstone cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I took many photographs, striving to capture nature’s awesome power and beauty.

And more winter storms are on the way!

Please read the photo captions to learn a bit more about this special place.

A lifeguard keeps an eye on wild surf at Torrey Pines State Beach.
A lifeguard keeps an eye on wild surf at Torrey Pines State Beach.

The friendly lifeguard said that waves can wash over the walkway during high tide at this time of the year.
The friendly lifeguard said that waves can wash over the walkway during high tide at this time of the year.

The bridge over the lagoon inlet during a very high tide. The storm-disturbed water appeared very muddy.
The bridge over the lagoon inlet during a very high tide. The storm-disturbed water appeared very muddy.

An information sign was pushed over by high winds from yesterday's storm. The power of nature is displayed.
An information sign was pushed over by high winds from yesterday’s storm. The power of nature is displayed.

Open to the Ocean. Over time, the lagoon mouth has filled in and reopened, changed shape and relocated many times.
Open to the Ocean. Over time, the lagoon mouth has filled in and reopened, changed shape and relocated many times.

Across the lagoon to the south rises beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve, home of the endangered Torrey pine, rarest pine tree in North America.
Across the lagoon to the south rises beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve, home of the endangered Torrey pine, rarest pine tree in North America.

Looking west along Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Light shines on a sheet of water swollen by high tide.
Looking west along Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Light shines on a sheet of water swollen by high tide.

This coastal marsh in San Diego's North County is a special place where wildlife is abundant.
This coastal marsh in San Diego’s North County is a special place where wildlife is abundant.

The sandy beaches, sand dunes, sandstone cliffs and bluffs, provides the habitat for the Coastal Strand plant community.
The sandy beaches, sand dunes, sandstone cliffs and bluffs, provides the habitat for the Coastal Strand plant community.

A cheerful yellow bush sunflower.
A cheerful yellow bush sunflower.

Looking across the wetland toward the train bridge near the beach.
Looking across the wetland toward the train bridge near the beach.

Life in the Lagoon. Birds are the most commonly seen animals in the lagoon. Ample food and nesting materials allow many to live here year-round.
Life in the Lagoon. Birds are the most commonly seen animals in the lagoon. Ample food and nesting materials allow many to live here year-round.

A great egret stands in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, patiently watching for fish in the water.
A great egret stands in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, patiently watching for fish in the water.

People walk west from Carmel Valley Road into the North Beach Lot of Torrey Pines State Beach.
People walk west from Carmel Valley Road into the North Beach Lot of Torrey Pines State Beach.

Sign includes map of the San Diego Trans County Trail, which runs east from the ocean along Peñasquitos Creek, through Los Peñasquitos Canyon.
Sign includes map of the San Diego Trans County Trail, which runs east from the ocean along Peñasquitos Creek, through Los Peñasquitos Canyon.

Closed lifeguard Tower 5 at Torrey Pines State Beach is splashed by wild winter waves during high tide.
Closed lifeguard Tower 5 at Torrey Pines State Beach is splashed by wild winter waves during high tide.

Gazing down at powerful Pacific Ocean surf on a winter day between storms.
Gazing down at incoming Pacific Ocean surf on a winter day between storms.

Coaster train moves along tracks north of Torrey Pines State Beach, heading atop scenic sandstone cliffs into Del Mar.
Coaster train moves along tracks north of Torrey Pines State Beach, heading atop scenic sandstone cliffs into Del Mar.

A line of bicyclists head down Pacific Coast Highway from Del Mar toward Torrey Pines State Beach.
A line of bicyclists head down Pacific Coast Highway from Del Mar toward Torrey Pines State Beach.

Ocean waves crash toward the North Torrey Pines Road bridge over the entrance to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.
Ocean waves crash toward the North Torrey Pines Road bridge over the entrance to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.

Mud and debris under the bridge. The result of a strong winter storm and the mighty ocean.
Mud and debris under the bridge. The result of a strong winter storm and the mighty ocean.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.