Photos of Manzanita Mountain Man Rendezvous!

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live as a mountain man? Trekking through the wilderness as a trapper or frontier explorer? Journeying through the untamed American West as a trader, prospector, scout or pioneer?

What would it be like to leave the comforts and routine obligations of a civilized life behind? To go where few had gone before, finding your own way over rugged mountains, across uncharted rivers, living on the land, camping beneath the stars?

Today I learned a little of what that was like. I drove an hour east of San Diego to Northcote Ranch to enjoy the 26th Annual Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous!

This modern reenactment of an historic Rocky Mountain rendezvous takes place in the beautiful countryside near Lake Morena. It attracts reenactors and visiting history buffs, school students and families from all around the Southwest. Every single participant I met was extremely friendly. They showed me and other visitors around with enthusiasm.

I observed many participants in period costumes camping in canvas tents and tepees across a broad field and among shady trees. Many of the campers create their own leather goods, jewelry and other Old West artifacts.

As I walked about, I listened to frontier music, visited a gunsmith, looked at the wares of different traders, and stepped inside a couple of the largest tepees. On several outdoor ranges I observed people throwing tomahawks, shooting arrows, even shooting authentic black powder muskets. I even enjoyed a good old hamburger and tater tots at The Hungry Dowg restaurant tent!

Other rendezvous activities, which happened to be idle during my visit today, include blacksmithing, candle making and woodworking. There is something intriguing everywhere one turns!

I photographed some of the informative signs, including one that concerns San Diego’s early history–particularly the 1820s to 1840s, when Fur Trade goods were sold to merchant ships that traveled around Cape Horn. Back then a wandering trapper would occasionally come into Old Town. Click those photos and they’ll enlarge for easy reading!

If you’ve never been to a mountain man rendezvous, make sure to put the Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous on your calendar for next year. Kids absolutely love it.

This fantastic event is open to the general public and admission is free!

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!

Dramatic clouds from atop convention center!

A stormy day today. Dramatic clouds marched across the sky.

After work I climbed to the top of the San Diego Convention Center for a sweeping view.

To the south, the Coronado Bay Bridge and Hilton caught a few late rays from the sun. To the north, magnificent clouds glowed above the Flame of Friendship sculpture and Marriott. In the distance, beams of light touched the bay, making the water shimmer.

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!

Natural habitat for birds, wildlife near SeaWorld.

A few people walk down a dirt path near SeaWorld. Native coastal plants provide habitat for migratory birds and local wildlife.
A few people walk down a dirt path next to SeaWorld. Coastal plants provide habitat for birds and wildlife.

There’s a quiet, seldom visited area adjacent to SeaWorld that provides valuable habitat for both local and migratory birds. You can find this narrow strip of land directly northeast of SeaWorld, on the edge of Mission Bay, just west of South Shores Park.

Walk down the dirt path by the water and you’ll discover native plants, beautiful views, a few park benches, and a sense of wonder. This bit of land was set aside as natural coastal habitat with the help of the Audubon Society, SeaWorld San Diego, and a several other organizations who care about protecting the environment.

I walked down the path during the weekend and read a number of interesting signs. Few other people were around. I shared the warm sunshine with birds that took flight over land and water.

Click the photos of signs if you’d like to read them.

One sign displays plants that provide food and shelter for the birds and insects of Mission Bay.
One sign displays plants that provide food and shelter for the birds and insects of Mission Bay.
Heading west down the path, along the south edge of Mission Bay.
Heading west down the rough path, along the south shore of Mission Bay.
Looking north across the water at boats, kayaks and Fiesta Island.
Looking north across the water at boats, kayaks and Fiesta Island.
Audubon's Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program identifies and conserves a network of sites essential for wild bird populations. Mission Bay is one of seven IBAs in San Diego County.
Audubon’s Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program identifies and conserves a network of sites essential for wild bird populations. Mission Bay is one of seven IBAs in San Diego County.
A patch of what I believe is Ceanothus, or California Lilac. A bird perched on some dry sunflowers is a gray blur in this photograph.
A patch of what I believe is Ceanothus, or California Lilac. A bird perched on some dry yellow flowers is a blur in this photograph.
Mission Bay sustains thousands of birds, as many species stop over in San Diego during their migration along the Pacific flyway.
Mission Bay sustains thousands of birds, as many species stop over in San Diego during their migration along the Pacific flyway.
Looks like a heron flying overhead, scanning the water.
Looks like a heron flying overhead, scanning the water.
Sign identifies birds that might be seen here. San Diego is home to nearly 500 bird species.
Sign identifies birds that might be seen here. San Diego is home to nearly 500 bird species.
Some shelter by the water for birds and other small animals.
Some shelter by the water for birds and other small animals.
More natural habitat that contains much hidden life.
More natural habitat that contains much hidden life.
Another sign with more California natives, including plants and birds.
Another sign with more California natives, including plants and birds.
Someone walks on a path that winds near the entrance to this little visited park-like space.
Someone walks on a path that winds near the entrance to this small park-like space.

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!

Photos of dragon boat races on Mission Bay!

The 15th Annual San Diego Dragon Boat Festival was held today in the Tecolote Shores North part of Mission Bay. This cool event is presented by the San Diego Alliance for Asian Pacific Islander Americans. Twenty two wild races on the water saw competition between amateur dragon boat teams from all around our region and nation.

My walk around Mission Bay late this morning included a long pause to watch the action…

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 paintings created on San Diego train ride!

Travelling by a train is like moving through a dream. The window beside your seat produces ever-changing visions. Glimpses of the world blink past, one after another. Your eyes are subject to a series of momentary impressions.

It can be hard to capture good photographs when riding the train up the coast from San Diego. You’re moving, there’s a dusty window and reflections to deal with, and of course there’s the critical matter of timing. When I snapped photos yesterday during my Coaster train ride from San Diego to Encinitas, most of the images turned out badly blurred and poorly framed.

So I decided to use the Oilify filter of GIMP’s graphics software to transform the photos of my journey into a series of dreamlike oil paintings!

All aboard! We’re about to leave downtown’s Santa Fe Depot . . .

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!

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!

A photographic adventure by the water.

I enjoyed a small photographic adventure yesterday evening.

Walking along the Embarcadero, camera in hand, I gazed out toward San Diego Bay and the descending sun. Occasionally I paused to frame long shadows, glowing clouds, silhouettes and bright reflections on the water.

These photographs represent a segment of my walk from Broadway Pier to the Greatest Generation Walk, just south of the USS Midway.

The exaggerated contrasts in these photos were produced by my camera’s automatic mode. When I shoot into the sun, many of the resulting images can appear very dramatic. And darkly mysterious!

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!