Help build a trail to the Cabrillo tide pools!

Do you love Cabrillo National Monument? Would you like to help build a spectacular hiking trail that will connect the whale watching overlook to the tide pools 400 feet below?

You can become a trailblazer!

The trail’s construction has begun, but there’s more to do. And additional donations are necessary. As you can see from an information sign inside the Visitor Center, quite a lot of money had been raised by the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation already.

I asked a park ranger about this project. Several phases are completed, including archaeological surveys and removal of vegetation that will be replanted elsewhere in the park.

The plan is to have the new trail open this year!

Can you help?

To help make this trail a reality, click here!

The next photo shows where the new trail will begin, just beyond the whale watching overlook. It will branch off from the short existing trail that leads down to a pair of World War II bunkers.

And my final photo shows the new trail’s destination: the Cabrillo National Monument tide pools!

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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!

Balboa Park’s ornamental pear trees in bloom!

It’s late January. Balboa Park’s ornamental pear trees are in full bloom!

Like a dream, or an Impressionist painting, clouds of white flowers now fill El Prado. The ornamental pears in both Plaza de Panama and Plaza de Balboa are putting on their winter show!

Delicate blossoms fluttering down from the trees appeared to me like gently falling snowflakes…

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!

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A walk into history down Mule Hill Trail.

Walk down Mule Hill Trail at the south end of Escondido and you’ll find yourself stepping into history.

A while back I blogged about the forgotten town of Bernardo. A hundred years ago it was located in farmland near this trail, prior to the creation of Lake Hodges.

Down this same trail information signs mark the location of Mule Hill, where a skirmish took place during the Mexican-American War.

Seeking shelter among rocky outcroppings, General Kearny established a defensive position against pursuing Californios, as his U.S. Dragoons retreated toward San Diego after the Battle of San Pasqual.

The precise location of this skirmish was in debate for many years. Here are some interesting articles.

Today, after a short, easy walk south down Mule Hill Trail, you’ll see the outcroppings rising above several signs. You can find the wide dirt trail just east of Interstate 15, off Bear Valley Parkway, before Beethoven Drive.

Beginning south down Mule Hill Trail, part of the San Dieguito River Park.

The wide, easy trail leads south toward both Mule Hill and the forgotten town of Bernardo.

Off to the right near river trees, a solitary sign beckons.

Start of the Engagement, December 7, 1846

“Late in the evening, when we had arrived within about four hundred yards of the water where we intended to camp, they charged us, coming on in two bodies and compelling us to retreat to a pile of rocks about two hundred yards away on our left . . . ” source–Kit Carson’s Autobiography

Continuing our walk south. Jumbled boulders can be seen on the hill to our left.

We’ve arrived at three signs near a pair of rock outcroppings that figure in the early history of San Diego. The signs explain what happened here at Mule Hill.

Mule Hill Standoff

On December 7, the American soldiers, sailors and volunteers under command of Brigadier General Stephen Watts Kearny, were attacked from the rear by Mexican forces 250 yards northwest of this location…

The Mexican forces recruited for the defense of their homeland were led by Captain Andres Pico . . . The forces were primarily comprised of Californios, residents of California at that time who descended from Mexican and Spanish colonialists…

The Americans were short of food and resorted to eating their mules, hence the name “Mule Hill” for this site…

…Navy Lieutenant Edward Beale volunteered to sneak through the Mexican lines to seek help from San Diego, and he asked that army scout Kit Carson go with him.

Standoff Continues

On December 8, after the sun had set, Beale, Carson and a Native American (identity unknown to us) sneaked through three lines of Mexican sentries…Nearing San Diego, they separated…The Native American arrived in San Diego first…

On December 9, with little food, water or supplies and a number of wounded men, General Kearny made the decision to fight his way to San Diego…

On December 10, Sergeant John Cox died and was buried at Mule Hill…

On December 11… A relief column of 100 sailors and 80 marines, sent by Commodore Robert Stockton, had arrived. The Mexican force, now outnumbered, withdrew. Later that morning the Americans left Mule Hill and marched to what is now Old Town, San Diego, thus completing a 2,000 mile march from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

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A visit to the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center.

The San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center in Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a very special place.

Inside the Nature Center visitors can learn all about the nearby wetland and its wildlife. Outside, the building’s organic, curving lines seem to flow through the natural environment around it.

At every chance, I’ll poke my nose into any nature center. When I walked through San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and saw this beautiful structure, I was eager to walk all around it and explore inside.

The 5,600 square foot, multi-award winning building, completed in 2009, was designed by Zagrodnic + Thomas Architects. It is light-filled, spacious and visually stimulating.

The construction is environmentally friendly. The building is made out of recycled materials and has irrigated roof plants, solar panels and recycled water.

A big observation deck allows visitors to look out over the lagoon. Excited kids were exploring easy trails winding near its front entrance.

Approaching the Nature Center from the parking lot.

Board near front door announces Arrivals and Landings of resident and visiting birds.

Many informative exhibits greet visitors inside the Nature Center.

Coyote stands atop map of the watershed. Pollutants including trash threaten wildlife that depends on this habitat.

An explanation of San Elijo Lagoon’s biodiversity. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Silvery Legless Lizard.

Piece of sandstone from Annie’s Canyon Trail in San Elijo Lagoon.

Outside light from the sunlit world touches the light of learning.

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

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A walk through San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Several weeks ago I enjoyed a fine, very easy nature walk.

I proceeded from the murals at Harbaugh Seaside Trails (near Highway 101 at the north end of Solana Beach) down the main dirt trail. The trail turned, passed through a tunnel under the railroad tracks, and entered San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

I then proceeded north up the Pole Trail (which runs parallel to the train tracks), crossed a couple of bridges, and ended at the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center at the south end of Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

Come along with me as we look at these protected wetlands and watch for birds and other native wildlife…

Sign at Harbaugh Seaside Trails at start of my walk.

These trails were made possible by Nature Collective.

Beautiful words a short distance from the Harbaugh Seaside Trails murals. Annie’s Bench.

Nearby overlook with views of the Pacific Ocean off to the west.

Beginning our walk in earnest.

Here’s the railroad tunnel.

Artwork at the tunnel entrance depicts birds.

We are looking across San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

San Elijo Lagoon in the winter.

Pools of water support much life.

Heading north we encounter a fenced area and sign.

Map of the reserve. To the east there are additional trails to be explored.

A big mound of soil behind this fence.

Sign explains the sandy habitat restoration. The elevated sand dune attracts endangered birds, like the California Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover.

Continuing north.

Vegetated and shallow channels are home to rare indigenous plant and animal species. Birds include Ridgway’s Rail and Belding’s Savannah Sparrow.

Here comes the first bridge!

A profusion of native sunflowers.

That interesting building up and to the left is the Nature Center.

A plaque along the way memorializes Beloved Friend and Engineer Brian A. Martin.

Another footbridge spans a channel of water.

Plaque describes The Buhr Nature Bridge. Gabriel Buhr’s forward-thinking, planning and vision helped make the restoration of the San Elijo Lagoon possible.

Almost to the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center!

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

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A secret, magic bench in Balboa Park!

There’s a secret bench in Balboa Park that works magic. Very few visitors to the park ever see it.

Sit on this bench, look down, and suddenly before your feet colorful stars, planets and creatures appear!

This magic bench is in an out-of-the-way corner of Balboa Park, just north of Spanish Village Art Center, at the east edge of the small parking lot. In the above photo you can see the green grass of the nearby Balboa Park Miniature Railroad.

Should you sit on this magic bench, what might you see?

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Winter beauty, a new waterfall and future weddings!

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is always beautiful. Even between winter showers.

As I walked down into the Lower Garden today, I noticed great progress has been made on JFG’s big new waterfall.

I spied other construction, too! A special space is now being built where outdoor weddings can be held among all the natural beauty.

Expert, artistic pruning in the Upper Garden.

Naked branches during winter. Grays among greens.

Today is JFG’s “free entry for residents” third Tuesday. Several folks were setting up on the patio, including the garden’s long-time beekeeper! She showed me this wood home constructed for native bees.

Heading into the Lower Garden a few minutes after the Japanese Friendship Garden opened.

Looking across the canyon, I could see how the big new waterfall appears just about finished.

Walking down one of the garden’s special paths.

I was surprised to see a new area under construction. A worker told me this little plaza will be for outdoor weddings.

This path leading up to the new waterfall is still closed.

A structure near the new waterfall. I was told special events will be held up there.

I can’t wait for the new waterfall to be activated!

These stairs will allow visitors to climb toward the top of the waterfall.

Beauty is abundant down in the Lower Garden.

A rain chain at one corner of the Inamori Pavilion is dripping! After taking this photo, I hurriedly put my camera under my jacket.

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

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Civic Center fountain recalls Oceanside’s founder.

The beautiful fountain splashing in the Oceanside Civic Center plaza has special symbolism that is revealed on a nearby plaque. The plaque, commemorating Andrew Jackson Myers, founder of Oceanside, can be found on a wall just north of the fountain, near the entrance to the Civic Center library.

As the plaque explains, not only was Andrew Jackson Myers the founder of Oceanside, but he created the Oceanside Water Company, critical to the city’s early development. And the fountain where water flows and splashes is the site of his homestead!

The colorful tiles leading down to the fountain represent the San Luis Rey River, which was the original source of Oceanside’s water supply.

(Here’s a great article concerning Oceanside’s water history.)

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!

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Exhibit celebrates San Diego aviation pioneer.

Did you know the world’s first ever controlled glider flight took place in Otay Mesa? This important late 19th century breakthrough, which preceded the invention of motorized airplanes, was the achievement of John J. Montgomery.

There’s an exhibit at the San Diego Air and Space Museum that explores the life of Montgomery and his important contributions to aviation history. Photographs, ephemera, rare documents and a video tell his story. I noticed the display today when I visited the museum in Balboa Park.

I immediately took interest because I have visited the impressive monument to Montgomery’s first controlled heavier-than-air flight. It stands upon a hilltop south of Chula Vista in West Otay Mesa. A couple years ago I blogged about the Montgomery Memorial and posted information and photographs here.

One thing I was surprised to learn while watching the exhibit’s video is that a movie was made in 1946 about John J. Montgomery’s history-making flight. It’s titled Gallant Journey and stars Glenn Ford!

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!

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!