Natural beauty on a Balboa Park walk.

Starting west across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.
Starting across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.

On Sunday I walked slowly through Balboa Park. I began at the Cabrillo Bridge and headed east along El Prado. My wandering feet finally took me down into Florida Canyon.

I discovered many scenes of natural beauty: green canyons, bright trees, yellow hillsides, spring flowers, newly opened roses and even cacti.

Come along…

Near the center of Cabrillo Bridge. Trees in sunlight on the median of State Route 163, also known as Cabrillo Freeway.
Near the center of the bridge. Sunlit trees line the median of scenic State Route 163, also known as the Cabrillo Freeway.
Looking back west along Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Looking back along historic Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Near the east end of Cabrillo Bridge, looking down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.
Near the east end of the bridge, gazing down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.
Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.
Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.
Gazing back toward the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.
Turning back to photograph the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.
Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.
Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.
Staghorn ferns on one wall of the Botanical Building.
Staghorn ferns on one wall of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building.
Orchids inside the Botanical Building.
Orchids inside the Botanical Building.
More beauty inside the wonderful Botanical Building.
More natural beauty inside the Botanical Building.
A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. It's the annual spring sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.
A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. I stumbled upon a sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.
Perfect beauty somewhere along El Prado.
A bloom along El Prado near the Casa de Balboa.
Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.
Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.
Like orange flames on El Prado.
Like orange flames.
Looking back west as I approach the Plaza de Balboa at the east end of El Prado.
Looking backward as I finally approach the east end of El Prado.
About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, gazing back toward the Fleet Science Center.
About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, pausing for a moment to look south toward the Fleet Science Center.
Walking among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
Strolling among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.
In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.
Another rose.
Another rose.
Another miracle.
Another.
Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.
Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.
I now move north, into the Desert Garden.
Now I am moving north, into the Desert Garden.
Strange cactus beauty.
Strange cactus beauty.
More surprising beauty.
More beauty.
About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.
About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.
A hillside bright with cacti and native sunflowers.
A hillside bright with cacti and spring flowers.
More abundant natural beauty.
Nature has painted the hillside.
Slanting cacti.
Slanting cacti.
The beauty of Balboa Park never ends.
The natural beauty in Balboa Park never ends.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Honoring victims, heroes of USS Bennington disaster.

Today I walked through the historic Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. It’s my first visit to the grove of live oaks since December of 2017, when I observed Boy Scouts and volunteers working to improve the living memorial.

During my walk today, not only was I pleased to see the quiet oak grove was as peaceful and beautiful as ever, but I noted some information has been posted in the kiosk. I took a photograph so you might read it. Click my photo of the sign and the image will expand for easy reading. (Unfortunately, you’ll note the clear plastic protecting the sign was broken by vandals. But thankfully I saw absolutely no litter, graffiti or other signs of disturbance.)

You might notice the sign also features a QR code that opens a dedicated memorial website. To learn much, much more about the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove, please visit BenningtonMemorial.com.

The memorial website honors the lives of the 66 U.S. Navy sailors who tragically died when the USS Bennington’s boiler exploded in San Diego Bay on July 21, 1905. A separate page of the website is dedicated to each victim. You’ll also learn about the 11 courageous men who each earned a Medal of Honor for their heroism that day.

To see inspirational photos from a year and a half ago, when Boy Scouts and crew members of the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt were working to improve the Bennington Memorial, click here and here. For many of those photos, I am grateful to the San Diego Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, and historian Kathleen Winchester in particular.

Now please enjoy the following pics taken today by the kiosk, and along the shady footpath that winds through the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

Sign at the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove describes one of the Navy's worst peacetime disasters, which took place in 1905 on San Diego Bay. Sixty six live oaks were planted to honor the victims of the USS Bennington boiler explosion.
Sign in kiosk at the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove describes one of the Navy’s worst peacetime disasters, which took place in 1905 on San Diego Bay. Sixty six live oaks were planted in Balboa Park to honor the victims of the USS Bennington boiler explosion.

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!

Bright cherry blossoms, after the festival.

The 2019 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park drew huge crowds! I enjoyed stopping by on the weekend and was pleased to see so many people.

The festival is now over.

Late this afternoon I entered the garden again to experience the cherry blossoms in a more tranquil setting. Sunlight slanted through the pink and white flowers, making them shine.

If you love beautiful gardens but dislike crowds, now is the time to go!

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!

I wrote a very short story about people and cherry blossoms a couple years ago. It’s titled A Short Bloom. You can read it here.

An amazing Sunset Seat on the cliffs of Del Mar.

At the southwest corner of Del Mar, high atop cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean north of Torrey Pines State Beach, you’ll find a special seat. It’s called the Sunset Seat.

The Sunset Seat is a work of public art that was carved in the stump of a dead Torrey pine. The tree had been killed by bark beetles.

In 2015 this amazing public art took form. Inspired designer David Arnold and wood carver Tim Richards created a seat where anybody can sit and look out toward the ocean horizon, with a red-tailed hawk perched near their shoulder.

You can find the Sunset Seat a few steps west of a small parking area beside Camino Del Mar, a short distance north of Carmel Valley Road.

One day I will sit beside the beautiful hawk and watch a sunset.

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 silvery, sparkling tree in Little Italy.

Stand in certain spots on the North Embarcadero, look east toward Little Italy, and your eyes might be dazzled by a sparkling tree on a large wall.

The glittery abstract tree decorates the west side of the Broadstone Little Italy building, near the corner of Grape Street and California Street. The branches of the mirror mosaic rise above train and trolley tracks. As the sun descends toward San Diego Bay, the silvery tree really shimmers and shines.

I’ve learned that the artist’s name is Stephanie Clair and that her piece is called The Shimmer Tree!

The Shimmer Tree, public art in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood by Stephanie Clair.
The Shimmer Tree, public art in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood by Stephanie Clair.

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!

Morning in the garden at Waterfront Park.

Another morning. Early sunlight illuminated the beautiful garden on the north side of Waterfront Park.

Near the center of the garden rose Niki de Saint Phalle’s shining Serpent Tree. It seemed to have sprung forth at the dawn of Creation.

Here are photos from a quiet stroll through the garden…

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!

Glimpses of nature’s beauty after a storm.

This morning I walked a short stretch of the San Diego River Trail in Mission Valley, just south of Hazard Center.

Trees and leaves were still dripping with moisture from our last storm.

My camera caught a few glimpses of nature’s awesome beauty.

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!