The beauty of winter trees by the river.

It’s winter. Many trees along the San Diego River have shed their leaves. Except for a few clinging brown leaves, most of the cottonwoods and sycamores are bare.

I aimed my camera upward this morning in Mission Valley, as I walked down the river path between the Rio Vista trolley station and Mission Center Road. Even in winter, the trees are very beautiful.

(Can you find a tiny moon in one photograph?)

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!

Views of bright buildings from Pantoja Park.

On a clear morning, viewed from Pantoja Park, many of the highest buildings in downtown San Diego shine brightly. Particularly those that rise north and northwest of the park.

These photos that I took today provide a glimpse.

If you’d like to learn a little more about Pantoja Park and its statue of Benito Juarez, a gift from the Mexican government, you can visit one of my earlier blog posts 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!

Photo memories of San Diego winters.

Yes, winter does come to San Diego. It begins in about one week. Winters in coastal Southern California are generally mild, due to our arid climate, and the moderating influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Winter storms tend to be short-lived, gray and drizzly. In San Diego, if you want to see occasional snow, you need to head to the mountains of East County, and even then the returning sun and dry desert winds melt it in a day or two. Temperatures at the lower elevations almost never reach freezing.

However, winter storms in San Diego have been known to provide drama!

There have been unusually violent windstorms, huge surf and flooding. A few of those memories have been preserved in photographs on this blog. And so have examples of winter’s unique beauty!

To see photos from past winters, click the following links:

Snow and winter beauty at Cuyamaca.

Boats destroyed by El Niño winds in San Diego.

Photos of San Diego River, after three storms.

Glimpses of nature’s beauty after a storm.

Photos of winter along San Diego River.

A winter’s day full of magical light.

Storm brings huge surf to Ocean Beach Pier.

Amazing vistas atop Mount Soledad.

Signs of the coming big winter storm.

Los Peñasquitos Lagoon between winter storms.

Winter beauty at the Japanese Friendship 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!

Beautiful art, nature, and life.

During my walk through Balboa Park yesterday, I saw beauty at every turn. Beauty in art. Beauty in nature.

It suddenly occurred to me that all is one.

When we discern beauty, perhaps we are surprised by what we perceive in ourselves.

We are beauty that lives.

Our thirsty eyes and busy hands are inseparable.

We, like bright rivers and colors and lines of ink, are elemental.

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!

Nature’s beauty downtown.

During this morning’s walk through downtown San Diego, I encountered many examples of nature’s 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!

North American Tree Climbing Championship!

Today I watched part of the 2019 North American Tree Climbing Championship in Balboa Park!

Professional arborists–members of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)–came together this weekend from all around North America for this big event. Competitors swung about on ropes like nimble spiders in a bid to be crowned tree climbing champion!

I arrived just in time to watch the final climb, which took place in the intersecting branches of two tall eucalyptus trees on Balboa Park’s West Mesa.

The object, I learned, is for arborists to score the most points. Competitors are given a time limit to climb from red flag to red flag and perform various tasks. Points can be earned for things like the set up of the climbing line and entry into the tree, rope management, posture and balance, descent and landing. Judges could also reward bonus points for skill, style, presentation, innovative techniques and safe work practices.

Now when I walk about San Diego and see workers climbing in trees and cutting away branches, I’ll pause a bit longer to watch. I’ll have a greater appreciation of the skill and athleticism that is required!

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 walk down Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail.

Sculpted tiles form beautiful mosaics that were created by artist Betsy Schulz. This is a red-tailed hawk.
Sculpted clay tiles form beautiful mosaics that were created by artist Betsy Schulz. This is a red-tailed hawk.

On Sunday I walked the length of Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail, which runs along the east side of Highway 101.

I was delighted to observe all sorts of colorful public art, beautiful flowers and trees, and even some unexpected poetry!

My walk was from south to north: from Via de la Valle up to a spot just beyond Ocean Street, where the trail through Solana Beach ends.

The pathway is extremely easy and flat. I saw many families riding bikes along it, and walkers and joggers, too.

Come along with me and read the photo captions.

Two arches by artist Betsy Schulz welcome walkers and riders to Solana Beach's Coastal Rail Trail at Highway 101 and Via de la Valle.
Two arches by artist Betsy Schulz welcome walkers and riders to Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail at Highway 101 and Via de la Valle.
Wild nature on one amazing arch.
Wild nature on one amazing arch.
Local history depicted on both arches includes the native Kumeyaay, who have lived in the region for thousands of years.
Local history depicted on both arches includes the native Kumeyaay, who have lived in the region for thousands of years.
The arrival of Spanish missionaries is depicted.
The arrival of Spanish missionaries is depicted.
The history of Solana Beach includes great upheavals and transformations, including the coming of the railroad.
The history of Solana Beach includes great upheavals and transformations, including the coming of the railroad.
Scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
Scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
More scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
More scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
The City of Solana Beach was incorporated in 1986.
The City of Solana Beach was incorporated in 1986.
Surfing on the timeless Pacific Ocean.
Surfing on the timeless Pacific Ocean.

You can see more public art by Betsy Schulz by clicking here and here.

As I continued north on the Coastal Rail Trail, I noticed what appeared to be a crescent moon on the pathway, and a poem by Walter de la Mare.
As I continued north on the Coastal Rail Trail, I noticed what appeared to be a crescent moon on the pathway, with a moon poem by Walter de la Mare.
A bit farther on I found another glistening moon. This one includes a poem by Emily Dickinson.
A bit farther on I found another glistening moon. This one includes a poem by Emily Dickinson.
I then came upon this colorful stained glass sunburst, standing between the pathway and nearby Highway 101!
I then came upon this colorful stained glass sunburst, standing between the pathway and nearby Highway 101!
Sunburst of Color, by artist Amber Irwin, 2005. Amber Irwin is a founding member of the Solana Beach Art Association.
Sunburst of Color, by artist Amber Irwin, 2005. Amber Irwin is a founding member of the Solana Beach Art Association.
A small garden beside the Coastal Rail Trail was bright with flowers.
A small garden beside the Coastal Rail Trail was bright on a late summer day with flowers.
An electrical box with colorfully painted artwork.
An electrical box with painted artwork.
Looking over a fence, I saw a Coaster rumbling up the train tracks that run parallel to the trail.
Looking over a fence, I saw a Coaster rumbling up the train tracks that run parallel to the trail.
Then I stumbled upon a third crescent moon, and a mysterious hat! This poem is also by Emily Dickinson.
Then I stumbled upon a third crescent moon, and a mysterious hat! This poem is also by Emily Dickinson.
A water fountain near steps to the Dahlia Drive pedestrian bridge that spans the train tracks. The fountain stands above colorful mosaics.
A water fountain near steps to the Dahlia Drive pedestrian bridge that spans the train tracks. The fountain stands above colorful mosaics.
This mosaic is a love gift from the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church.
This mosaic is a love gift from the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church.
A local youth group made these many cheerful flowers.
A local youth group made these many cheerful ceramic leaves and flowers.
Across the train track I spotted the huge, eye-catching mural by artist Lindu Prasekti. It's called Myths at Play.
Across the train track I spotted the huge, eye-catching mural by artist Lindu Prasekti. It’s titled Myths at Play.

You can learn more about this very cool mural by clicking here.

I'm passed by bicyclists who are also heading north.
I’m passed by bicyclists who are also heading north.
Sea life mosaics decorate concrete benches at the bus stop across from the Solana Beach train station. By artist Michelle Griffoul.
Sea life mosaics decorate concrete benches at the bus stop across from the Solana Beach train station. By artist Michelle Griffoul.

You can learn more about these eleven benches and see up close images of the sea life tiles by clicking here.

I've come to some steps leading down to the Solana Beach train station platform. Lots of passengers are waiting below.
I’ve come to some steps leading down to the Solana Beach train station platform. Lots of passengers are waiting below.
The visually interesting Solana Beach train station was designed by architect Rob Wellington Quigley, and was built in 1994.
The visually interesting Solana Beach train station was designed by architect Rob Wellington Quigley, and was built in 1994.
Another photo of people on the train platform below the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach.
Another photo of people on a train platform below the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach.
Some more colorful art on another electrical box beside the pathway.
Some more colorful art on another electrical box beside the pathway.
Red bougainvillea and the Cliff Street bridge over train tracks.
Red bougainvillea and the Cliff Street bridge over train tracks.
A City of Solana Beach plaque on the CLIFF STREET BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE.
A City of Solana Beach plaque on the CLIFF STREET BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE.
As I approached the northern end of Solana Beach, I saw a sign that reads RAIL TRAIL ENDS 500 FT. (At this time the trail doesn't continue into Cardiff-by-the-Sea.)
As I approached the northern end of Solana Beach, I saw a sign that reads RAIL TRAIL ENDS 500 FT. (At this time the trail doesn’t continue into Cardiff-by-the-Sea.)
In addition to the distant ocean, I see something interesting ahead.
In addition to the distant ocean, I see something interesting ahead.
A monument with a plaque stands in a small grove of Torrey Pine trees.
A monument with a plaque stands near an observation platform beside a small grove of Torrey Pine trees.
Some sculptural Torrey Pine artwork on the side of the monument.
Some sculptural Torrey Pine artwork on the side of the monument.
The plaque explains the history of these transplanted Torrey Pine trees. Figuring in that complicated history are billboards along the highway and train tracks.
The plaque explains the history of these few transplanted Torrey Pine trees. Figuring in that complicated history are billboards along the highway and the installation of train tracks.
More beautiful artwork, at the north end of Solana Beach's Coastal Rail Trail.
More beautiful artwork, at the north end of Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail.

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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