A beautiful walk along Batiquitos Lagoon Trail.

Walking along Batiquitos Lagoon Trail one beautiful morning.
Walking along Batiquitos Lagoon Trail one fine morning.

Today I headed up the coast to Carlsbad. I wanted to walk along a trail that I heard was very beautiful.

I often drive along Interstate 5 over Batiquitos Lagoon, just north of the La Costa exit, but I never get more than a brief glimpse of the shining water and green margins. So this morning I ditched the car, tightened the laces of my walking shoes, and walked for a bit along the lagoon’s main trail.

Beautiful, indeed.

The two mile trail along the north edge of the tidal wetland and the Nature Center are both maintained by the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation.
The two mile trail along the north edge of the tidal wetland and the Nature Center are both maintained by the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation.
A hiker approaches the Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center from the Gabbiano Lane trailhead.
A hiker approaches the Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center from the Gabbiano Lane trailhead.
Curious visitors come and go, keeping friendly volunteers at the Nature Center busy.
Curious visitors come and go, keeping friendly volunteers at the Nature Center busy.
People can purchase a personalized brick to help support the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation.
People can purchase a personalized brick to help support the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation.
The Nature Center might be modest, but it is welcoming and full of interesting exhibits.
The Nature Center might be modest, but it is welcoming and full of interesting exhibits.
Before entering I saw the Batiquitos free lagoon lovers library.
Before entering I saw the Batiquitos Free Lagoon Lovers Library.
The very cool Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center is like a one room jam-packed museum.
The very cool Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center is like a one room jam-packed museum.
I see a snowy egret and a Cooper's hawk.
I see a snowy egret and a Cooper’s hawk.
The many different birds that live at the lagoon can be identified by their distinctive eggs.
The many different birds that live at the lagoon can be identified by their distinctive eggs.
Visitors can closely examine lagoon insects and other creeping, crawling creatures.
Visitors can closely examine lagoon insects and other creeping, crawling creatures.
Various human artifacts on display include Native American Kumeyaay clay pots, weapons and tools.
Various human artifacts on display include Native American Kumeyaay clay pots and tools.
A poster shows Carlsbad's watershed, including the area where fresh water (including San Marcos Creek and Encinitas Creek) flows into Batiquitos Lagoon.
A poster shows Carlsbad’s watershed, including the area where fresh water (including San Marcos Creek and Encinitas Creek) flows into Batiquitos Lagoon.
As I left the Nature Center, I lingered for a moment on the shady front porch and gazed out at the nearby lagoon.
As I left the Nature Center, I lingered for a moment on the shady front porch and gazed out toward the nearby lagoon.
Next to some picnic benches by the Nature Center, you'll find a very strange creature lurking. It's The Creature From Batiquitos Lagoon, by artist Paul Weber, 2003.
Next to some picnic benches by the Nature Center, you’ll find a very strange creature lurking. It’s The Creature From Batiquitos Lagoon, by artist Paul Weber, 2003.
To the west, Interstate 5 runs over part of the lagoon's Pacific Ocean tidal inlet. Many drive past this beautiful place without stopping to enjoy it.
To the west, Interstate 5 runs over part of the lagoon’s Pacific Ocean tidal inlet. Many drive past this beautiful place without ever stopping to enjoy it.
Now we are heading east along the north edge of smooth, blue Batiquitos Lagoon.
Now we are heading east along the north edge of smooth, blue Batiquitos Lagoon.
Several small concrete seats were decorated with colored stone mosaics. This one features a mallard duck.
Several small concrete seats were decorated with colored stone mosaics. This one features a mallard duck.
Bright September sunshine on green.
The bright September sunshine on green.
Part of the Lagoon Trail follows tan sandstone cliffs.
The west part of the Lagoon Trail follows tan sandstone cliffs.
The cliffs along this stretch belong to the Scripps Formation. The sandstone was deposited in a shallow ocean about 45 million years ago.
The cliffs along this stretch belong to the Scripps Formation. The sandstone was deposited in a shallow ocean about 45 million years ago.
Approaching a more wooded area at the border of the lagoon.
Approaching a more wooded area at the border of the lagoon.
Several short trails head north from the main trail into nearby Carlsbad neighborhoods.
Several short trails head north from the main trail into nearby Carlsbad neighborhoods.
I see a mosaic turtle!
I see a mosaic turtle!
Many informative signs can be found along the trail. This one lists salt marsh niches, including floating plants, diving birds, wading birds, bottom fish, mud worms and more. It also talks about the environment and human responsibility.
Many informative signs can be found along the trail. This one lists salt marsh niches, including floating plants, diving birds, wading birds, bottom fish, mud worms and more. It also talks about caring for the environment and human responsibility.
A large mudflat shines in the morning sunlight.
A large mudflat shines like silver in the morning sunlight.
This enormous tree stands alone near the edge of the water. It has probably lived there for a very long time.
This enormous tree stands alone near the edge of the water. It has probably lived there for a very long time.
Now I see a heron!
Now I see a wading heron!
Walking near the lush edge of the tidal marsh. Along here there is a lot of Coyote Brush, and non-native Yellow Mustard.
Walking near the lush edge of the tidal marsh. Along here grows a lot of Coyote Brush, and non-native Yellow Mustard.
The trail passes over a tiny bridge and a thin stream of water.
The trail passes over a tiny bridge and a thin stream of water.
Bending over I was able to take a photograph of a wood rat den made of twigs and branches.
Bending over I was able to take a photograph of a wood rat den made of twigs and branches.
Nearby sign explains the wood rat's den. Also called pack rats, they build complex houses with various chambers.
A nearby sign explains the wood rat’s den. Also called pack rats, they build complex houses with various chambers.
White fluffy heads of non-native pampas grass shine near the trail.
The white fluffy heads of some non-native pampas grass seem to shimmer in the breeze.
Now we are walking right beside the tidal lagoon.
Now we are walking right beside the tidal lagoon.
Coastal Goldenbush blooms about to open.
Coastal Goldenbush blooms about to open.
More beautiful leaves in sunlight.
More beautiful leaves in sunlight.
It appears a tall tree fell and was cleared from the path.
It appears a tall tree fell and was cleared from the path.
Walking along a beautiful trail in coastal San Diego County.
Walking along a very beautiful trail in coastal San Diego County.
Plaque on one bench by the trail. From the high mountains of Colorado to the shores of Batiquitos Lagoon, serenity and peace can be found.
Plaque on one bench by the trail. From the high mountains of Colorado to the shores of Batiquitos Lagoon, serenity and peace can be found.
More beauty.
More natural beauty.
We are nearing the end of our two mile walk.
We are near the end of our two mile walk.
More beauty.
More late summer beauty.
Now we are approaching the eastern end of Batiquitos Lagoon, beyond which runs El Camino Real. Light shines upon life-giving water.
Now we are approaching the eastern end of Batiquitos Lagoon, beyond which runs El Camino Real. Light shines upon life-giving water.

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!

Golden hour photos in Balboa Park.

Last Friday, before joining a small group at dusk searching for bats by the lily pond, I walked around Balboa Park and captured a series of photos.

The golden hour before sunset is indeed magical.

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? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Beautiful flowers in Old Town San Diego.

Cheerful flowers decorate the back of a wooden chair at Fiesta de Reyes in Old Town San Diego.
Cheerful flowers decorate the back of a wooden chair at Fiesta de Reyes in Old Town San Diego.

Look at all the beautiful flowers!

I found these while walking randomly around Old Town San Diego State Historic Park on Sunday!

Red geraniums flourish at the rear of San Diego House.
Red geraniums flourish at the rear of San Diego House.
A bee visits a prickly pear blossom near the Old Town Blacksmith Shop.
A bee visits a prickly pear blossom near the Old Town Blacksmith Shop.
Painted flowers decorate a panel in the entry to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.
Bouquet of flowers painted on a panel in the entry to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.
Visitors enjoy the lush, sunny courtyard of Casa de Estudillo.
Visitors enjoy the lush, sunny courtyard of Casa de Estudillo.
Beautiful pottery with floral designs can be found throughout Old Town.
Beautiful pottery with floral designs can be found throughout Old Town.
A red hibiscus behind the Fiesta de Reyes stage where visitors can watch colorful Mexican baile folklórico dancing.
A red hibiscus behind the Fiesta de Reyes stage where visitors can watch colorful Mexican baile folklórico dancing.
Flowery design on one bench by the Fiesta de Reyes stage.
Flowery design on one bench by the Fiesta de Reyes stage.
Wouldn't you like to sit on this bench?
Wouldn’t you like to sit on this bench?
Yellow blooms near the Racine and Laramie Tobacconist building.
Yellow blooms near the Racine and Laramie Tobacconist building.
Blue Buddha among flowers outside the entrance to Gum Saan.
Blue Buddha among flowers outside the entrance to Gum Saan.
Many flowers fill a garden that few visitors see behind La Casa de Machado y Stewart.
Many flowers fill a garden that few visitors see behind La Casa de Machado y Stewart.
A tree has beautiful blooms near the historic Mason Street Schoolhouse.
A tree has beautiful blooms near the historic Mason Street Schoolhouse.
Flowers adorn pottery at El Centro Artesano.
Flowers adorn pottery at El Centro Artesano.
A bag with floral design at Old Town Market.
A bag with floral design at Old Town Market.
There seem to be flowers everywhere you turn in Old Town San Diego!
There seem to be flowers everywhere you turn in Old Town San Diego!

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A beautiful walk along Big Laguna Trail.

Stepping from the Penny Pines parking area on Sunrise Highway to the Nobel Canyon trailhead.
Stepping from the Penny Pines parking area on Sunrise Highway to the Nobel Canyon trailhead.

This morning I went on a walk in the Laguna Mountains. The pine-covered Lagunas, about an hour’s drive east of downtown San Diego, reach just over 6000 feet in elevation.

After parking at the Penny Pines area on Sunrise Highway, I began west down the Noble Canyon Trail, then turned south onto Big Laguna Trail.

A morning walk in the mountains is so quiet and beautiful.

Come along with me! In these photos we’ll be heading a couple miles or so to Big Laguna Lake, a temporary body of water that appears in the winter and lingers until summer.

During my walk I saw many broken trees and stumps, victims over the years of bark beetles and periodic wildfires. At first the air was very chilly, but as the sun slowly rose its warmth felt good on my face. I heard plenty of birdsong, knocking woodpeckers, and the soft mountain breeze in branches. I smelled new green grass and the towering pine trees.

My eyes noted many signs of early spring.

Part of a posted Map of Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. Big Laguna Lake forms during rainy season in Laguna Meadow.
Part of a posted Map of Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. Big Laguna Lake forms during rainy season in Laguna Meadow.
Horses share the path with hikers and mountain bikers.
Horses sometimes share the trail with hikers and mountain bikers.
Many fallen tree limbs and trunks were along the trail. Victims of wildfires, beetles, and violent mountain storms.
Many fallen tree limbs and trunks were along the trail. Victims of wildfires, beetles, and violent mountain storms.
We've turned left onto Big Laguna Trail. Many of the hiking trails on Mount Laguna connect to the famous Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Mexico to Canada.
We’ve turned left onto Big Laguna Trail. Many of the hiking trails on Mount Laguna connect to the famous Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Mexico to Canada.
A swinging gate on the trail. Sometimes cattle are herded up in these mountains.
A swinging gate on the trail. Sometimes cattle are herded up in these mountains.
A beautiful early morning. The sun is still low and obscured by clouds and hills.
A beautiful early morning. The sun is still low and obscured by clouds and hills.
I saw a few small flowers along the trail scattered by spring's fingers.
I saw a few small flowers along the trail scattered by spring’s fingers.
Jumbled sawn trunks often appear like abstract works of art.
The jumbled broken trunks often appeared like abstract works of art.
Inner beauty exposed.
Inner beauty exposed.
Wild, delicate beauty.
Wild and delicate.

Moving forward.
Moving forward.
A tale of many seasons.
A tale of many seasons.
Winter's remnant.
Winter’s remnant.
Many elements.
Many elements.
About to enter the edge of Laguna Meadow.
I’m about to enter the edge of Laguna Meadow. Around here a small group of Red-winged Blackbirds were jumping about tree branches and cheerfully talking to each other.

Some collected rain and snowmelt have formed a small green pond.
Some collected rain and snowmelt have formed a small green pond in the meadow.

I spy Big Laguna Lake ahead.
I spy Big Laguna Lake ahead.
Turning my camera to the right, looking backward a bit.
Turning my camera to the right, looking backward a bit.

A friendly mountain biker approaches.
A friendly mountain biker approaches.
Like a silver dream on the mountain.
Like a silver dream on the mountain.

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 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival!

People descend along a path into the beautiful Lower Garden during the 2018 Japanese Friendship Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival.
People descend along a path into the beautiful Lower Garden during the Japanese Friendship Garden’s 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival.

I took many photos today at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Balboa Park. After the morning drizzle subsided, I headed up to the Japanese Friendship Garden where I knew there would be lots of fun, food and breathtaking natural beauty.

Not quite as many blooms as last year–this winter has been drier than average–but still an absolutely wonderful event. Thank you JFG!

Come along with me as we visit the festival…

The 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, as wonderful as ever.
The 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is just as wonderful as ever.
Outside the garden, steps from the entrance is a plaque. It's a replica of one in Yokohoma, sister city of San Diego. The left half contains the theme song of the Yokohama-San Diego Friendship Committee.
Outside the garden, a short distance from the entrance is a plaque. It’s a replica of another plaque in Yokohoma, sister city of San Diego. The left half contains the theme song of the Yokohama-San Diego Friendship Committee.
Sheet music and lyrics for San Diego, The Beautiful.
Sheet music and lyrics for San Diego, The Beautiful.

If you’d like to hear San Diego, The Beautiful, click here!

The festival had many exhibitors in the courtyard near the JFG office.
The festival had many exhibitors in the courtyard near the JFG office.
Smiling young ladies were showing visitors how to fold bits of pink paper into cherry blossoms!
Smiling young ladies were showing visitors how to fold bits of pink paper into cherry blossoms!
A poster explains Cherry Trees at the JFG. Most in the garden are Pink Cloud cherry trees. They have recently acquired three more types--Taiwan Flowering, Okame and First Lady.
A poster explains Cherry Trees at the JFG. Most in the garden are Pink Cloud cherry trees. They have recently acquired three more types–Taiwan Flowering, Okame and First Lady.
Cherry blossoms in Japanese culture represent the transience and beauty of life.
Cherry blossoms in Japanese culture represent the transience and beauty of life.

The transience of cherry blossoms inspired a very short story, which I titled A Short Bloom. To read it, click here!

This part of the poster explains the six stages of bloom for cherry blossoms, from green bud to full, glorious bloom.
This part of the poster explains the six stages of bloom for cherry blossoms, from green bud to full, glorious bloom.
Vendors showcasing crafts and artwork at the festival included Tum Tum Arts.
Vendors showcasing crafts and gifts at the festival included Tum Tum Arts.
Some cool artwork by Jed Henry on display at one table.
Some cool Japanese artwork by Jed Henry on display at one table.
I learned a bit about making Washi Dolls from one nice lady at the festival.
I learned a bit about making Washi Dolls from one nice lady at the festival. Her mother makes these.
Japanese crafts include the making of beautiful dolls with washi paper.
Japanese crafts include the making of beautiful dolls with washi paper.
The game of go is played near the Japanese Friendship Garden's koi pond. Funny--by sheer coincidence I watched A Beautiful Mind last night. This mental game bookends the touching film.
The game of go is played near the Japanese Friendship Garden’s koi pond. Funny–by sheer coincidence I watched A Beautiful Mind last night. This mental game–more complicated than chess–begins and ends that inspiring film.
More art by the koi pond--some colorful handmade cards.
More art by the koi pond–some colorful handmade cards.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate to enter the Lower Garden, where many flowering cherry trees await.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate to enter the Lower Garden, where many flowering cherry trees await.
A master gardener at work pruning on the Sunday of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
A master gardener hard at work by the path. He’s pruning some greenery on the Sunday of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
A beautiful stream runs past many clouds of pink.
Now we are in the Lower Garden. In mid-March, the beautiful stream runs past many delicate clouds of pink.
A bit like heaven, perhaps.
A bit like heaven, perhaps.
People stand on the waterfall bridge looking toward the Inamori Pavilion.
People stand on the waterfall bridge gazing toward the Inamori Pavilion.
Walking past an ornamental Japanese lantern to the pavilion, where lots of food awaits!
Walking past an ornamental Japanese lantern to the pavilion, where I knew there would be a lot of food!
Checking out a big selection of Japanese food, including fried squid leg and shrimp tempura.
Checking out a big selection of Japanese food, including fried squid leg and shrimp tempura.
Getting ready to flip some healthy Japanese savory pancakes, or okonomiyaki.
Getting ready to flip some healthy Japanese savory pancakes, or okonomiyaki.
These guys pushing the huge drum would perform later in the day.
These friendly guys pushing the huge drum would perform later in the day.
These guys hold up a sweet fish-shaped taiyaki. Yum! I had one last year, too!
These cool ladies held up a sweet fish-shaped taiyaki. Yum! I had one last year, too!
Every year, the Cherry Blossom Festival promises lots of fun, good food and exquisite natural beauty!
Every year, the Cherry Blossom Festival promises lots of fun, good food and exquisite natural beauty!

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.

Photos of winter along San Diego River.

Temperatures are dropping. It’s starting to feel a bit more like winter. Nights in downtown are chilly. Our first storm is coming.

This morning I left home while it was still dark and headed to a stretch of the San Diego River in Mission Valley. After the sun rose, I walked along the river from Qualcomm Way to Mission Center Road.

Ducks were feeding. The slanting morning light brightened yellow leaves. Farther to the east, a thin layer of fog hovered above smooth water. You can see it in the beautiful photograph that I saved for last.

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!

Wishing you all a beautiful New Year!

The world contains unending beauty. As the years roll on, much comes and goes, but beauty remains.

So now I’d like to close out another blogging year by wishing you all a Beautiful New Year!

Where did I head today to harvest some stunning photos? To the amazing Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, of course!

Come with me…

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!

Happy New Year!