Italian American baseball players on India Street.

Mike Napoli
Mike Napoli

Dozens of Major League Baseball players are hanging out on Little Italy’s India Street! I saw them yesterday! I took their pictures!

One great thing about Little Italy is there are always lots of colorful street banners.  They celebrate the neighborhood’s Italian culture and rich history. As baseball season gets underway, a bunch of banners have been hung along India Street that feature Italian American baseball players, past and present.

Joe Garagiola
Joe Garagiola
Tony Conigliaro
Tony Conigliaro
Bart Giamatti
Bart Giamatti
Phil Rizutto
Phil Rizutto
Tommy Lasorda
Tommy Lasorda
Joe Torre
Joe Torre
Anthony Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo
Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
San Diego Little Italy's neighborhood boys who played baseball, circa 1938.
San Diego Little Italy’s neighborhood boys who played baseball, circa 1938.
Jason Grilli
Jason Grilli
Sal Maglie
Sal Maglie
Christopher Denorfia
Christopher Denorfia
Frank Torre
Frank Torre
Christopher Colabello
Christopher Colabello
John Montefusco
John Montefusco
Alessandro Liddi
Alessandro Liddi
Joey Votto
Joey Votto
Nick Punto
Nick Punto
Frank Crosetti
Frank Crosetti
Dave Giusti
Dave Giusti
Gus Mancuso
Gus Mancuso
Frank Viola
Frank Viola
Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza
Dom DiMaggio
Dom DiMaggio
Paul (Li Mandri) Lattman
Paul (Li Mandri) Lattman
Barry Zito
Barry Zito
Jason Giambi
Jason Giambi
Devin Mescoraco
Devin Mescoraco

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

More cool artwork I’ve randomly stumbled upon!

Symmetrically painted figures practice yoga under crescent moons as the sun rises. Cool street art in downtown San Diego.
Symmetrically painted figures practice yoga under crescent moons as the sun rises. Cool street art in downtown San Diego.

Here’s another batch of colorful art. As usual, I stumbled upon these cool discoveries while walking around the city, perhaps on one errand or another. Most of this fun urban artwork was photographed in downtown San Diego…

More cosmic yoga street art on another side of the same transformer box.
More cosmic yoga street art on another side of the same transformer box.
Boldly painted colors on a row of electrical boxes in Little Italy.
Boldly painted colors on a row of electrical boxes in Little Italy.
This super cool car made of colorful wires recently appeared at The Garden Project of the New Children's Museum.
This super cool car made of colorful wires recently appeared at The Garden Project of the New Children’s Museum.
The Eiffel Tower has magically appeared inside a shop on Sixth Avenue!
The Eiffel Tower has magically appeared inside a shop on Sixth Avenue!
Fun utility boxes near Pantoja Park feature lots of artistic flowers and birds.
Fun utility boxes near Pantoja Park feature lots of artistic flowers and birds.
Natural scenes painted in a big city.
Natural scenes painted in a big city.
I love this carved wooden bear bench! But for the life of me, I can't remember where I photographed this! I think somewhere near Petco Park . . . maybe.
I love this carved wooden bear bench! But for the life of me, I can’t remember where I photographed this! I think somewhere near Petco Park . . . maybe.
More random colorful street art on a downtown sidewalk.
More random colorful street art on a downtown sidewalk.
I stumbled upon these rocketing pie slices in Hillcrest!
I stumbled upon these rocketing pie slices in Hillcrest! I’m not sure if these spaceships belong to the strawberry fleet, rhubarb fleet, or the cherry fleet. But I’m certain they’re piloted by the good guys!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Bits of humor glimpsed downtown!

Geeks who drink.
Geeks who drink.

Walking around downtown San Diego, you never quite know what you’ll find. Some sights merit a quick chuckle, or a roll of the eyes.  Sometimes laughter erupts!

Guy in suit with briefcase seems desperate to escape from this building.
Guy in suit with briefcase seems desperate to escape from this building.
I hate tacos said no Juan ever.
I hate tacos said no Juan ever.
Pirate Pac-Man! Arrrr!
Pirate Pac-Man! Arrrr!
Beer . . . ask your doctor if it's right for you.
Beer . . . ask your doctor if it’s right for you. (Be mindful of possible side effects.)
More espresso, less depresso.
More espresso, less depresso.
STD Construction - We're Contagious
STD Construction – We’re Contagious
All of me loves all of you (when you do the dishes).
All of me loves all of you (when you do the dishes).
Fried, my second favorite f-word.
Fried, my second favorite F-word.
Reggae Dog!
Reggae Dog!
Behind every successful person is a substantial amount of coffee.
Behind every successful person is a substantial amount of coffee.

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!

Horses and riders gather for St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

A horse is prepared in a corner of Balboa Park for San Diego's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade along Sixth Avenue.
A horse is prepared in a corner of Balboa Park for San Diego’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade along Sixth Avenue.  San Diego Bay and Point Loma can be seen in the distance.

Here are some fun photos!

Look what I discovered this morning as I walked through Marston Point, heading into the heart of Balboa Park. Horses and riders had gathered in the southwest corner of the park and were preparing for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! Every year the big parade heads down nearby Sixth Avenue.

Both horses and riders would be wearing green today during the parade.
Both horses and riders would be wearing green today during the parade.
Horse and rider get ready in Balboa Park's Marston Point parking lot.
Horse and rider get ready in Balboa Park’s Marston Point parking lot.
Folks dressed in cowboy attire watch the proceedings.
Folks dressed in cowboy attire watch the proceedings.
A couple of horses from Valley Center wait by a trailer for the start of the parade.
A couple of horses from Valley Center wait by a trailer for the start of the parade.
A nice smile from a rider!
A nice smile from a rider!
Law enforcement would ride in the parade, too. These two horses were wearing some green shamrocks.
Law enforcement would ride in the parade, too. These two horses were wearing some green shamrocks.
A horse and rider with fancy braids.
A horse and rider with braids and curls.
This elegant carriage would soon be watched by thousands during the big parade.
This elegant carriage would soon be watched by thousands during the big St. Patrick’s Day parade.
A rider heads across the grass of Balboa Park's lush green Marston Point.
A rider heads across the grass of Balboa Park’s beautiful green Marston Point.

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!

Workday snapshots of downtown San Diego.

On a weekday morning, construction workers remove debris from the interior of the now vacant Gaslamp 15 movie theater.
On a weekday morning, construction workers remove debris from the interior of the now vacant Gaslamp 15 movie theater.

Here comes a batch of lively photos that I took downtown this morning. I have the week off from work, so I’m trying to take full advantage of it.

On this typical workday, I simply walked down from Cortez Hill and enjoyed some of the ordinary bustle downtown that I don’t always have time to appreciate. Among other things, I noticed the clean up is still going on from last night’s Mardi Gras celebrations. Life goes on…

Workers on scaffolding renovate the exterior of a building on Sixth Avenue
Workers on scaffolding renovate the exterior of a building on Sixth Avenue.
Meals are being delivered by the San Diego Unified School District's Food and Nutrition Services to Kipp Adelante Preparatory Academy.
Meals are being delivered by the San Diego Unified School District’s Food and Nutrition Services to Kipp Adelante Preparatory Academy.
Priests from St. Paul's Cathedral provide Ashes To Go and a blessing to anybody passing by on B Street on this Ash Wednesday.
Priests from St. Paul’s Cathedral provide Ashes To Go and a quick blessing to believers passing by on B Street on this Ash Wednesday.
A window washer at work at City Pizzeria.
A window washer at work at City Pizzeria.
Sidewalk sign proclaims that your future is waiting upstairs!
Sidewalk sign proclaims that your future is waiting upstairs!
I saw this art in a shop window as I walked by so I had to post it, of course!
I saw this art in a shop window as I walked by so I had to post it, of course!
A row of motorcycles and a construction worker taking a break near Horton Plaza.
A row of motorcycles, and a worker taking a break near Horton Plaza.
Torn sign at a Broadway bus station informs riders about yesterday's Mardi Gras detours.
Torn sign at a Broadway bus station informs riders about yesterday’s Mardi Gras detours.
This cool guy holding a parking sign outside the Bristol Hotel was nice to smile for a pic.
This cool guy holding a parking sign outside the Bristol Hotel was nice to smile for a pic.
A worker crosses Broadway while a homeless man looks into a trashcan.
A construction worker crosses Broadway while a homeless man looks into a trashcan.
Here comes a guy riding a cool bicycle that appears to be designed for deliveries.
Here comes a guy riding a cool bicycle that appears to be designed for deliveries. Perhaps he’s a courier. A few bike couriers still make deliveries downtown.
One guy crosses the street while carrying plans, another escorts dogs with a coffee in hand.
One guy crosses the street while carrying plans; another escorts dogs with a coffee in hand.
People board an MTS bus near the Fifth Avenue trolley station.
People board an MTS bus near the Fifth Avenue trolley station.
A walker runs his cane through some spilled leftover ice on a Gaslamp sidewalk.
A walker runs his cane through some spilled leftover ice on a Gaslamp sidewalk.
A firetruck turns a corner in the Gaslamp, and reflections of nearby buildings appear in the windows.
A firetruck turns a corner in the Gaslamp, and reflections of nearby buildings appear in the windows.
A worker with Clean and Safe's downtown program mops the sidewalk while a businessman walks by.
A worker with Clean and Safe’s downtown program mops the sidewalk while a businessman walks by.
An Old Town Trolley Tours vehicle loaded with tourists waits for a homeless man with a packed shopping cart to clear a downtown intersection.
An Old Town Trolley Tours vehicle loaded with tourists waits for a homeless man with a packed shopping cart to clear an intersection.
People work on laptop computers outside a coffee shop.
People work on laptop computers outside a coffee shop.
Birds fly in a blue downtown San Diego sky.
Birds fly in a blue downtown San Diego sky.
Someone unlocks the security gate in front of a small downtown shop. It is morning, so time to open.
Someone unlocks the security gate in front of a small downtown shop. It’s morning, so time to open.
I wait for my pollo asado burrito inside The Taco Stand and gaze out the window at B Street.
I wait for a pollo asado burrito inside The Taco Stand and gaze out the window at B Street.
A street musician near the C Street trolley tracks.
A street musician near the C Street trolley tracks.
Finally, I spotted these people as I headed back up Cortez Hill. They were crossing the street with some shining balloons. I guess it must be someone's anniversary!
Finally, I spotted these people as I headed back up Cortez Hill. They were crossing the street with some shining balloons. I guess it must be an anniversary!

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 San Diego from a hike up Cowles Mountain.

Hikers descend from the summit of Cowles Mountain, which rises above San Diego's San Carlos neighborhood.
Hikers descend from the summit of Cowles Mountain, which rises above San Diego’s San Carlos neighborhood.

Please enjoy the following photos. They are from a hike that I took yesterday to the summit of Cowles Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park. Cowles Mountain, elevation 1,593 feet, is the highest peak in the city of San Diego. Because it’s located near so many urban residents, hundreds of hikers can be found on its trails on any given day.

Yesterday, around noon, I started from the trailhead at the Cowles Staging Area on Golfcrest Drive, and I slowly climbed the zigzagging trail to the summit. It’s a fairly steep ascent–one gains 950 feet in just 1.5 miles. Furthermore, yesterday the footing was more difficult than usual. A small stream was flowing down much of the muddy trail, due to the recent rain.

But the climb was definitely worth the effort!

The higher I ascended, the more fantastic the views became. At the top I could survey nearly all of San Diego and much of the surrounding region. From mountains to ocean, Mexico to North County and beyond–the spectacular views stretched in every direction!

Someone sits on the stone wall at the Cowles Staging Area. This is one of the most popular hiking trails in San Diego, and can be somewhat crowded on weekends.
Someone sits on the stone wall at the Cowles Staging Area. This is one of the most popular hiking trails in San Diego, and can be very crowded on weekends.
A bench at the staging area had this small plaque. We walked, we talked and we became friends. Thank you little Tommy Sablan.
A bench at the staging area had this small plaque. We walked, we talked and we became friends. Thank you little Tommy Sablan.
Sign at the trailhead explains Cowles Mountain was named after a prominent San Diego ranching pioneer. His ranches in the El Cajon valley were so successful he was named Raisin King of the US.
Sign at the trailhead explains Cowles Mountain was named after a prominent San Diego ranching pioneer. His two ranches in the El Cajon valley were so successful he was named Raisin King of the US.
Map shows trails to the summit of Cowles Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park, which is the largest municipal park in the state of California.
Map shows trails to the summit of Cowles Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park, which is the largest municipal park in the state of California.
Sign near the trailhead. On a busy trail, etiquette should be observed to preserve the natural beauty and enhance experience of other hikers.
Sign near the trailhead. On a busy trail, etiquette should be observed to preserve the natural beauty and enhance the experience of other hikers.
Starting up the 1.5 mile trail. The footing is stony in many places. This day it was also muddy due to recent rain.
Starting up the 1.5 mile trail. The footing is stony in many places. This day it was also muddy due to recent rain.
Pausing for a moment to look back down at the staging area.
Pausing for a moment to look back down at the staging area.
Another hiker, starting up toward the summit, appears to be prepared. A nearly 1000 foot climb is required. One should wear sturdy shoes and bring water. There is no shade.
Another hiker, starting up toward the summit, appears to be prepared. A nearly 1000 foot climb is entailed. One should wear sturdy shoes and bring water. There is no shade.
Looking westward as we ascend into a beautiful San Diego sky.
Looking westward as we ascend into a beautiful San Diego sky.
Looking to the south, one can see the Mission Trails Golf Course and Lake Murray.
Looking to the south, one can see the Mission Trails Golf Course and Lake Murray.
A group hikes up the trail.
A group hikes up the trail.
The top of Cowles Mountain is on the left. First we will climb up that rise on the right.
The top of Cowles Mountain is on the left. First we will climb up that rise on the right.
Rescues are often made on this trail due to its popularity. Many urban hikers aren't prepared for this fairly strenuous trek. I spotted a few emergency markers which are used to locate those in distress.
Rescues are often made on this trail due to its popularity. Many urban hikers aren’t prepared for this fairly strenuous trek. I spotted a few emergency markers which are used to locate people in distress.
Up, up we go! The climb is relentless, with only a few short level stretches.
Up, up we go! The climb is relentless, with only a few short level stretches.
As we climb higher on this clear day, it's possible to see farther into the distance. I can barely detect downtown San Diego at the horizon.
As we climb higher on this clear day, it’s possible to see farther into the distance. I can barely detect downtown San Diego at the horizon.
Many hikers had dogs, who enjoyed the hike, too. The scrubby vegetation and exposed boulders are common in the mountains and hills around San Diego.
Many hikers had dogs, who enjoyed the hike, too. The scrubby vegetation and exposed boulders are common in the mountains and hills around San Diego.
A better look at shining Lake Murray, a popular fishing destination.
A better look at shining Lake Murray, a popular fishing destination.
Rounding a corner, we can now see to the southeast. The nearer peak is Mt. Helix in La Mesa.
Rounding a corner, we can now see to the southeast. The nearer cone-like peak is Mt. Helix in La Mesa.
As we continue toward the summit, the Barker Way Trail leads off to the east.
As we continue toward the summit, the Barker Way Trail leads off to the east.
Looking again to the southwest, toward downtown San Diego.
Looking again to the southwest, toward downtown San Diego, very faint in the far distance.
A zoomed photo. Downtown skyscrapers rise beside San Diego Bay. The Point Loma peninsula can be seen, as well.
A zoomed photo. Downtown skyscrapers rise beside San Diego Bay. The Point Loma peninsula can be seen, as well.
The trails zig-zags among interesting rocky outcrops near the summit.
The trail zigzags among interesting rocky outcrops near the summit.
A far view from high above San Diego. Looking to the southeast, I see prominent San Miguel Mountain. My hike earlier in the day was a bit north of that mountain in East County.
A far view from high above San Diego. Looking to the southeast, I see prominent San Miguel Mountain. My hike earlier in the day (see the previous blog post) was a bit north of that mountain in East County.
Once we cross this rocky expanse, we will be at the summit of Cowles Mountain, highest point in the city of San Diego!
Once we cross this rocky expanse, we will be at the summit of Cowles Mountain, highest point in the city of San Diego!
Plaque at the summit. Cowles Mountain is the dominant feature of Mission Trails Regional Park. It was named to honor George A. Cowles, a pioneer leader of San Diego County in the 1870's.
Plaque at the summit. Cowles Mountain is the dominant feature of Mission Trails Regional Park. It was named to honor George A. Cowles, a pioneer leader of San Diego County in the 1870’s.
Sign shows sights from the south to the west, including distant Tijuana, Los Coronados Islands (which I could barely see), the Silver Strand, Point Loma, Mission Bay and Mount Soledad.
Sign shows sights from the south to the west, including distant Tijuana, Los Coronados Islands (which I could just barely see), the Silver Strand, Point Loma, Mission Bay and Mount Soledad.
A second sign shows mountains from the north to southeast, including Mt. Woodson, San Jacinto, Palomar Mountain, Cuyamaca Peak, the Laguna Mountains, Otay Mountain and San Miguel Mountain.
A second sign shows mountains from the north to southeast, including Mt. Woodson, distant San Jacinto, Palomar Mountain, Cuyamaca Peak, the Laguna Mountains, Otay Mountain and San Miguel Mountain.
To the north, antennas rise from Cowles Mountain into the sky. I could see the Pacific Ocean coastline stretching into the distance in the northwest.
To the north, antennas rise from Cowles Mountain into the sky. I could see the Pacific Ocean coastline stretching into the distance in the northwest.
Looking north beyond the antenna station. Highway 52 below descends from Mission Trails Pass east into Santee.
Looking north beyond the antenna station. Highway 52 below descends from Mission Trails Pass east into Santee.
Gazing northeast toward Santee and Lakeside and nearby mountains. At the very center is El Cajon Mountain.
Gazing northeast toward Santee and Lakeside and nearby mountains. At the very center is El Cajon Mountain.
Gazing to the west one can see Mount Soledad, and distant office buildings in University City (also called the Golden Triangle) and Sorrento Valley. The ocean is a thin blue thread.
Gazing to the west one can see Mount Soledad, and distant office buildings in University City (also called the Golden Triangle) and Sorrento Valley. The ocean is a thin blue line.
Sitting high in the sky, taking in amazing views.
Sitting high in the sky, taking in some amazing views.

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A short hike in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge.

There was no need to alter this photo in the slightest way. The colors appeared astonishingly bright this morning in the sunlit mountains and hills east of San Diego.
There was no need to alter this photo in the slightest way. Nature’s colors appeared astonishingly rich this morning in the sunlit mountains and hills east of San Diego.

My 9:00 hike this morning turned out to be shorter than expected. That’s because I was the only one to show up for a scheduled nature hike in a beautiful section of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. Following directions, I parked a few minutes early at the Par 4 trailhead in Jamul, near the Cottonwood Golf Course. I kept checking my watch, hoping the US Fish & Wildlife Service ranger would arrive. I was looking forward to identifying the spring wildflowers and flowering plants along the trail. But it wasn’t to be. I suppose the event was cancelled due to yesterday’s rain.

I didn’t walk far because I didn’t want to adversely impact the still wet trail. Near the trailhead the footing was packed and firm, and my shoes barely made an impression, but perhaps a quarter mile into my hike there was just too much mud to continue.

As you can see, the hills of San Diego are bright green! This winter has been very rainy. During the summer the green in these photos will vanish as the native grasses, sagebrush and scrubby chaparral dry out in the relentless Southern California sun.

During my short hike, I did capture a few photos of tiny flowers and a bird! I’m sorry to report that I can’t properly identify them. Perhaps you can!

Sign at the Par 4 trailhead includes information for hikers and those on horseback. The trail follows the Sweetwater River in Jamul.
Sign at the Par 4 trailhead includes information for hikers and those on horseback. The trail follows the Sweetwater River in Jamul.
The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex includes four areas designed to protect wildlife in Southern California.
The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex includes four areas designed to protect wildlife in Southern California. (Click image to enlarge.)
There are patchy wildlife refuges in some of San Diego County's undeveloped areas. This map shops where they are located. The Par 4 trailhead is near the top of the bigger green blob.
There are various wildlife refuges in San Diego County’s undeveloped areas. This map shows where several managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service are located. The Par 4 trailhead is near the top of the bigger green blob.
A wet trail heads west over a green landscape. Many birds were seen flying across the open space.
A damp trail leads west over a green landscape. Many birds were seen flying across this open space. The morning’s short hike was made pleasurable by a fresh cool breeze and warm sunlight.
Beautiful tiny yellow flowers and raindrops on green leaves. What this plant is, I don't know. Leave a comment if you do!
Beautiful tiny yellow flowers and lingering raindrops on green leaves. What this plant is, I don’t know. Leave a comment if you do!
I spotted this little bird perched on a twig near the hiking trail.
I spotted this little bird perched on a twig near the hiking trail.
I tried to identify this small bird, using my California Birds pocket guide, but I couldn't decide. If you know, leave a comment!
I tried to identify this small bird using my California Birds pocket guide, but I couldn’t decide. If you know, leave a comment!
I'm no expert, but I did find these tiny jewel-like lavender flowers to be beautiful.
I’m no expert, but I did find these tiny jewel-like lavender flowers to be beautiful.
Dramatic white clouds in a blue sky. Natural beauty in San Diego's East County the day after a big storm.
Dramatic white clouds in a blue sky. Natural beauty in San Diego’s East County the day after a big storm.

After this very small hike, I drove along Highway 94 to Campo, winding my way through bright green rocky mountains. Then I headed back toward San Diego via Buckman Springs and Pine Valley, without any particular notion of where to stop. Then it occurred to me: Why not hike Cowles Mountain today? So I did, as you’ll see in the next blog post!

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!