Thursday, December 17, 2015

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

San Diego Metro KOA
Chula Vista, CA
December 16, 2015

Torrey Pines Natural Reserve remains one of the "wildest" stretches of land on the Southern California coast. Over 2,000 acres of land "are as they were" before San Diego was developed. For information on this beauty, click here

 Yesterday, we took the 25 miles interstate drive to the reserve, another San Diego gem. In 1500-1700, the Spanish explorers referred to this area as Punto do Los Arboles which means Point of Trees.

 According to my reading, Torrey pine trees are the rarest native pine trees in the United States. The trees along the coast are naturally pruned by the salty sea breeze and provide a beautiful canopy.
There is a two-way road in the reserve (north entrance) that travels up to the  lodge-visitor center/museum. We walked! There is a "path" for pedestrians that parallels the road...a good workout going up! 

 I was impressed with the monthly bird count posted at the lodge. On the list, two peregrine falcons were seen in November. We saw one always, I could have kicked myself for not having the correct lens, but I was so excited...even with a fuzzy picture...that I had to share!
We took two side trails on our way up to the lodge. First was the Guy Fleming Trail. 

In 1916, naturalist Guy Fleming led a city-wide campaign to protect the Torrey Pine trees which were being cut down for firewood and threatened by uncontrolled camping. In 1921, he became the park's first resident caretaker. During the next 10 years he developed trail systems, a plant nursery, and the lodge. 

The trail is an easy loop that meanders out to a north overlook and a south overlook.

 The large cones at the top of the tree are the female, seed-bearing cones. In January-February, the smaller male, pollen filled cones appear on the lower branches.

 The second trail we chose was part of the Parry Grove Trail. We bypassed the steep 118 steps down (and up) to the cliffs edge. But did enjoy the native plants at Whitaker Garden and the walk to the overlook.
The most impressive plant we saw was Shaw's Agave.  

Velvet Cactus

Coastal Barrel Cactus
Indian Fig...huge cactus, but very few pricklies

We also spent time on the beach there. Its not a sandy beach, but rather a squishy pebbly one. 

It was such a fun day. Until next time, let the good times roll...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bayside Trail

San Diego Metro KOA
Chula Vista, CA
December 14, 2015

Remember the beautiful red jeep, Rokell that has been in so many of our posts? It found it's way from Oceanside, CA to Chula Vista (last Saturday) with three of our dear friends...Dave, Lynn and Richie and their cute puppy Daisy. What a wonderful afternoon we had laughing, visiting and getting caught up. They will be moving to Mission Bay RV Resort (in Chula Vista) next month so we hope to see lots more of them!

Yesterday, Joe and I braved a breezy, chilly day and headed out to Cabrillo NM. Bundled up in long pants and sweaters, we were off to do the Bayside Trail on the east side of Point Loma.

 I am not sure which information is correct...the sign at the trail read it was 1.86 miles and the brochure states that it is 2.5 miles out and back. It didn't really matter to us as we have lots of work to do to get our hiking legs and lungs in shape before we shake the spider webs and dust off the boots! The trail descends 380 feet through native coastal sage scrub.  

 The trail begins near the old lighthouse and takes you down a paved road that turns into a gravel/dirt path. There are kiosk along the way that describe the vegetation and habitat. Joe calls these MBFs...more boring facts. 

There is also a bit of history here... remnants of a  searchlight and power plant built in 1919 and used in World Wars l and ll. 

 On the west side of Point Loma are tide pools. It was high tide, very breezy and cold so we didn't explore. We did walk a short trail...just enough to send my heart racing at the prospect of returning. Next week, if the weather cooperates, Tuesday and Wednesday should be good days to go. 

Wreaths Across America began in 1992. With a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the season, Morrill Worchester, owner of Worchester Wreath, realized he had an opportunity to honor our country's veterans. For the complete story click here. History of how this all began is under the "Who we are" tab. In 2008, over 300 locations held wreath laying ceremonies in every state, Puerto Rico and 24 overseas cemeteries. Over 60,000 volunteers placed over 100,000 wreaths.  

Wreaths Across America-San Diego serves Ft. Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemeteries. 

The wreaths on the ground are for markers as well.

Well, hope your week is a great one...we are hoping it warms up some here in San Diego. We could all use a beach day!

Until next time, take care and let the good times roll...