Monday, January 30, 2017

Torrey Pines State Park and Cabrillo National Monument

We have been spending time with Bernie, Dodo, Paul and Trudy going out to dinner but not doing any exploring because of the rainy weather. We did take in a movie, Pittsburgh filmed Fences, and thought it was very powerful and emotional in many ways. Finally after days of rain the weather improved so we could do some exploring.
We had been told by several people that a visit and hike in Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve was a must. The preserve is a 2,000 acre natural wonderland within the city of San Diego. The lodge was built in the style of Hopi Indian houses to blend into the environment. Today it is the visitors center. 
Do you see it? We also saw two peregrine falcons going after a red tailed hawk, all very cool.
Looking northeast over the city to the snow covered mountains. There has been so much rain and snow over the last week they are actually saying the years long drought may be over.
Looking northwest to the Pacific Ocean beach below. As you can see, the wetlands have a lot of water from all the rain.
Nanc, Jim, Bernie and Dodo. We hiked to a couple of ocean overlooks and then down to the water.
Spring is in the air and the cacti are staring to bloom. Sure hope this means our winter is over and the beautiful weather continues. 
The erosion of the sandstone cliffs has created very unique patterns.
Nanc, Dodo and Bernie looking for shells and beach glass. The recent big storm driven waves have uncovered a lot of nice finds. At high tide the water goes all the way to the cliffs so you need to be aware of the tides if you want to walk on the beach here.
The wind blown Torrey Pines are only found in this area. Finding such a well preserved natural area within the city is always very neat. We are very thankful that people had the foresight to save this land from developers so future generations can see what ancient California was like.
Another beautiful day and we headed south to Cabrillo National Monument. The park is on a large spit of land that protects San Diego Bay from the Pacific Ocean. This is the area where Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European to map the bay.  
One of the neatest places here is the inter-tidal zone where at low tide you can see a big variety of sea life from crabs, to fish and other unique aquatic life. These look like old shells but there were little crabs in them that were moving through the water in search of food. NO SHELL COLLECTION IS ALLOWED IN THE TIDAL POOL.
We watched this shell for a while but never did see what was inside.
These anemones are very unique critters. They are predatory animals that attach themselves to the rocks and capture prey that swim up to them. The top one is open awaiting prey and the bottom one is closed. All the animals and plants in the tidal pool have adapted to the twice a day high and low tides. 
Dodo and Bernie's daughter and grandchildren came to San Diego for the weekend to escape the Minnesota winter. We got to meet Brittany and Damion at the tidal pool. They had a fun weekend and enjoyed the great California weather.
High on the hill at Point Loma is the lighthouse that was built in 1855 to guide ships along the coast and in San Diego Bay.
Unfortunately, the old lighthouse was so high that it was often obscured by clouds and fog. In 1891 a new lighthouse station was built at the bottom of the hill so it was below the clouds. This new light is on the property of the Coast Guard so it is not open to the public. 
Point Loma is a great place to see migrating whales. Gray whales travel south each winter to the Baja where their young are born and then return each summer to the feeding grounds of the Arctic waters. At this time of the year they are still heading south. We did see the distant spout of one whale while we were there. We plan to take a whale cruise next week.
The view of San Diego from Cabrillo is one of the greatest city views in the country. In the foreground is the Naval Air Station with the downtown and mountains in the distance. There were many small boats going in and out of the harbor. 
The statue of Carbrillo over looking the harbor.
A Coast Guard cutter coming out of the harbor. Look closely and you can see the famous Coronado Hotel on the beach. We plan to visit there next week also. 
In addition to the national monument, coast guard and naval facilities on Point Loma, the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is also located along the drive. The cemetery overlooks both the bay and ocean. The cemetery has over 100,000 graves. All space for casketed remains has been used but a columbaria has been built for more remains. After all space has been filled the cemetery will be turned over to the park service.

The weather continues to improve and we are looking forward to Mike and Sherri coming in this week for a week of exploring and FUN.


Sharon Sharp said...

Did you say FUN?????

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Falcons and beach glass!