San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I’m trading in my beach sandals for hiking boots

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I discovered the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge a few months ago.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge map

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San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s about 9,200 acres in southwest San Diego County and is rapidly becoming my favorite place in all of the County. I’m trading in my beach sandals for hiking boots.

There are dozens of trails throughout the Refuge, and although the trails look well used, the most people I have ever seen was about fifteen on a four-hour hike, and that was on a Saturday, too. During the weekdays, there are hikers, bikers, dog walkers, and horse riders early in the morning and late in the evening. Other than that, I seem to be the only one who can take off during the day to enjoy the Refuge.

I don’t have to fight with billions of people for my own little spot like I would at the beach, and I never come home all salty and sandy. The roar of the ocean is replaced with the call of the wild.

Here is my first blog post about the Refuge.

Following are some pictures in new areas of the Refuge that I have recently explored.

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I found a pile of rocks which attracted my attention because it was about four feet high and wide, obviously taking someone a significant amount of effort to create:

Memorial in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

As you can see, there’s a rectangular piece of wood on the pile, informing us that the pile of rocks is a memorial, but a very odd memorial:

Memorial in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge 2

Memorial in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge 2

I don’t understand the memorial because I saw men, women, children, horses, and dogs enjoying the wonderful nature trek.

Horse rider plaque in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Riding horses in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I couldn’t find anything online about it. The best I can figure is that it was created when the land became part of the National Wildlife Refuge. An alternate possibility is that this specific piece of land is part of the horse ranch located directly above rather than part of the Wildlife Refuge. When the horse ranch bought the land, someone created the memorial, thinking that the land would no longer be available for the public to enjoy.

Birds are plentiful throughout the Refuge:

Western scrub-jay in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Bird in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I don’t know what kind of bird that second one is but it was playing the old broken wing trick, trying to lure me away from whatever it wanted to protect, probably a nest. You can see that it pretty much is giving me a little attitude with that look.

If you let your eyes go a little fuzzy and use your imagination, you can see a ram’s head in the following rock. It looks a little freaky in person because its gaze seems to follow you as you meander along the trails in front of it.

Ramshead rock in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

The Sweetwater River which runs through the refuge:

Sweetwater River in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I know, I know. Many of you are thinking “That’s not a river. That’s a creek.” Out here in dry San Diego, if it flows year-round, it’s a river!

If you enjoy different kinds of plants, there are many to be found, like these lichens growing on this rock:

Lichen-covered rock in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Most of the refuge is open and sunny, but here and there are small groves of oaks, willows, and sycamores under which one can rest:

Trail in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

23 thoughts on “I’m trading in my beach sandals for hiking boots

  1. lensandpensbysally

    It’s a wondrous personal experience to venture out into the wild. I’m sure that you are inspired by all that you felt and saw. Such adventures seem to keep giving more and more, even after the experience.

    Reply
  2. beebeesworld

    I always enjoy your wonderful work. I have my son-in-law busy trying to “learn” my new camera so he can teach technically challenged me. Speaking of such…

    Once again, I am having difficulty getting wordpress to publish anything I do-using any of the tricks that worked before-(like pushing edit before I was through and it started messing up and going back quickly and editing) or going to the page where “reader, new post, etc are listed and working from there-nothing and I cannot find a way to get in touch with wordpress by email or “help”. Im just asking some fellow bloggers who have been on a long time for suggestions-any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    Reply
  3. ytaba36

    When I started using WordPress, the “Support” was excellent, now it seems to have vanished! What a shame, it was one of its best seeling points.

    Re: the memorial sign, I took it to mean that all those men, women, children etc. were now dead, and thus not able to enjoy the trek any longer.

    Reply
  4. tchistorygal

    I thought the sign meant people,horses etc. that were no longer able to get out of their homes – disabled in some way. I didn’t think dead ro restricted from usage, though.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Dead can be beautiful « Russel Ray Photos

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