Category Archives: Fauna

Where can I get some footprints like this?

Out & About

Yesterday I visited the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. I had known about it for a couple of decades but had never been there because it is massive, and not exactly close to where I live.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

However, I teach chess at several elementary schools in North County, so yesterday, instead of fighting rush hour traffic to come home, I decided to take a hike, literally.

After parking, I studied the map and saw that there was a waterfall. Off I went. Three miles out and three miles back. I am sore, sore, sore.

I’ll have more about Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in a future post. Today I wanted to share just three pictures.

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My wise old grandmotherWhen I was young and living with my wise old grandmother (picture ►), she would take me to Padre Island National Seashore. Before she let me out to run around on the beach and in the dunes, she would tell me, “Don’t pick any flowers. Don’t take anything. Leave only footprints.” I thought of her yesterday when I came upon a set of footprints that had me smiling. Looked like this:

Leave only footprints

After finding those footprints, I looked at my own. I was embarrassed. I need some new shoes with a cool footprint!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Then there was this bird, either a crow or raven:

img_1570 crow stamp

I took that picture just a couple of hundred feet after setting off on the main trail. I know crows and ravens are very smart birds, and this one followed me three miles in and three miles back, flying from dead tree to dead tree, squawking at me to let me know that it was still with me but in a different tree. It stayed with me during my four-hour hike through the Preserve. Maybe it knew I was a newbie and wanted to make sure that I didn’t get lost. Since I got back to my car well after sunset, I was thankful that I had a little one looking after me.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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My six favorite San Diego vista points

Out & About

The following are my six favorite places from which to view San Diego:

San Diego Sky Tours

San Diego Sky Tours takes you on a 20-minute flight over downtown San Diego, Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres), Qualcomm Stadium (home of the San Diego Chargers), Sports Arena (home of the Los Angeles Clippers when they were the San Diego Clippers), SeaWorld, Coronado Bridge, Hotel Del Coronado, beaches, San Diego River, and more! Take a ride in a biplane, a tour aircraft, or a helicopter. Nothing quite like it. Rates start at $124.

Remember, too, that if you fly into San Diego, sit on the left side of the airplane. The view of downtown San Diego as you are coming in for the landing is not to be missed!

Downtown San Diego from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mount Soledad

A very popular tourist vista because it’s just minutes north of downtown San Diego, and downtown La Jolla, one of the area’s best tourist venues, is on the north side.

Mount Soledad rises about 823 feet above the coastline. There is a huge cross and Veterans Memorial at the top. On a clear day you can see Tijuana, Los Angeles, and probably Tokyo!

View from Mount Soledad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mount Helix

The most popular vista point in East San Diego County. Mount Helix rises 1,365 feet above sea level. It’s about 14 miles inland but you can see the ocean on a clear day. There is am amphitheater and large cross at the top. Along with Easter Sunrise Service, there are usually theater presentations during the summer. Right now the only thing I see on the Mount Helix calendar are weddings and Power Yoga.

Mount Helix is my favorite place to see the sun rise.

Sunrise from the top of Mount Helix in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel

In downtown San Diego on the harbor front. Comprising two towers, the older one, at 497 feet tall, has a vista point bar at the top. Unfortunately, it is way too small and crowded all the time. Be sure to visit Seaport Village at the foot of the towers.

Downtown San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California Tower

The California Tower is 198 feet tall and located in Balboa Park.  While it is not as tall as the other vistas, the views are spectacular.

After having been closed for eighty years, it opened again on January 1, 2015. If you go, and I highly recommend that you do, make reservations and buy tickets online. They sell out far in advance, and it’s not even Tourist Season yet!

You won’t go to the tippy top because it’s not safe yet, but you won’t be disappointed. Afterwards, enjoy the rest of Balboa Park, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

California Tower and San Diego Museum of Man, Balboa Park, San Diego

Gian Panda Gao Gao at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Coronado

A trip to Coronado has to be on everyone’s list of places to visit while in San Diego. You will travel over the very beautiful Coronado Bridge on your way to see the Hotel del Coronado, one of the most famous hotels in the world; Frank Oz’s house where he wrote much of “The Wizard of Oz”; Coronado Beach, one of the best beaches  in the United States according to those who rank such things; and downtown San Diego from across the harbor. If your budget includes splurging at a restaurant, splurge at Peohe’s.

San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge

Downtown San Diego from Marriott Coronado Island Resort

Hotel del Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Zoey the Cool (Book) CatZoey the Cool Cat exploring the books

Enjoy life. Make waves!

Picture of the Moment

After three consecutive days of rain, we’ve had three consecutive days of absolute beauty.

THIS is the San Diego that I’ve come to know and love, especially since lots of sunshine lets me get out and about to explore and take pictures.

Here’s one that I really like from yesterday:

Enjoy life. Make waves.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Taken at San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I want no part of it!

video logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yesterday was the third consecutive day of rain.

Rain, rain, and rain.

This is NOT the San Diego that I’ve come to know and love….

Suddenly, Zoey the Cool Cat started pawing at the window:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

No more than a minute later, this happened:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hail in San Diego? Huh? It doesn’t even rain in San Diego in March, much less hail. If this is Climate Change, aka Global Warming, I want no part of it!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I’m rich! I’m rich!

Inspiration

It doesn’t take much for me to get inspired each day, usually a catnap here and there, a hot shower, the news report, and my Excel spreadsheet detailing my goals and tasks for each day.

Occasionally, though, my level of inspiration jumps a few notches, as it did two days ago when I got this email:

Newsflare

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice that payment is in Pounds. I thought Great Britain was part of the Eurozone and was using the Euro. Not so. I guess the citizens voted down membership in the Eurozone. Good for me, though. When I initially read the email, I thought the sales price was in Euros, which were trading at $1.14 to a U.S. dollar. When I went to my PayPal account, the amount was much more than what I thought it should be. That’s when I realized that payment was in Pounds Sterling, which were trading at $1.499 to a U.S. dollar. Yahooooo! More money for me!

Here is the video that sold:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A mere 13 seconds. However, the event itself started at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 5:00 p.m. Knowing that parking in the area would be bad, I arrived at 7:00 a.m., got a great parking spot, and proceeded to take pictures of the trains passing by every 30 minutes:

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So if I divide the sales price, $1,124.25, by 12 hours, I get an hourly rate of $93.69. Hmmm. Still not bad………..LOL

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Out & About—The La Jolla tide pools

Out & About

Any time is a great time to visit the San Diego coast, but when the low tides get really low, it’s time for a visit to the various tide pools along the coast. One of the best is the La Jolla Tide Pools.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The lowest of the low tides, and the highest of the high tides, present the best opportunities to see (low tide) or witness (high tide) things that normally can’t be seen or witnessed. To find the low and high tides for San Diego, visit San Diego Tides.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#10: Torrey Pines Area, part 2

San Diego Historical Landmarks

If you missed Torrey Pines Area, part 1, here it is.

Let us start at the far north of the Torrey Pines Area as defined by this map:

Torrey Pines Area

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That blue just below Carmel Valley Road is Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. It’s a great place to go train watching since Amtrak, Coaster, and BNSF freight use the single track through the marsh.

Amtrak under the Del Mar Bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach near San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Those trees you see on the hill behind the bridge are torrey pines in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

The torrey pine (Pinus torreyana) is the rarest pine species in the United States. It grows only in a small area here in San Diego and on Santa Rosa Island, one of the islands in Channel Island National Park off the coast of Southern California.

Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana)

Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I went to the Reserve at 7:00 one morning and did everything within my power not to just sit out there and watch the trains go by. Long-time readers probably realize how difficult it was for me to ignore the trains. Nonetheless, here’s a walk through a couple of the trails in the Reserve:

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The first time I visited the Reserve was back in May 1993. As I remember it, there was very little sunshine to be found on the trails since it was a fairly dense forest of torrey pines. Sadly, the pines slowly are losing their fight for existence due to drought, insect attacks, and pollution from nearby developments and roadways.

There are two named beaches below the 400-foot cliffs of the Reserve: Torrey Pines State Beach and Blacks Beach. Blacks Beach is one of the world’s largest and best naturist beaches. It is difficult to get to because one has to navigate trails down the 400-foot sandstone cliffs, and each time you go, the trails are different due to erosion from human traffic and rainfall during the winter weeks.

My knees don’t like me going up and down cliffs anymore, so these pictures are from a trip a couple of years ago:

Blacks Beach

Stairs to Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

IMG_7122 framed

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Torrey Pines Golf Course is San Diego’s best and most beautiful course, and it’s a municipal course! It is where Tiger Woods won his last major championship, the U.S. Open, back in 2008.

Torrey Pines Golf Course

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Overlooking the golf course is The Lodge at Torrey Pines, a AAA Five Diamond hotel:

The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California

The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California

The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The University of California at San Diego (UCSD) is in the Torrey Pines Area. UCSD was established in November 1960, and in just 54 years has risen to prominence among universities worldwide, with U.S. News & World Report recently ranking it as the 18th Top World University.

The campus has many unique buildings and public art, and is worth spending a day just walking around gawking at everything. The library, shown in the first picture, is named after Theodore Geisel, better known as “Dr. Seuss.” Geisel was a La Jolla resident when he died, and many of his works are in the Geisel Collection in the library.

Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

UCSD Sun God

University of California San DiegoUniversity of California San Diego

Computer Science & Engineering Building at University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Across the street from the campus is the historic Torrey Pines Glider Port. I have been known to sit there for hours at a time and just watch the hang gliders.

Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego

Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego

Torrey Pines Glider Port

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On the beach below the Glider Port is the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, founded in 1903, and one of the world’s foremost oceanographic institutions. The Institution is now a part of the University of California San Diego, and also includes the Birch Aquarium. Take an afternoon to visit the Aquarium because the view of the beach and ocean is unparalleled, and the aquariums and fish are pretty nice, too!

Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego

Scripps Institute of Oceanography, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

At the very south of the Torrey Pines Area is the Salk Institute for Biological Studies:

Salk Institute, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Salk Institute was founded in 1960 by Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine. It often is ranked as the premier biological & biomedicine institute in the world.

Constant praise is heaped upon the architecture, but I find it to be absolutely atrocious. Bare concrete everywhere; just depressing and oogie.

Salk Institute in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There you have it. An absolutely gorgeous and historic area, so if ever you are in San Diego, take a day out of your schedule and go visit the Torrey Pines Area in La Jolla. You won’t regret it.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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