I discovered the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge a few months ago.
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.
Following are some pictures in new areas of the Refuge that I have recently explored.
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:
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:
I don’t understand the memorial because I saw men, women, children, horses, and dogs enjoying the wonderful nature trek.
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:
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.
The Sweetwater River which runs through the 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:
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:
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