Out & About—San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Encinitas, California

Out & About

I remember the first time I heard the word Lagoon. Such a funny-sounding word. I was 7 or 8, living in Brigham City, Utah, at the time, and we were going to Lagoon, which was an amusement park in Farmington, 44 miles south of Brigham City and 17 miles north of Salt Lake City.

A couple of weeks ago, grade schools started up again after the end-of-year break, which meant that after-school enrichment programs would be starting up, too. I teach chess in five grade school enrichment programs.

One of the schools that I will be teaching at this term is a new school for me. Whenever I have a new school, I get there early to find parking, check out the neighborhood, get through the school’s security protocols, and find my room. This time, I got there way too early. I think many people were still on end-of-year vacation, so freeway traffic was very light.

As I was driving around the neighborhood looking for photography subjects, I found a little cul-de-sac with lots of brush, trees, and a little trail. Ah, trails. I just can’t resist trails. I parked the car, grabbed my camera, and went for a little hike.

I had not gone too far when I saw a couple of signs:

San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego, California

San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego, CaliforniaPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I saw several rattlesnakes and one mountain lion:

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake

Mountain lion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sadly, the rattlesnakes and mountain lion that I saw were at the San Diego Zoo the next day. That’s why I love the Zoo and SeaWorld—I get to see wildlife that I would never see otherwise.

I didn’t hike very far because I could see that the trails seemed to go on and on and on. (Hmmmm. Maybe the Energizer Bunny is out there somewhere.) I couldn’t get lost in the menagerie and not make it back to school on time to teach chess to that wildlife known as “rugrats.”

I did come upon a lonely bench, which turned out to be very photogenic:

Lonely bench

Lonely bench

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I got home, I used Google Maps to determine that I was on the outer edges of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in San Diego County, comprising 915 acres. There are six plant communities within the Reserve: coastal strand, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, riparian scrub, coastal sage scrub, and mixed chaparral. The diversity of wildlife is enormous: more than 300 species of plants, at least 23 species of fish, 26 mammal species, 20 reptiles and amphibians, more than 80 invertebrates, and 300 bird species.

San Elijo Lagoon is part of the Escondido Creek Watershed, comprising about 54,000 acres, stretching from the foothills to the coastline. It includes the last remnants of an imperiled coastal scrub habitat connecting the northern and southern parts of a globally important ecological region. The coastal scrub habitat is vital to the persistence of some of Southern California’s most endangered species, many of which occur nowhere else on Earth.

All of which means that, of course, I shall be making a more extensive visit sometime soon.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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30 thoughts on “Out & About—San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Encinitas, California

          1. orples

            Just give me the word, and I will add you to ‘our’ list. If you’re not sure what ‘list’ … check us out, and you will see what were are up to on our ‘new’ blog.

            http://orples.net/about/ (for list of participants to date — toggle down) You can go to our ‘visiting the neighbors category to see how the Orples operate on a daily basis. Every once in a while, I slide my own stuff in. You are welcome to join us, Russel. We’d love to have you on board. 🙂


  1. chrllrobb.blog

    Sounds like a great trail to hike. That is as long as I didn’t see any rattlesnakes! Not sure about the mountain lions either, but I think I would rather see the big cat than the snake! 🙂 And the rugrats can be trying too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. writeknit

    Chess and wildlife – great post blending 2 seemingly unrelated topics making them interesting individually (of course the puking cracked me up only because I worked in elementary school – been there, had that happen!). Thanks again for another great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. doronart

    I wish your posts will start first saying something like I am OK…. and then you can show us your great shots you take… I read the signs and said Ho Ho…. and read faster…. Keep up the great work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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