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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

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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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Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Time to study

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blacks BeachWith the weather warming up lately, people are traipsing to the beaches like there’s no tomorrow.

One of San Diego’s most unique beaches is Blacks Beach.

It’s unique because it is one of the world’s most beautiful and well used naturist beaches.

It’s unique because the backdrop to the beach is 300-foot sandstone cliffs.

It’s unique because it is directly below the Torrey Pines Golf Course, a municipal golf course where Tiger Woods won the 2008 U.S. Open over Rocco Mediate on the first hole of a sudden death playoff.

Blacks Beach in San Diego, CaliforniaIt’s unique because it’s directly in the flight path for military aircraft taking off from the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

It’s unique because flying directly above the beach are the parasailers from Torrey Pines Glider Port.

It’s unique because it’s directly below the University of California at San Diego. With 29,000 students, it’s always possible to find some studying and enjoying the sun, water, and breezes.

Studying

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blacks Beach map

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Stairs to Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Too much of anything is bad for you

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yesterday I used my new health insurance that I got courtesy of the Affordable Care Act (also derisively called “ObamaCare”) and went to the doctor for the first time in a year. Blood pressure and my osteoarthritic knees were on my agenda.

I’ve been exercising my knees but the problem with osteoarthritis is that it’s kind of a Catch-22 situation in that exercise will help strengthen the knee muscles but the exercise is painful. In discussing exercise, this doctor suggested that I find some uneven stairs or set up some uneven stairs so that the complete knee would get exercise. He also suggested that I do my walking on sand rather than concrete or asphalt. The sand gives, making it easier on my knees, and because it gives, it also works the complete ankle and knee muscles.

I knew just the place: Black’s Beach.

The stairs from the top of the 300-foot bluffs are, well, “uneven” doesn’t do them justice:

Stairs to Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I first came to San Diego in May 1992, the bluffs at Blacks Beach were one of the first “vista points” that I visited. In looking out over the beautiful bluffs and the Pacific Ocean, I told myself that some day I would retire to San Diego. Just eleven months later and I had done exactly that. From April 1993 to March 1994, I did nothing but climb up and down the bluffs at Blacks Beach, lay out on the sand, and read about the world’s great and not-so-great religions, trying to determine if there was a place in any of them for a soon-to-be openly gay man. There wasn’t.

After I reached that decision, I put myself back into the work force, mainly because the beach can actually get boring. Reminds me of what my wise old grandmother always told me: “Too much of anything is bad for you.” I had too much beach.

Once Jim and I got Domestic Partnered in July 2004, I quit going to Blacks Beach, mainly because he’s not a beach person. Today was the first time I’ve been since July 2004. Not only did I climb down and up those 300 feet of uneven stairs, but I also walked three miles north and back on the sand.

There was a nice low tide while I was there, so I walked out quite a distance and took ten pictures to create this panorama (click on the image for a larger picture):

Panorama of Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That panorama covers about seven miles, from Torrey Pines State Beach at the far left to La Jolla Beach at the far right. Those trees at the top center of the bluffs are at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course where Tiger Woods won his last major championship, the U.S. Open in 2008.

I should also say that Blacks Beach is one of the world’s great Naturist beaches, meaning that clothing is optional.

I’ll have more pictures of Blacks Beach in a future post.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos