Torrey Pines Hike

This weekend definitely did not go as planned, but Puja and I got a lot done around the house that was long overdue! Unfortunately, there was not hike this week, mainly because she had a really bad cold.

So I’ve got this set of pictures I took over a year ago (August 6, 2011 – thank you EXIF data). It was a beautiful hike through Torrey Pines State Park. Torrey Pines is basically bluffs over the ocean where lots of people go to hike. The original freeway to San Diego goes through it, only it is no longer accessible to cars. That freeway has been rerouted to the often congested 5 freeway. Apparently the original interstate here was built so steep at a time when cars didn’t have fuel pumps and relied on gravity to get the fuel to the engine. So if somebody’s tank wasn’t filled high enough their car would stall and leave them stranded.

Read More

Sunday Morning in Watts

This weekend Puja and I went to visit her brother AP to celebrate his birthday in Pasadena, so we didn’t get to do our weekly hike in San Diego. This worked out fine for us because the temperature was roughly one hundred degrees even in the cooler parts of Southern California.

AP went scuba diving in Laguna Sunday morning, so this left us with a few hours to go explore Watts. I recently got re-interested in going to see the Watts Towers when I saw this video on Pinterest.

I was expecting it to be difficult to photograph, and it certainly was. I knew about the fence. What I didn’t know is that it is open to the public at certain restricted hours, I would love to go back sometime when we can go inside and look around.

Here is one I would really like to reshoot. It was difficult because I had to reach through the fence to do this montage.

This work of sculture was deeply impressive to see in person. You can see the immense effort it took Sobato Rodia to put together. It was made entirely out of found scraps of metal. You could also see his training as a mason really shine through when you look at the tile and sculptural work at the base of the structure.

Part of me kept thinking of a miniature golf course looking at it. That might sound condescending, but that is the nature of this style of art, called American naive art. It has a naive, childlike appearance. Yet there is a clear sense of mastery behind it.Read More

Shepherd Canyon Hike

Puja was sick all week with stomach pains. She had a weird sort of ailment that made her stomach burn if she ate anything besides cheese pizza or ice cream. But she still wanted to do our week’s hike, so we picked out an easy one that was close to home.

My favorite thing about this place is the sign that says not to touch the missiles, which I think is excellent advice even in places outside of Greenbelt Park (where this hike was).

Don't touch the missiles

My other favorite thing about this hike was the pond in the middle, called “Dishwasher Pond.” What a great name for a little urban pond. When we hit upon it, I felt like we had been transported to someone’s fishing hole somewhere in the south. This park seems like a natural preserve, but if you look closely at the picture you can see water bubbling in the center of the pond. The pond is aerated.

Altogether the hike was about 3 miles. Both Puja and Xaria made it through with no problems this time. Puja and I shared a cheese pizza afterward.

Chicano Park: My Favorite Site of San Diego

I’m not sure Chicano Park would rank on most people’s lists of most beautiful places in San Diego, but it’s at the top of mine. When people think of history in San Diego, they inevitably think of Old Town, a place of pristine fixed-up old buildings, a lawn strewn court yard and Mexican Margarita restaurants. Chicano Park to me represents a real history.

When Coronado Bridge was built, it divided the neighborhood of Barrio Logan, which was at one time the second largest hispanic community in California. Residents fought for a park that would help reunite their community, and were promised a park under the bridge. After several years, bulldozers came in not to build the park but to build a CHP station where the park had been promised. This infuriated residents who felt betrayed. They demonstrated, and fought for this park. One of the residents, the artist Salvador Torres, conceived of a large public art project to be a feature of the park, making use of the Coronado Bridge pillars. The result was Chicano Park.

Coincidentally, Puja and I went to check it out on the same day we went around the city to view a street art project the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego had commissioned. It turned out to be an appropriate interlude between viewing the street art exhibit that was displayed publicly throughout the city. (This was all back in January 2011)

There is a website for the park, explaining its history and there are pictures of some more of the murals.

Mount Woodson Hike, Eastern Approach

We chose this hike because of the season. I really want to go out to the dessert but I think it’s best to wait until the weather is milder. Since the vegetation anywhere is pretty much dry and brown, I thought we’d go on a hike that was more about rocks than foliage. There are also some really cool looking places up the San Diego river, but the river is probably too dry for the waterfalls to be worth it right now.

So many antennas

To start off, we had never been on the 67 freeway before. It takes you through Lakeside which immediatly makes you feel like you’ve gone out into the country. There aren’t a lot of places like that left in the area. To get to the hiking trail you have to park along the highway. There are a lot of signs about towing if you park in the wrong place, so you have to be really careful. It’s pretty clear the people who live there do not want to be bothered by the hikers.Read More