Friday, February 10, 2017

San Diego, CA - On Another Beach

One of our favorite places in San Diego is Torry Pines State Natural Reserve, about 2000 acres of plateau on cliffs overlooking Torrey Pines Beach. Here the rare Torrey Pine is protected. I learned from their website that this is not a park but a natural Reserve in which some threatened species is protected like plants, animals, habitats, or unique geological formations. We love this park for its natural beauty, its miles of trails and its overlook of the ocean. Our plan is to park at the bottom, walk up the trail beside the road, hike through the park down the Beach Trail, and back to our car via the beach. We can get it all this way, beach, hills, ocean views, nature, and fun trails.

We started out in Pacific Beach where we are camped. It was sunny, warm and praised a great day. By the time we got to Torrey Pines, we were in thick fog or what the locals call ‘marine layer.’ Though this car might proclaim that this is Sunny SD, not today
Here are two paddle boarders out on the Pacific. Hard to see them through the fog.
We hiked up the road and, since we did not use their pay lot, we gave a donation at the Museum at the top of the hill. Then we headed on down the trail to the beach. Some of trail disappears in the fog. Oh, my, what if we fall off?
These sand cliffs are usually all shades of red, orange, rust and brown when the sun glints off them. Today, just a dull tan.

With all the rain that San Diego has had this year, there is lots of erosion along the trail. This is not the worst spot that we saw but it did present some cautious footing.
At the bottom is the steps. The sand cliffs towards the bottom look like a moon scape with all the sculpting by the waves, wind and rain.



Looking back up the cliffside, I can see one of the Torrey Pines bent by the prevailing winds.
Then back to the car along the beach and to our second hike of the day. The huge sand cliffs lining the northern beaches of San Diego area an especial treat to hike down. Our second stop of the day is near the college, near the gliderport. No gliders today but the climb down is still pretty cool. Of course, you’ve got to walk past this sign to make the climb down to the beach. (Now, I’m sure you’ll realize that this is from a different time - it’s a sunny day here - but you can see the sign.)
Scary? Make you want to think twice? Not us. Well, maybe the first time we saw it: we stopped, read it, checked out all the people heading down and climbing back up, some barefoot with surfboards in their hands and we - headed on down. The trail was as much fun as ever as it curved around the cliff face. The steps were steep and slanted, some were missing but, on the whole, it was much better than the other times we’ve hiked it. They’ve repaired it, beefed it up and made it much easier than it used to be. Seems that even if they tell you to stay off this trail, that the cliffs are unstable, they still keep the trail maintained knowing that thousands of us are on it every year.
At the bottom is Blacks Beach, the ‘clothing optional’ beach. But, today, with the fog and the cold, nope, no one was here. Oh, shucks.

But the beach itself is a cool walk. This beach has a lot of black sand Here’s a picture of the beach as water swirls out of a spring towards the ocean along rivulets that it draws in the sand. Natures artistry.
Gary has found his own trail along the base of the sand cliffs.
We headed down the beach to another path upwards. Actually it is a road that the lifeguards use to get vehicles down to and up from the beach in case they are needed for a rescue. And, at the top, we find this ghostly shadow keeping watch over the road up the cliff.
At the top, we headed back to the car. Two cliffside trails, two beach walks - what could be better?

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