Sunset Cliffs San Diego

The peaceful feeling you get when you get out of your car and start strolling down the 1.7 mile trail is just incomparable. This is the perfect spot to take your date any time of the day for a picnic or to – you guessed it – watch an amazing sunset. Bring your camera!

There’s a lot to look at in the area. You can climb down the sandstone cliff on the steep access stairs and then slide / jump / climb over rocks at the bottom to reach the beach in the picture above here. It’s called Garbage Beach because it was once used as a landfill for locals. That was a long time ago though, so don’t let that name stop you from going. It’s definitely worth a visit. Best time to visit is during low tide.

Let the ocean splash you…

Watch local wildlife. This specific birds is named ‘Stumpy’ by locals. Keep an eye out for him.

Art…

Or just take in all the different scenery with people you care about.

Maybe spend some time thinking of someone you love …

The most incredible sunset pictures can be taken from inside this cave. The challenge is getting in there! It can be accessed from Garbage Beach during low tide but you’ll still be walking through a bit of water. And be sure you make it back before the tide comes in.

The trail is easy, but if you want more of a hike, I recommend continuing south and following the trails closer to the cliffs (not the main trail). You’ll pass through a tree tunnel which leads to a soccer field. Cross it, and you can keep going a long ways. There’s also a nice sandy beach with a remote wilderness feel to it here that you can visit.

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A rare sight in Coronado. This ‘pier’ or what once was a part of a boat landing harbor, is usually fully covered by sand or barely visible. Sometimes though, after a good storm it’ll reveal itself like it did today. It is located on the beach right in front of the famous Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Beach.

The specific historical facts on it are hard to find and a bit of a mystery. Several locals report playing on it, calling it a pier, when they were young. But after searching through archives I’ve only been able to find photos of it as part of a landing harbor, with a pier being just a bit south of it. That pier isn’t there anymore and story is it was burned because the upkeep was too expensive.

The location of the actual pier was just beyond these rocks. Now, in that same direction and area and during low tide after a good storm, you might get lucky enough to see the famous shipwreck, the USS Monte Carlo. She was called the ‘worlds greatest pleasure ship’ in the 1930’s offering parties and gambling. In 1937 a bad storm loosened the ship from her mooring and she crashed onto the beach and stayed there. Legend has it that treasure can still to be found on there!

There isn’t much to her now.

But she’s somewhere under those waves today.

Coronado beach has been voted among the top beaches in the US many times. There’s a lot of history and beauty here and it’s definitely worth a visit. If you have time walk to central beach and climb over the dunes there. You’ll notice each dune is a letter and together they spell out C-O-R-O-N-A-D-O. In 1988 a local city worker, Armando Moreno, was tasked with cleaning up kelp on the beach and over a period of 2 years he formed the letters by burying the kelp and covering it with sand and then planting ice plants on top.

After all that climbing head to Hotel Del Coronado for a drink or s’mores on the beach or visit one of the many really great restaurants just a block away.

A must do in Los Angeles

There’s so much to do in L.A and planning a stay there can be overwhelming. There are the obvious choices like the theme parks most people like to visit, Hollywood, Walk of Fame etc. But if you’ve read any of my other posts you know that I prefer less crowded places and those are hard to find there. I lived in Venice once (yes, very crowded) close to the Marina and I tend to venture back there when I go because of friends in the area. But also because Venice offers my most favorite thing to do in L.A. which is renting a bike and riding the bike lane either north towards Malibu (the farther you go, the less people) or south as far as you can handle going… or until the bike rental shop closes. You can rent a bike on pretty much any block in Venice or right in the parking lots in Santa Monica. Ask for a basket and bring water.

Muscle Beach is good place to start. There’s a parking lot just south of it by Venice Blvd. on the beach. If you like watching bodybuilding this spot will satisfy that need. It’s been located in the heart of Venice since 1963 and has hosted many famous bodybuilders and bodybuilding competitions.

As you head North you’ll get to ride under the iconic double-jointed Santa Monica Pier. It’s over a 100 years old and offers an aquarium, a video arcade, shops and restaurants, street performers and an original carousel from 1922. I like to stop here, go have a snack or two and maybe ride that red and yellow Ferris wheel or the roller coaster sometimes. It is probably one of the shortest roller coaster rides ever, but it’s pretty cool to go on rides on a pier over the water.

If you’re here during the summer when it’s really crowded watch out for pedestrians as you come out from under the pier.

After passing the pier, keep going north. You’ll see this really cute purple and pink house (favorite!) and then a little further up a new playground opened recently. I’d never get in the way of any child playing, so if there aren’t too many little kids in there a quick stop … is fun!

I love the area north of the playground. It’s less crowded and often it’ll feel like you have the place all to yourself. The ocean, the sand, the bike lane and then on the other side Santa Monica Mountains and the city.

I hope to see you out there on a bike! Next stop, my second favorite thing to do in L.A., hiking the trails by the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign.

Happy Place

How could I not want to jump in? The beauty is overwhelming. The blue so incredibly inviting. How to resist?
How to resist… one of the biggest challenges in life. But why resist? Why not enjoy, jump into it, whatever ‘it’ is, while it’s possible? And live every moment remembering just how fleeting they are.
I push all thoughts of the icy water into the back of my mind and climb down.


I’m at Point Mugu State Park. It is windy and there’s a little chill in the air … It is winter after all, but that doesn’t necessarily mean cold in Southern California. Right now there’s snow in the mountains an hour from here, but here at the beach that is extremely rare. I remember hail a few times but that is the coldest I can recall. Point Mugu Rock and beach are worth a stop if you’re driving through the Los Angeles area. Follow PCH Between Ventura and Malibu and you can’t miss it. (15 miles south of Oxnard) The views never disappoint. I often spot dolphins surfing the waves, pelicans, sea lions and harbor seals. Sometimes, on a real clear day, you might be able to spot a whale or two.

There are hiking trails right next the beach. 70 breathtaking miles of them! The hike from La Jolla Canyon to the top of Point Mugu (1,260 ft) and back is about 6 miles and fairly strenuous. If you’re up for a much longer hike there’s La Jolla Canyon loop. Get there early in the summer for a parking spot by La Jolla Canyon, but make sure to check for local updates on the trails before heading out as they can be closed due to damage / fires.

I’ll never tire of this view. Far enough away from the city to not be bothered by the noise and the busyness and doings of everyone. This is my escape from the planned events and must do’s.

We have one life. Just this one. Why aren’t we running like we’re being chased towards the wildest adventures our mind can imagine?

I jump down and I roll up my leggings as far as i can…

Wow Love

Footsteps
in the sand
2 together
Joined you can tell
by a small space, just
big enough,
for those 2 to be holding hands.
They walked
as far as you can see
right where the water reaches for
the warm dry sand.
But it’s cold and windy this time a year
these two didn’t care.
I wondered who they were and
if they had been lucky
enough to find that
Wow kind of love.
That love that’s so rare
So pure
Loyal, yet free
Soft and kind, yet so
unbelievably strong that
it could
Never break.
That love. That Wow
love.


Then I saw them
returning from
wherever they went
down the shore.
She laughed and ran
into the ice cold water as
the wind blew her long hair in all directions.
He watched, reluctant… or maybe
admiring, but only for
a short moment, then
he followed her.
They laughed,
played…
Kissed.
And I swear I saw a soft
light surround them
like a blanket of
friendship, of respect,
togetherness, of
a destined forever.
I was looking at it
witnessing it… that
Wow love.


I left before they
saw me, not wanting to
interrupt.
but I watched as they
strolled, arm in arm, back to their
Vehicle
he opened the door
for her and he kissed
her softly before he
closed it.
I saw him smiling, big,
as he walked quickly
around the car.


I smiled too.
I’m still smiling
Those 2 together alone on a
beach that is always
bustling with people.
Those footsteps in the
sand
And Only those…

© Susanne Harring

If you’re in the Los Angeles area a visit to Venice Beach is a must! If you’re visiting during the Holidays you’re in for a treat. There’s a sort of hidden and very special part of Venice that is lit up and decorated in a very unique and thoughtful way. The Venice Canals.

The canals were founded in 1905 by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney. He dug several miles of canals to create a European feel in the famous beach town. Many of these canals were filled in 1929 but some still remain, creating a quaint, charming and quiet little neighborhood. And a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the Venice boardwalk. Almost every home has a small dock and a few boats in the water. There are 9 unique bridges over the canals and each Christmas these are decorated with different themes and lights.

Today, Abbot Kinneys presence is still felt in Venice as you can walk down Abbot Kinney Blvd, a short walk from the canals, and shop at trendy boutiques, grab a bite to eat and look at amazing art at the ‘coolest block in America’.

After watching the always beautiful sunset at the beach head down Venice Blvd. The canals are kind of hidden but you’ll see them on your right shortly after passing Pacific.

Most of the wishes were made for other people. For friends and family and for other peoples good health and fortune. Unselfish wishes. Wishes made with kindness and care… so special and so beautiful, touching and fitting for this season of giving.

Blemishes or Gifts

Not being flawless, but being a character with something not desired, a fault, a carrier of something that does not please the eye like a physical deformity, is not easy these days when everything is photo shopped into perfection. No one wants to look at a small mark that spoils an appearance of something that’s expected to be beautiful. Off to the trash you go. 

Not this Sand Dollar though.  He got to come home with me.  He’ll be the center piece in a collection of many like him I’ve found this year, mixed in with the perfect ones.  A huge variety of them all different and all so beautiful in their own way. They are relatives of sea urchins and star fish and all have a unique story, even legends, to tell.  

This time a year I get to find these around my backyard every once in a while and every time I do I get so excited. Remember if you’re lucky enough to come across one, check it’s color. Live ones are a deep purple, reddish or brown. Then gently flip it over and check to see if it has little ‘legs’ called spines that move.  If it does, you’ve found a live one.  Please set it back into the ocean and place it spine side down. Taking a live one is not only illegal but I’ve been told it also carries a pretty big fine.  If you’ve found one, a gift, without spines that has been bleached to a lighter color by the sun, you can find it’s age by counting the growth rings on the hard skeleton, just like counting the rings on a tree stump.  They can live up to a decade.

Today I found more San Dollars within a few hours than I’ve found in my whole lifetime!

If you’re in San Diego this is a must see! Go on a clear day and you’ll never tire of the most amazing views of San Diego, the bay, Coronado, the open ocean and Mexico. If you’re lucky you’ll spot dolphins and even whales.  

The drive to the monument is beautiful in itself and features Fort Rosecrans National cemetery and a drive through the military base where you can spot models of navy ships and unbelievable views. 

After paying the entrance fee, everything is free.  First, walk op to the charming old lighthouse.  Visitors can go inside and get a glimpse of what it was like to be a lighthouse keeper in 1855 when the first light was lit until it was closed in 1891, due to the fact that it was located too high above the sea level so fog would often obscure the light from the ships below. A new light house was built at a lower location and can be seen from the whale overlook.

Inside the lighthouse a cozy living room and the kitchen are on the first floor. A short climb up the spiral staircase leads to the bedrooms and then you can climb up a bit further for a quick look at the top of the lighthouse.  This part is closed off usually, but a few times a year it’s open to the public.  Dates can be found on the official website.  https://www.nps.gov/cabr/planyourvisit/open-tower-days.htm.  Don’t forget to look down the center of the staircase from up there.  Much artwork based on this view can be found for sale online and at their store. 

The whale overlook next to the light house offers incredible ocean views and interesting facts on the kelp forest, whale migration and the surrounding waters.  Follow the circle and make your way down to the visitors center and the Cabrillo monument.  The visitors center has a small, but interesting museum, a theater and a store.  I like to spend my time sitting on the wall by the monument and taking in the view of the beautiful San Diego harbor that was discovered by Spanish maritime explorer Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo in 1542. 

There’s a short, easy and beautiful hike, The Bayside Trail, that takes you down closer to the water where you’ll get to see a searchlight shelter and a power plant from 1919. 

If the tide is low I highly recommend visiting the tide pools afterwards.  (drive/ bike. Don’t plan on calling an Uber as there is barely any cell service).  You’ll more than likely get wet and the rocks can be really slippery.  But, you may get to see sea anemones, starfish, a variety of crabs, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, fish and I’ve even spotted an octopus! 

Rain

Most people I know hate rainy days.  I absolutely love them.  They’re so rare around here and when they finally happen they awaken me. They cheer me up.  They make me want to run outside and jump in every puddle.

Today I got up early, went outside and I felt it, gently and softly land on my skin, as the coolness of the wind surrounded me. I inhaled that fresh, crisp and clean, earthy scent deeply into my lungs. That incredible smell of new rain. I grabbed my camera, got in my car and I heard it loudly, musically, as I drove to the cliffs, splashing soothingly on the roof. And even though people say you shouldn’t, I tasted it’s fresh mild taste from my upper lip when I got there. I let the droplets soak my clothing and the muddy ground dirty my shoes.  I listened for thunder, one of my most favorite sounds, and kept an eye out for lightening and rainbows.

Rainbows…the ultimate adventure in life is full of color, full of beauty and full of love.  

This reminded me of the North Sea. Rough loud waves crashing hard on the rocks.

Capturing a muddy waterfall. Such a rare sight in SoCal

Windy and so beautiful

The Journey Begins

My favorite author H.C. Andersen once said to travel is to live.  I live by this, but I also love adventuring in my own backyard!  Thanks for joining me! 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Torrey Pines Hiking

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in San Diego is a wide stretch of land surrounded by La Jolla and Del Mar.  It’s one of my most favorite hikes in San Diego and you’ll see me here at least once a month. It offers 8 miles of trails and an amazing view of the ocean.  Parking can be hard to find but come early and enjoy lesser crowds.  Start by hiking up the road to the little visitors center and from there follow the many trails to various viewpoints and end up taking the “more than 100 steps” down to the beach.  If you come during low tide, you can climb up onto Flat Rock for not only a great view but also to see all the shallow tide pools on the rock teeming with life and flourishing plants.  

South of Flat Rock is San Diego’s unofficial nude beach, called Black’s Beach,  if you’re into that sort of thing… Although I was told this practice is now banned on part of the beach by boundary signs. 

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