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!
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.
Windy and so beautiful
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.