Place: Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California
Coordinates: 32.669819, -117.241215
Length: about 2 miles in and out.
477 years ago a young explorer landed his boat ashore and climbed the high place that overlooked a large, beautiful Bay. This man was Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo* (João Rodrigues Cabrilho**), the first European to have set foot on the shores of North America's West Coast. The hill he had climbed is now Cabrillo National Monument, with Cabrillo's memorial statue overlooking the San Diego Bay.
Cabrillo National Monument was the first site on our quickly thrown together vacation plan for Thanksgiving week of 2018. We arrived there after a long day's drive and a restful night at Chulla Vista. Our intention was to check out his historic place, hike an easy trail, then go to the bird preserves near the border. When we arrived at the visitor center however, we are informed of the nice Point Lome tide pools within the Monument area, and that low tide time was due just about when we thought we'd be done with our hike. And so we stayed at Cabrillo National Monument most of that day.
* The name as it appears in the park's brochure
** The name as it appears in Wikipedia
Southern California had its own devastating wildfires going on at that time, burning through the coastal communities of Thousand Oaks and of Malibu. By the time we arrived at San Diego the southern fires were mostly contained but not yet put out. The smoke was heavy in the air all the way to the Mexican border and clouded all of my wide view shots.
From the deck outside the visitor center there's a spectacular view of the San Diego Bay. We were there in perfect timing to see the USS Zumwalt going for a cruise. This is s stealth ship - designed to show up on the radar as a small boat. Very nifty!
Pappa Quail added the anecdote that it's former captain's name was James Kirk, which makes it all too precious :-)
|Our hike as captured by Pappa Quail's GPS|
|Red-tailed Hawk (western, light, juvenile)|
|Desert Broom Baccharis, Baccharis sarothroides|
|Chaparral by the Bay|
In places were the stone is exposed the rock layers can be seen. Layers of minerals and metal oxides paint the exposed layers with bright colors.
From further distance the intricate erosion effects can be seen in the bright, exposed sandstone.
We walked downhill at the quick pace. There were very few other people on that trail and we nodded each other while passing one another on our way down to the water.
Pappa Quail and the chikas spotted a while bee hive and hurried down the trail. I stopped and looked. The bees were quiet and content and didn't mind me watching them fro a few long minutes as they were going in and out of a small hole in the sandstone.
|Wild bee hive|
|Pacific Brown Pelicans|
As I thought, the trail ended well above the water at a locked gate with a 'End of Trail, No Trespassing' sign. I few yards before that gate there was a bench and we all sat there and gazed longingly at the emerald water below us.
We hanged around the trail end for a while, not very eager to start going uphill again. There was no particular landmark there, just a nice view and some cute nature gems, like this pretty agave plant that was growing right at the edge of the trail near the bench.
|Coast Agave, Agave shawii|
Closer to us were a few fishing boats followed by the signature gull envoy that were trying to get some of the booty. I could almost hear the "Mine! Mine! Mine!" of these birds.
Eventually we did get going again, clambering uphill on the same trail we came down on. It was an opportunity to take a second look at some of the interesting sights we had missed going down.
|Sandstone layer coloration|
I lost interest in the religious discussion fairly early on and walked aside, where I discovered the only flower that I've seen that entire hike: a single inflorescence of a bush sunflower!
|Bush Sunflower, Encelia californica|
|The Beacon of Old Point Loma Lighthouse|