Torrey Pines, Dolphins, and another day in San Diego

Apr 15, 2009 by Lisa Newton

When we last left Torrey Pines, I was at the top, looking in all directions.

A few yards down from the trail, I saw that several people were looking out at the ocean; so of course, being the naturally curious person I am, I stopped to see what they were looking at.

Low and behold, as you can see here, dolphins were frolicking in the midday ocean’s sun and were having a swim. Although, they were pretty far from the shore, you can clearly see one of the dolphin’s fins peaking out. Needless to say, I was very excited because I had never seen one in its natural habitat.

The coastal strip of San Diego is more than a hundred miles long, and with its Mediterranean climate of mild wet winters, and warm dry summers, results in a long growing season, and probably the best weather anywhere in the world.

San Diego’s average temperatures, range from a January minimum of 45F, to an August maximum of 80F, with a yearly average of 62F!

Hey, Life’s a Beach.

The majority of rainfall comes during the winter and early spring, with a seasonal average of less than 10 inches.

The salt marsh, pictured above on the right, is a highly productive ecosystem—,creating an extremely important wildlife habitat. It serves as both a nursery for fish and shellfish and a feeding and nesting ground for resident and migratory birds.

BTW, my car is parked in the little strip located to the left of North Torrey Pines Road, so my walk was literally onto Torrey Pines, which is seen from this mountaintop looking north.

Located to the south are Blacks beach and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography pier.

This woman and her companions were using one of the most interesting “Wheelchairs” I had ever seen.

I talked to Susan for a few minutes, and she told me that she was a “Guinea Pig” for this particular model, and loved it. And it’s obvious why:

As you can see from the picture–it’s a beach wheelchair. Amazingly, although it took a little bit of effort to get it onto the hill, once there, I was very impressed with its ability to move on the trail.

Its maneuverability was fantastic as opposed to a traditional wheelchair; which for all intents and purposes, would’ve been near impossible to navigate here; it didn’t get stuck in the sand, and easily afforded her the ability to go where she couldn’t have gone in a normal chair.

I love this idea and I know that Susan did, too; because she told me!

As I turned and reached the final corner facing the beach, I suddenly found myself enclosed in a harbor of pines—, glorious and stunning.

Torrey Pines

This pine is probably the remnant of an ancient coastal forest which has been reduced during the drying period of the last ten thousand years to the sandy soils of the sandstone bluffs and ravines of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Santa Rosa Island. Extensive root systems and blankets of summer fog help the Torrey pine survive and thrive. The continuous winds cause the pines to grow twisted and gnarled creating a blanket of shade for the travelers on the trail.

As my Travelin’ Local sojourn takes me back to Los Angeles, I’ll leave you with this picture. The mixture of deadwood and new wildflowers fascinated me.

Buried in the sand together–the visual contrast between the dead pines and the new yellow flowers is quite striking.

For another look at Torrey Pines, be sure to check out Kevin’s recent visit over at his blog, Kevin Oke Photography. He took ordinary sights and converted them to artwork. It’s definitely worth a look.

San Diego, Torrey Pines, and the next place to Travelin’ Local, will always be etched into my memory. But as for reminiscing, I’m already plottin’ and plannin’ my next local cool spot to visit.

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Beaches, Hiking/Walking, Recreation, San Diego

22 Responses to “Torrey Pines, Dolphins, and another day in San Diego”

  1. Lara says:

    Gorgeous. And how cool is that beach wheelchair?

    Lara’s last blog post..Apple blossoms


  2. Kevin says:

    Hi Lisa,

    The photo of the yellow wildflowers is stunning, thanks for sharing it. I remember the first time I saw dolphins and the orcas that we have up here, what a day. They are such graceful animals and seem to enjoy life!

    Thanks for the links to my Torrey Pine images, the area may be busier in the future with all the press we are giving it.

    Kevin’s last blog post..Guest Posts! Are You Interested?


  3. Kim says:

    Oh Lisa.. that second picture I just LOVE.. and that wheel chair is awesome!!

    Kim’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Icy


  4. LisaNewton says:

    @ Lara I thought the beach wheelchair was a great idea. Being able to share the sights with everyone is a great way to go.

    @ Kevin Coming from a professional photographer like you, “stunning” feels fantastic. I sure hope people are going to Torrey Pines due to our influence. It’s a wonderful way to spend a day.

    @ Kim I loved just standing at the top of the hill and enjoying the view.


  5. Marc - WelshScribe says:

    I love Dolphins.

    I so want to just leave my comment at that and sound like Brick Tamland :) But now it’s too late.

    I’ve seen those chairs before, they rock. You won’t believe how difficult it is to get a wheelchair across sand. I want one. Where can I get one?

    Ooh look, a tyre inflater…

    Marc – WelshScribe’s last blog post..A Spiritual Revolution


  6. Diane C. says:

    I would have been excited to see the dolphins too. I had never heard of a beach wheelchair, what a great idea. The last picture is gorgeous. Really enjoyed your Torrey Pines posts. :)

    Diane C.’s last blog post..Cactus Monday #3


  7. David says:

    I was fascinated by the history of the Torrey Pines, and the salt march ecosystems. Excellent research and article.


  8. bikinginla says:

    Before coming to L.A., I lived in San Diego for several years, and spent many days enjoying the breathtaking scenery on top of those bluffs at Torrey Pines.

    When I decided I need to get better at riding hills, I practiced by riding up and down PCH, from that beachfront strip you show in your photo to the top of the hill. My graduation ceremony was climbing the paved road within the park, which remains one of the most challenging and rewarding hills I’ve conquered.

    bikinginla’s last blog post..Today’s post, in which I examine two- and four-wheeled a**holism


  9. Urban Panther says:

    Sigh .. .I LOVE the ocean. Even looking at pics makes me smile. Fortunately, going to Vancouver Island soon, and I plan on spending as much time as possible right on the coast. AND it’s whale season, so hope to see me some real live whales. The BIG ones. Not those silly little minke whales. They don’t count.

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..Feeling a bit sluggish


  10. Stacey / Create a Balances says:

    You have a way of really making me miss California. Things are still brown and dull around here in Chicago (although the flowers are trying to pop up). Thanks for sailing me away to San Diego today.

    Stacey / Create a Balances’s last blog post..Authentic Happiness Series – Part Three (Community)


  11. LisaNewton says:

    @ Mark No flatter tyres here on Travelin’ Local. We believe in smooth sailing……………..:)

    @ Diane C. I was excited to see the dolphins. Almost as excited as I was to see the sea lions in San Diego. I’m amazed each time I see an animal (or mammal) in wild. It’s just something I didn’t see too much of on the East Coast, except for the occasional deer.

    @ David Yes, I’d like to know more about the ecosystem of the salt marsh. The next time I’m there, I might have to go back an investigate a little more.

    @ bikinginla After watching the bikers go up that hill, plus several others, I have a greater appreciation for hill training. I thought you might enjoy this flash from the past:

    @ Urban Panther I hope you have a great holiday on the coast, relaxing by the ocean. Are you planning on taking any pictures?

    @ Stacey You’re very well. Photos have a way of taking us to places we remember, both in mind and spirit………….:)


  12. BellaKarma says:

    Very cool about the beach wheelchair! I hope one day they can be rented at our local state beaches.

    I am so happy you got to see dolphins! We see dolphins all the time in Corona del Mar (and seal lions) – very close to shore! It is always an amazing sight!

    BellaKarma’s last blog post..Beach on the Stix


  13. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach says:

    I visited San Diego, hmmmm, over a decade ago? They had some really fantastic parrot stores if I remember correctly – one had a Hyacinth macaw named ‘Trouble’ who’d walk all over the place inside the building. Whenenver he’s approach, the employees would say, Look! Trouble is coming! :)

    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach’s last blog post..Loving children, hacking vBulletin, Worshiping Coffee and more


  14. Urban Panther says:

    Yes m’am. Lots and lots of of pictures!

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..A full year of testing


  15. Lindsay says:

    Great photos. Really makes me miss my home state!

    Lindsay’s last blog post..Easter Sunday on Assateague Island


  16. LisaNewton says:

    @ BellaKarma That’s a great idea. They have bike rental places all over the beach here, but I don’t recall seeing any beach wheelchairs for rent. It would be a great promotional idea for the beach wheelchair companies.

    @ Barbara That reminds me of one place I used to work. We had an employee who didn’t speak too much english, so whenever someone asked him to do something he would say, “No problem.” Within 3 months, he was voted “Best Employee of the Month.” The power of two words can be very rewarding……..:)

    @ Urban Panther With all of your pictures and your excellent writing skills, would you be interested in doing a guest post for Travelin’ Local?


  17. Urban Panther says:

    Would love to! Will do up something upon our return the first week of May.

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..A full year of testing


  18. LisaNewton says:

    @ Lindsay Thanks. Photos do have a way of being back memories, or helping to create new ones.

    @ Urban Panther Great. I look forward to it…………..:)


  19. Lisa's Chaos says:

    Great walk! I love dolphins! I accidentally saw one in a photo I took while riding the ferry in Corpus. :) Wish I had noticed him when I was snapping! They had some wheelchairs at the Great Sand Dunes with huge wheels like that. :)

    Lisa’s Chaos’s last blog post..Backyard Birding


  20. LisaNewton says:

    @ Lisa’s Chaos I love ferries. I used to take one across the Potomac from Maryland to VA. In some ferries, you’re so close to the water you can almost touch it. Seeing dolphins from a ferry must have been exciting.


  21. Torrey Pines Beach – Up Close and Personal | Travelin' Local says:

    [...] matter whether it’s sojourning to Torrey Pines, walking high at Coldwater Canyon, going for a bicycle ride at Ballona Creek, or checking out the [...]

  22. greg urbano says:

    great shots!
    greg urbano´s last blog ..St Pete Photo Walk My ComLuv Profile


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