NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Go With the Flow?

I tried a couple of times to get to Torrey Pines State Reserve for a hike, but getting a parking space along the highway seemed like a delicate operation and the price to pay to park in the lot was $20.

But I did eventually snag a space on a quiet morning and make my way along the beach toward the cliffs.  I knew there were hiking trails up there, but was unable to find a guide on my phone.  You can hit the link I've provided to avoid having the same problem!

I didn't see a path or any signs, so down the beach I continued, happy to admire the view.  People kept coming down the beach toward me so I figured I must be heading in the right direction.

The tide was a little high, so I wasn't able to search out critters, but I did spot shells in the sandstone.

And the colors in the stone mixed with the sea vegetation made for a nice shot.

Lo and behold, a staircase suddenly appeared! And everyone was coming down...not going up.  Yep, I was apparently doing the hike in reverse instead of going with the flow.  Oh well, never one to do what everyone else does anyway it did not bother me at all.  Most folks park where I did but then hike up the actual driving road to the top to avoid paying the exhorbitant parking fee.

I did make sure to turn around often to see the view everyone else was getting as they meandered downward instead of upward.  I was just in time to see this fool jumping over the roped off area right next to the sign telling him to do no such thing.

I guess he wasn't worried about the $400 fine.  Or the park workers who were about 500 feet away working on the trail.  Erosion, and in particular off-trail hiking, can damage sensitive natural features beyond repair which is something I guess he doesn't care too much about.

I had spent enough money getting to San Diego, I didn't need to run up my tab any higher so I was content to get my photographs from the correct side of the markers.

cactus blossom

The California Ground Squirrel didn't mind breaking the rules to eat his snack, but I don't blame him for staying off the trail as it was nothing but a conga line of humans.

There were a couple of spur trails out to the head of the cliffs, but since I had just had the up close and personal view of the beach I skipped those and continued my gentle upward climb.

Yucca Point...I think

There was some vegetation on the sandy headland, including this cheerful plant that I think is the Lanceleaf Liveforever which is a succulent.

Dudleya lanceolata

And finally I saw the Torrey Pine, which is our nation’s rarest pine tree.  In 1769, the Portola-Serra Sacred Expedition passed through nearby Sorrento Valley on its way from San Diego to colonize Monterey and establish missions along the way. The trail they used is referred to as El Camino Real. The trees themselves were referred to as Soledad Pines (Solitary Pines). The name remained until 1850.

Pinus torreyana

It was “officially” discovered by Dr. Charles Christopher Parry. This was the year that California became a State of the Union and Parry was in San Diego as botanist for the US-Mexico Boundary Survey. Parry was a medical doctor with an interest in botany: specifically, why plants grew where they did and how Indians used plants. Parry named the tree for his mentor, Dr. John Torrey, of New York.  Personally I prefer Soledad Pine but I'm sure the native Kumeyaay had a name for it as well and notice the Torrey Pines website had no information on what that might have been...

Yes, a few fools were running even though it starting to be very hot as it was almost noon

I didn't have time to hunt it down but here is some great information from Mike Connolly on their website: Prior to European contact, the Kumeyaay lived in Sh’mulq (clan) territories with summer and winter village sites. Territory was not defined in the same manner as the Europeans, who viewed all resources on the land as "property" of the landowner. A hunter tracking big game may travel through many Sh’mulq territories without trouble. 

Trade routes were used for communication. Runners could relay important information over great distances in relatively short time. When the Quechan at Yuma rebelled against the Spanish in 1780, the news reached the Kumeyaay at the Mission in San Diego that same evening, a distance of 120 miles. Astronomy was an important tool to time when plants could be harvested or when burns should take place. The calendar was probably used to determine when the Sh’mulq should move to winter or summer camp.

Visitor Center at end of trail - from there head down road to beach.
A few other trails of interest spur off road including pine groves.

From coastal marshes to mountain wetlands, the Kumeyaay practiced a sophisticated form of environmental management. Fire was certainly the greatest tool used by the Kumeyaay and other tribes in California. Fire opened up land covered with the dominant chaparral. This allowed the transitional plants useful for foods and medicines to become available. The opening in the chaparral canopy attracted game animals used for food, clothing and utilities. In the drier areas approaching the desert, drainages were dammed using rocks and brush to trap sediment. This helped to raise the water table and allowed the creation of wetlands.

Imagine that, the native population was practicing land management then in the way that we are "discovering" is the best way now! Sorry for the sarcasm there, I really couldn't help myself.  Next time I go out to San Diego I will have to seek out some tribal destinations to explore.  And the list of the things I want to learn continues to grow, as usual!

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