Torrey Pines Walk About

Being a tourist in your own town

Event Report 20121106

Back to Bill Caid's Home Page

The Experience

We had just gotten back from 2 weeks in the Caribbean and to be honest after sitting around for a few days, I was feeling antsy.  So, Kathleen and I headed out to Torrey Pines Reserve on the coast just north of La Jolla.  Being election day, we completed voting and had lunch at the local Italian restaurant.  From there, we headed to the beach for a walk down the cliffs.

The photos below are what we saw.

We parked at the Torrey Pines golf course and headed north along the trail.  This area is on the flight path for MCAS Miramar and therefore we expected to see many military aircraft on a path to a landing at Miramar.  Above is an Osprey which is a hybrid aircraft that can land like a helicopter.  In the photos above, the wings and engines are rotated to allow slow flight.  For landing, they are positioned vertically and for normal flight they are horizontal.

We got our first view of the Torrey Pines along with one of the trail junkies that use the trail every day for exercise.

The main trail uses the old highway.  The gal on the right with the black outfit is actually in a work suit with tennis shoes.  She too uses the trail down the hill every day at lunch.  There were runners and mountain bikers as well using the trail.

From the crest of the hill we could see into Sorrento Valley and got a view of SR-56 and I-5.  This is yet-another monument to the automobile here in SoCal.  In the distance you can see Carmel Highlands.  The locals that live there like to call it Del Mar, but it is a case of developer-based zip-code creep.  Del Mar ends at I-5 and anybody that lives to the east of I-5 lives in another town, despite what they will want you to believe.  The fact is that claiming you live in Del Mar adds several hundred thousand dollars to the value of your home.  That is the reason that I claim I live in "La Jolla East" when it is really North Clairemont.

To the north east you could see into the high rent district of Rancho Santa Fe and to the hills beyond.

The cliffs at Torrey Pines come in segments.  This is the upper segment and consists of the softest material.

The soft material of the upper layers produce interesting erosion patterns similar to the formations in southern Utah.

The world-class golf course at Torrey Pines is visible at the crest of the hill.

A zoom shot of the erosion patterns reveals intricate details.

The younger and smaller Torrey Pines look quite scraggly.

Because we were on the flight path for MCAS Miramar, we had multiple fly-overs, this one was a CH-53 or whatever the Marines call it these days.  Note the outboard fuel tanks, refueling spear on the front and the IR camera on the front spar.

The area around San Diego is a desert despite what folks might tell you.  The presence of the Prickly Pear cactus attests to the dryness that we typically suffer.

We got a view of the cliffs next to the ocean.  Stairs of one of the Torrey Pines trails is also visible.

To the south, barely visible through the haze was the Scripps Institute pier north of La Jolla.

Flights of pelicans were working the waves near the beach.

The headlands of the cliff were quite imposing but the edges visible at the left of the photograph above were still 100 feet above the water.

The pelicans worked the air currents coming off the breaking waves to minimize their flying efforts.  They are masters of this technique which utilizes the "wing-in-ground" effect when they fly close to the water to increase their lift.

Finally a clear view of the surf.

There were flight after flight of pelicans working the air currents coming off the waves.

Note the eroded hole in the cliff.

There were a number of interesting shapes that had eroded into the coastal formations.  This alcove showed evidence of included cobbles in the formation.

Near the bottom of the cliff, I spotted this fossilized root in the cliff.  The root had penetrated into the sand and then rotted out leaving a tube.  The sand turned into sandstone and was then eroded thereby exposing the root tube.  Quite cool and visible to anybody that took the time to consider what they were seeing.

The bottom pitch of the cliff had metal stairs because the surf turns anything else into mush after a year or so.

The cliffs were steep, but quite unstable.  Spalls and rock slides occur here all the time, sometimes taking lives with them.

To the north the signs of collapse of the cliffs are evident.  The large boulders on the beach came from a collapse of the cliff.  In the distance, you can see the homes on the cliffs of Del Mar.

There was plenty of sea weed that washed up on the shore.  Kelp is the predominant type of weed off the coast and the detritus produced complex tangles of material when it hit the shore.  Note the bulbs in the kelp that help keep the strands floating near the surface to gather sunlight.

The upper portions of the cliff had interesting erosion patterns in the cliff face.

The sign says it all; there are folks killed here along the cliffs of Torrey Pines every year.  They put their towels near the cliff and the cliff slumps and that is that.  They are buried alive or dead depending on whether the slide kills them on impact.

The tide was starting to come in and the waves were pounding against the cliffs.  Note the warp in the strata near the cliff face.

OK, so I admit that I am somewhat of a voyeur.  But, after a week on a cruise ship looking at fantastically-fat-asses, this gal looked pretty good to me.  All I can say is "It is good to be back home".

When she finally turned around to face me, it was not disappointing.  Indeed, quite the contrary.  Her red-headed buddy looks pretty tasty as well.  These two made my afternoon.

I had to snicker a bit when the two of them started dancing in the surf.  Ah, to be young again.

To the south, the path along the beach actually went onto the cliff.  Note the trench that the gal is walking in.  This trough was worn by the action of hikers on the rocks.

A crop-of-a-zoom view of the fishing boat that was working off the coast.  I am assuming that he is returning home to Oceanside or Dana Point since he is heading north.

Torrey Pines State Reserve is an awesome place and a favorite with the locals looking for an interesting hike with great views.  If you are in the area, you must check it out.

Back to Bill Caid's Home Page

Copyright Bill Caid 2012.  All rights reserved.