Diego Extreme City Day Hike
is the third in a series of articles about walking from your
home in a highly populated area. Pt Loma to Oceanside is an 11-hour
39-mile marathon kept interesting by the bay, beaches, and bustle
of activity along the scenic coast -line and historic
Highway 101 in the San Diego area. During
March 2001, I walked this twice (returned by car) as a training
hike for the 100km one day hike along
the Potomac River starting in Washington DC on May 5, 2001.
a neat hike! I couldnt
seem to interest my other 50-something friends to join me. Something about sleeping in, something about an
are you nuts? So come along and let me
share with you some comments and hyperlinks about this walk up
the Pacific coast.
with the other city hikes, a predawn departure (4am)
on a Sunday mornings gets the hike off on the right foot
virtually no traffic except for a few fishermen driving to the
docks and previous night revelers crawling home.
the Pt Loma Peninsula is by crossing over the San Diego River,
also quaintly known as a flood control channel
hard pressed to find a river in Southern California. Bird watching is good in the
channel, but not at 5am. The
second hour, finds Shamu snoring as Sea
World is passed in predawn light, and the path around east
Mission Bay is followed. The
third hour traverses Rose Canyon parallel to Interstate 5 on
a road to La Jolla. A gradual slope is climbed on
part of the old Highway 101, now disguised as a condominium-lined
Gilman Dr., and then continuing on a walking path through the
an interesting side trip or parallel path to Torrey Pines State
Beach, go west of the campus to La Jolla Farms Road and Blackgold
Rd for a quick stroll by $5,000,000+ homes in one of La Jolla's
most exclusive neighborhoods. Another
option is to go a little further north and walk to the Torrey Pines Gliderport. From
either Blackgold Rd or the Gliderport there is access to the Blacks
Beach, known for surfing and optional swim suits. From Blacks Beach, its about 2 miles to Torrey
Pines State Beach.
continue on to North Torrey Pines Rd, with Scripps Clinic on
the left and a sizable presence of high technology companies
on the right. Also,
on the left is the highly rated Torrey Pines Golf Course , which is crowded. Its a public course, first
come first serve. Golfers sleep in their cars to
get tee times. I feel better knowing they got
up earlier than me today. Each to his own irrationality.
5 is spent dropping back down to beach level through the Torrey Pines State Reserve on a trail filled with
many joggers on Sunday morning. Sea
level is reached again on the to Torrey
Pines State Beach and the Pacific Coast Highway is intersected. With fast moving traffic, walking
on the highway is not recommended. The
good news is very little of it requires walking on the PCH. Walking
on the beach from Torrey Pines State Beach to Del Mar is a good
option, but cannot be done at high tide.
halfway point to Oceanside is Del Mar, just north of La Jolla
is another upscale, possibly eccentric, small community. Local folklore has it the
Del Mar City Council in 1989 declared the city a "nuclear-weapons-free
zone. As I walked through this fine community Im pleased to
affirm there were no mushroom clouds so it must be working. And
radiation is low as the horses are running fine at the Del
Mar racetrack, where the surf meets the turf.
on north the still upscale, but slightly less (La Jolla is ground
for upscale-ness on the coast, with communities south and north
a tad less) is Solana
Beach, great cliffs and restaurants. Highway
101 shopping is best here. Passing
by antiques stores, Adventure
16 (good hiking stuff), my favorite stop on the extreme day
hike tour is the smoothie drink place. At
seven hours into this super hike this where I sit down for about
10 minutes, and enjoy a protein/carbo/bee pollen/vitamin-enriched
fruit drink. But
time is of the essence (why, Im not sure) so I move on
sipping and walking with the next big decision to find a place
to dump the empty cup. Between
Solana Beach and Encinitas there is Cardiff-by-the-Sea, a nice, small beachside community
that has a restaurant called the Beach House with a good trashcan. Nearby
Elijo State Beach, one of the best places to surf and
camp on the Pacific Ocean. Its
also a great place to walk through the campground to stay off
Encinitas, another great beach community, has an
entrance demarked by mid- eastern domes of Swamis Self-Realization
Fellowship Center's bluff-top gardens where Meditation and Enlightenment
is practiced. Moving
quickly past its entrance, I find walking 11 hours in one day
is enough meditation and enlightenment for one day.
Leucadia is right out of the 1950s with its
motels, diners, shops and no web site. The
walking path is on the fast moving highway at the north end,
but tranquility is soon returned by traversing the third state
park along this walk, South
Carlsbad State Park.
Carlsbad, bordered by two lagoons with one in the
middle, has another very visible landmark: the
400-foot stack of the electric power generating plant (formally
owned by SDG&E, and now owned an independent operator making
lots of money). As
a hiker, the small blip of the stack from La Jolla is a reminder
of the large distance to be covered. Once
past the Agua
Hedionda lagoon (the middle one), its best to
walk on the beach again for the remaining of the walk to Oceanside. But
the Buena Vista lagoon, depending on the tide, may force you
to either get wet, or retreat to the 101 Highway, called Carlsbad
Blvd/S. Coast Hwy, to get into Oceanside
for this super walk is to take a long walk on the Oceanside pier, the longest wooden pier on the west coast. Have
a celebratory meal at Rubys
Diner out at the end.
beach towns, many miles, many sites, many attractions
101 never looked so good.
Give all or
part of it a try!
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