Mission Trails Nature Walk

Join me for three minutes, walking through Mission Trails in San Diego. I’m just learning the video thing so bear with me. It’s a perfect place to get back to nature, be mindful and just enjoy a nice afternoon walk. All just minutes from the chaos of the city of San Diego. I hope you enjoy it.

The Getty Center

My Prince Charming husband and I went to the Getty Center the other day to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I love this museum. It’s one of the best in the world and for good reason. There is world famous art, eye catching architecture, manicured gardens and deletable dining all in one place, and it’s free to get in! What could be better?

The day we went, there was a Peter Paul Rubens exhibit in town and it was, in a word, spectacular.
In fact it is appropriately named ‘Spectacular Rubens: The Triumph Of The Eucharist.’

I was truly overwhelmed by this exhibit. If you get the free iPod guided tour you learn a great deal about the art and artists. In this case I learned that just one of these tapestries would take four master skilled weavers over eight years to complete!

Here are some images I took of the day. I was not allowed to photograph in the Rubens exhibit so click on the link to see some of the exhibit images. However, take my word for it, the pictures do not do the majesty of this art justice.

You can read my entire review on Tripadvisor, but here I wanted to give you more of a visual reason to go to this wonderful museum.


Getty Center Museum  First view of The GettySoft fuzzy leaves Red Flower Purple flowers at the Getty Spiny and soft Pretty butterfly leaf plant at the Getty Plant that looks like silvery green lame Overlooking the Getty gardens Lovely flowers at the Getty Los Angeles Looking into the tree Look dangerous but they aren't Leaves decorated with Fall Getty Staircase Getty manicured gardens Getty in the Fall Getty from the garden Getty behind the garden Gardens at the Getty Fall leaves in the Getty garden Colors of Fall at the Getty Colorful leaves in the Getty garden Curly purple flower at the Getty Close up of flower maze Butterfly leaves Getty flower tree Getty fountain and maze Getty Center and gardenBoy with frog sculpture at the Getty Grand Getty architecture Getty Museum Getty grounds

James Dean And A Country Drive


On a drive through California’s San Joaquin Valley, on our way to Monterey, my Prince Charming husband and I drove through miles of farmland growing every crop imaginable. Traveling west on Route 46, ahead of us we could see the soft rolling hills that border the western edge of the valley. There were horses, grazing cattle and nut trees as far as the eye could see. We were passing out of the bread basket of California and into the beautiful vineyard country of the central coast. In typical fashion for farming country, we passed several signs inviting us to a country store and gas station offering edible treasures from the surrounding area. My husband read one of them, “Pistachio Almond Bark.” “Let’s go in”, I said, thinking that sounded good. Besides, I love these kinds of country stores with homemade yummies.


Turning into the parking lot, we passed a towering cut out figure of James Dean in rolled up blue jeans and t-shirt, his hand pointing us in the direction we should go. Inside we were greeted by a vast array of plastic bags of flavored nuts; honey almonds, maple cashews, jalapeño pistachios and a hundred others lining the aisles. There were jars of jams, jellies, syrups and other delectables, everything made from the bounty of the land around us.

The walls were covered with pictures, posters and artists renditions of the famed actor James Dean. I initially thought they were there because of the charming 1950’s style diner in the back corner of the store. The real reason though was one my Prince Charming husband was about to discover. As I was busy photographing an interesting truck display in the center of the store that I was so enamored with, my husband interrupted me and called me over to him. Holding up one of the jars of preserves, he showed me the label on the front of all the jars on the numerous shelves. It said ‘Blackwells Corner. James Dean’s Last Stop.’

JD3    JD4 JD5    JD6

Having chosen our yummy selections; a jalapeño honey mustard, two jalapeño preserves, some almonds and pistachios, I asked the young man at the register what it meant by ‘James Dean’s Last Stop’. He informed us that the legendary actor’s tragic auto accident happened about 25 miles up the road, in Cholame, and while passing through he stopped in this very truckstop. Perhaps he wanted a cup of coffee, a sandwich or some of the wonderful nuts, just like we were buying now. It was approaching sunset as we left with our goodies and we continued up the hills toward the spot where the acclaimed actor lost his young life. As we passed the junction of highway 46 and 41 we saw it was marked by a small official looking sign that reads ‘James Dean Memorial Junction’.

On September 30, 1955, James Dean was on his way to an auto rally in Salinas, California with his friend and mechanic, Rolf Wuetherich. Unfortunately they would never make their destination. At the junction of Highway 466 (now State Route 46) and Highway 41, shortly before sunset, a vehicle turning left didn’t see the silver Porsche coming toward him until it was too late. The Porsche rammed into the Ford, the small sports car torn through like tin foil. Sustaining fatal injuries including near decapitation, James Dean, the actor who was astonishingly talented, and achingly beautiful, was gone forever.


About 900 yards from the accident site on Route 46 there’s a tree called ‘The Tree Of Heaven’ where a memorial for the actor still stands today 59 years later. There’s a quote from a dear friend and an epitaph. On the epitaph it says, ‘Death in youth is life that glows eternal.’ Appropriate, since his legacy still lives on. It’s a lovely, simple tribute to a man who made a huge impact in only 24 short years on this earth.

JD9    JD13

James Dean only completed three films in his life as the lead, two of which were released after his death. All three are classics and must-see viewing for movie lovers. He is, to this day, the only actor to earn two Academy Award Oscar nominations after his death, none in his lifetime.

We continued on the road James Dean would have driven, had he lived, thankful to enjoy the pastoral drive through Paso Robles, admiring all the wineries that beautify the landscape. We talked about the actor, films, young lives cut short and, of course, we drove very carefully.


My husband and I, being the classic movie lovers we are, had always heard about how James Dean died but never really knew any details or even where it happened. We were simply driving to our destination for an art show I was participating in. We had no idea that we were about to stumble upon a bit of film history, however sad it was. That is what I love most about traveling. Whether it is around the world or just around the next bend, you never know what amazing things you might discover.

James Dean

Great hike…Santa Margarita Trail

I know I said yesterday that we were going on a new hike that was a 6 mile round trip. But…

I think it ended up being closer to 8 miles. To be honest, I have no idea.

We got in there and it was truly beautiful, but the storm and heavy rains that we had a few days earlier left their mark.

Trees were down and parts of the trail in numerous places were washed away, to a point where we couldn’t figure out where we were supposed to go.

We ended up going down part of a trail and ending up at a dead end or impassable spot. Then we would head back and ultimately ended up hiking for well over 4 hours.

By the time we found our car again, I was completely exhausted.

Here are the pictures I took. I hope, as usual that you enjoy them.

It was a wonderful hike and really gorgeous out there. Quiet, peaceful and although exhausting…fabulous!



Fun Hike…but looooong!

Yesterday’s hike was so amazing, we made it all the way up to what they call ‘The Saddle’.
It’s where the trail head of each trail meets at the top and you can choose numerous other trails to go onto from there.
It took us over 3 hours to reach the top! Whew! My legs were shaking so badly, I was fatigued and could barely lift my feet up to heave them over obstacles like rocks or logs on the trail. But to be honest, it was completely worth it. The views, the peaceful silence, but also the satisfaction of doing it made it all worth it.

I had tons of fun playing with my new lenses. Unfortunately, I was playing so much, I ran out of battery, so there aren’t nearly as many images here as I had planned on or wanted to take. I’ll have to take them for you next time.

The most fun I had was using the Macro lens and taking pictures of the bark. I think those images on this hike are my favorites.

Once we reached our car, I realized that I finally understood marathon runners. I’ve heard runners say that finishing is important and that the next time they did the race they would work to improve their time. I felt the same way. I was overwhelmed and truly proud of myself that I made it all the way to ‘The Saddle’. I also told myself that next time, I would work harder to get up to the top faster and in less time.

Can’t wait for next time!

View Of The Rock

Curling BarkI love the way the bark looks like it curls around the tree.

Sunlit Trees

Gorgeous Rocks

Suicide RockSuicide Rock

Devils Slide Trail

Devils Slide Trail View

View from Devils Slide

Bark 24I LOVED the bark! Gorgeous!

Bark 23

Bark 22

Bark 21

Bark 20

Bark 19

Bark 18


Bark 17

Bark 16

Bark 15

Bark 14

The SaddleThe Saddle

Bark 13

Bark 12

Bark 11

Rocks On Trail

Bark 10

Beautiful RocksThis rock formation was so colorful and they way it was stacked up it looked like a bowl of ice cream to me.

Bark 9

Bark 8

Bark 7

Bark 6

Bark 5

Bark 4

Bark 3

Bark 2

Bark 1

The Dragon

Doesn’t this tree root kind of resemble a dragon?

Can you see it?


My Prince

My Prince Charming husband at ‘The Saddle’.

Walk on the beach

Sometimes a walk on the beach, a good sunset and a surprise are all you need to put your spirits in the place they should be.

Last Light Over Point Loma

I met with a friend the other day and she and I talked about the things going on in our lives.

Everyday we have the choice to be happy, make the best of things and keep trying. Or give up and be miserable.

I choose happy. So I took a drive and traveled over to the beach for a nice long walk. I watched the sun set and create a perfect and beautiful ending to my day.

Here are some images I took with my phone.


The End Of The Day

Sunset Sky Coronado Sunset

Beach Sunset On Coronado


Walking over toward the gorgeous Hotel del Coronado, I was greeted with the most wonderful surprise!

Hotel del Coronado 3 Hotel del Coronado 1 Hotel del Coronado 2

The San Castle Man was hard at work that evening creating masterpieces.

TheSandCastleMan.com thesandcastleman.com

Spectacular aren’t they? Just like we are.

All we have to do is smile, keep trying and remember that no matter what we try to do or accomplish, although it won’t be easy, quick or free, the effort will be worth it.

Finding Treasures

While in Carslbad, California the other day with my friend we found a really amazing place.

The Leo Carrillo Ranch.

Have you ever been there?

Do you remember Leo Carrillo?

He played in the show The Cisco Kid as ‘Pancho’ in the early 1950’s.

When he wanted to escape Los Angeles, relax and spend time with his family, he retreated to the ranch in Carlsbad.

It’s a lovely area covered with adobe structures he built with his family to live in.

The grounds have peacocks walking around everywhere.

It’s quiet, peaceful and I could see how Leo would have loved it our there.

I did.

We walked around for quite a while.

We enjoyed watching the birds strut around, feeling the breeze in the trees and just took in the general quiet and peacefulness of the area.

Here are some images I took from that day.

I hope (as usual) that you enjoy them.

As a side note, if you’re in Southern California, in the summer they have movies outside on this lovely ranch.

Bring a picnic and a bottle of wine. Sit under the stars and watch an old classic movie. For Free!

Can you think of any better way to spend a lovely summer night?

Check the website in July for the schedule.

Mountaintop Inspiration

Hiking to the top of Iron Mountain was much harder than I thought it would be, but once at the top I found something that inspired me and made me glad I put in the effort.

Wanting to push ourselves a little, my Prince Charming husband and I decided that a longer, more difficult hike was in order. We had plenty of time and chose Iron Mountain, near Poway, California. At the trailhead we were greeted by a beautiful iron sign spelling out our destination and decoratively adorned with mountains and trees. It gave me a feeling that this wouldn’t be too difficult. I looked beyond the sign feeling like I could tackle this six and a half mile trek. ‘I’m strong enough’, I thought.

Iron Mountain with Sign

The beginning of the trail is quite attractive with trees on both sides that come together overhead to make an arch of leaves. Walking through the canopy of nature made me feel one with the path. The wide path was easy and inviting; flat, smooth and stable. At first, our ascent seemed slow and almost unnoticeable, but I knew we were climbing by the way I was breathing. Passing boulders, large and small, and rock formations that created a kind of desert art, we passed the one mile mark and I was still going strong.

As we continued up, through switchbacks and increasingly rougher terrain, my breathing became steadily more and more labored. At the two and half mile mark I was really feeling it. Once I passed three miles, it became the longest hike I’d ever done. I told myself to breath, take it slow: one step at a time.

Reaching the top I had already hiked further than the entire trail on Cowles Mountain and I still had to go back down. Three more miles to go. I tried not to think about it and concentrated on the sweeping views. It wasn’t hard to focus my attention because there was something spectacular to see in every direction. Point Loma was being illuminated by the golden rays of the sun beginning it’s slow descent over the sea. Mountains and rocks were everywhere with their shadows deepening on the hillsides. As it turns out, being surrounded by natural beauty is quite peaceful. Although I was aching, it was worth it. Clearly many other people thought so too, because there were quite a few up there enjoying the panorama with us.

At this point I found I needed to sit down and get some sustenance; a little bread dipped in olive oil with balsamic vinegar and an apple. We searched for a place to sit by ourselves and discovered several large boulders upon which to rest and enjoy our picnic. Making our way over there, I saw a small wooden box nestled at the base of the rocks. My eyes lit up with excitement thinking it was one of those scavenger hunt games that anyone can play. It wasn’t. It was so much more than that. I picked up the box from it’s hidden location and started to peek inside, but hesitated, afraid I might be greeted by the remains of a loved one or an adored pet. I didn’t find ashes or anything decomposing, instead it was filled with pieces of paper, on each of them was a picture, all of them men. Along with the photograph was the person’s name, when he was born, a description of his military service and also how he died serving his country. It was a memorial of sorts. Had friends or family written up the small epitaphs and hiked them up to leave them at the top? A small way for them to once again be together? Perhaps this was a hike they loved, laughed and conversed on. I read these small tokens of love and felt sadness and joy all at the same time. Sadness for the loss, and joy because someone loved them enough to bring them up to this beautiful, quiet place to forever enjoy the beauty and peacefulness.

Treasure Box

Reverently putting the box away, carefully making sure the lid was secure so the elements could not damage the contents, I tucked it back between the rocks and got ready to make my descent down the mountain. The air temperature was dropping so I needed to get moving. Being asthmatic, my lungs have difficulty when the air is too cold. As I began walking I thought about those men and I felt honored to have found that box. Perhaps I was destined to see it and find inspiration in it.

Finding it difficult to breath, I continued down the path. By the time I had gone about three fourths of the way down my muscles were screaming obscenities at me. Everything in me was either burning or aching. Despite the resistance my body was giving me, I pushed on. Reaching the car and taking a few minutes to stretch out, I felt a sense of real satisfaction. I had done a 6 ½ mile hike and I did it in less than three hours. Not bad. My training was indeed coming along nicely. Although I was sure I was going to be sore tomorrow, that idea was just fine by me, because that would mean that I was alive and have been given the gift of another day. There would be breath in my body and the opportunity to live and love. An opportunity the men in that box no longer have.

We drove away from the mountain, toward the ocean watching the sun fall into the sea and I thought, ‘I am grateful’.

Unexpected day in Julian

Yesterday in Julian it was bitter cold and I was definitely under dressed for the weather.

Also, the town was so crowded that it took over an hour to get something to eat, and the shops had so many people in them I couldn’t get into many of them.

Great for those businesses, but not so great for me.

I decided to leave.

However, all was not lost.

The day ended up being good for my health after everything because I just enjoyed the day. I tried not to think about my struggles or the pain in my neck. Or anything else that worries me right now.

I just left the town and drove here and there and found lots of places along the way back to stop and enjoy the view.

I also found a few wonderful things to photograph.

Hope you enjoy them.

Enjoy your day!

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