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February 19, 2016

Urban Hiking–San Diego’s Persidio Park and Lucy the White Deer

This Friday is a bike n' hike to pay my respects to Lucy the Mission Hills White Deer buried in the upper reaches of Presidio Park at Inspiration Point.

It’s an easy bike ride thru Mission Bay to Old Town State Historic Park where the hike begins behind the Blacksmith Shop.
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On the grounds of the Blacksmith Shop there is a living re-enactment of early life in Old Town.  This is done only on the 4th Saturday of the month and well worth a stop.

Cross Juan Street and pick up the Presidio Trail on the back side of what has to be the world’s smallest 18-hole course!
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Beyond the golf course the trail begins a steep climb up a series of steps.
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The trail leads up to the Presidio with statues of Father Serra, a memorial cross and that of a Kumeyaay Indian representing the tribe he came to love.  It’s easy to forget this is not Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, the 1st of the 9 mission Father Serra would establish.  Mission de Alcala is located in Mission Valley just east of Qualcomm Stadium.
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The Serra Museum is staffed by volunteers and is open only on Saturday and Sunday.  I do not work on Friday and like to hike then on the less crowded trails.  The museum is a worthwhile stop, be sure to climb the stairs to the top of the tower for some great views.
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Altho the view from the walkway is not bad, it is spectacular from the top.  This old wine press is a gift from Petra on the island of Mallorca where Father Serra was born.
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Continuing on up past the Serra Museum I stumbled on this geo cache.  Obviously in memory of someone.  No notes in the cache to indicate who, just the usual signature sheet and trinkets.
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Flowers abound in the canyon that separates The Arbor from Inspiration Point.
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The trail from The Arbor to Inspiration Point is easy find at the restrooms.  Altho not marked it is obvious, wide and well maintained.
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I was not alone on this section.  A lazy squirrel sunning himself on a prickly pear cactus and another enjoying an acorn.
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Finally the destination is reached, Inspiration Point!  Altho I have seen this area dressed up for weddings and special events.  I’ve seldom seen anyone in the open spaces beyond parking lot and picnic area.  Yes there is a parking lot I could have driven here!
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The monument site of Lucy the White Deer of Mission Hills.  Lucy roamed this area freely between 1965 and 1975.  A white fallow deer said to have escaped from the San Diego Zoo, altho the zoo denies it was missing any.  Still Lucy was a cherished resident of Presidio Park and Mission Hills for a decade.
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Local residents put up this memorial watering hole with the tracks of Lucy and her friends.  And yes Lucy is buried beneath.
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I followed the same route back to The Arbor, but then a brief detour for the historical markers for Fort Stockton and that of the Mormon Battalion.
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That’s Old Town below with the golf course as I rejoin the original trail.  Why hike on Friday?  When was the last time you had the Old Town Square to yourself? 
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Can’t decide between a beer or a Margarita?  Try Barra Barra, a Margarita with a beer chaser all in the same glass.
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If you chose to extend your visit to Old Town to include the Serra Museum, do it on a Saturday … preferably the 4th Saturday to check out the displays and music at the Blacksmith.  One of my best highschool friends ‘the Fiddlin’ Friar’ plays the fiddle there.

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