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January 28, 2017

San Elijo Lagoon–Annie’s Trail and Canyon

Last February I blogged of hiking to the Solana Beach Sand Canyons.   For a very long time this area was known as the ‘Mushroom Caves’ and/or the ‘Sand Canyons’.  The area was dangerous and closed to the public, even when I ventured in last year, with Dave, my local guide.  That only kept out the less adventurous, certainly not the local artists, nor Dave and I.

Thanks to generous donations trail restoration and graffiti removal was completed in June 2016.  The trail is named Annie’s Canyon Trail to honor of ‘Annie’, a long time supporter of the conservancy, but the carvings into the fragile sandstone could not be completely removed.  Today seemed like a good day to revisit.

After checking the San Diego County Parks website to ensure there were no trail closures, there were none listed. I planned to enter from the Solana Hills trailhead, hiking thru Annie’s Canyon and beyond.  Alas Solana Hills trailhead is closed!  The North Rios trailhead is open, so we’ll start from there.
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The trail is wide and well maintained.  There is a lot of native vegetation being planted along the trail and at the entrance to the canyon.
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The one-way loop thru the canyon is not near as strenuous!  HA! The graffiti has been removed, but hand holds, steps and even a ladder have been added.  Still there are indeed some very narrow passages and difficult sections.  This hike remains best done with a partner.

The canyon narrows quickly from the opening.  The slot canyons to the sides remain closed with friendly ‘I live here’ signs.
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Altho the spray paint artwork has been removed the carvings into the soft sandstone can still be seen.  And where Dave and I had to wedge ourselves into the slot there is now a ladder!  Well that first rung is over 3’ from the closest decent foothold.
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The views from the top today were awesome!  No wind and clear sky made for deep colors in the lagoon.
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To the east the trail continues under I-5 the La Orilla (the shore) trailhead.  That would make this a 6 mile loop, but the rest would be level.
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But La Orilla trail is closed as is Santa Carina that we would need!  ARG – this should have been on the website!
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As we return to the Rios trailhead we take our time to follow the shore of the lagoon.  There’s more bird watching to be done and new benches to enjoy the birds and the views.
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Unable to hike to the north side of the lagoon, I decide to drive us there … it’s not really cheating when the trails are closed Smile

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Next up replace the blown duct!

I remain committed to having a sticks'n'stucco  house in San Diego, but finding out this is why there’s no heat makes me wonder!  A blown 9” duct that feeds the downstairs bedrooms and bath.  I simply taped it off while waiting for some 9” flex duct from Home Depot.  At least the rest of the house can now have some heat.
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I'll close with a request for support for Lynne B. who publishes WinieViews, an awesome blog of her travels as a naturalist, photographer, adventurer, volunteer in the US and Mexico.  Her post 'Life turns to a new direction' carries disappointing news from a fellow blogger.  Prayers for a speedy recovery Lynne!

January 21, 2017

Chicano Park – Urban Stroll San Diego

Below the Coronado Bay Bridge the state of California decided to build office buildings.  A passive sit-in by the local residents of Barrio Logan, students and concerned citizens halted that construction.   The birth of Chicano Park was secured, a relatively small park, but such a beautiful and interesting entrance to Barrio Logan.
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The ~8 acres has become a member of the National Register of Historic Places and listed in the registry February 1, 2013.  With the signature of President Obama on January 11, 2017 Chicano Park is now designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Our custom is to bike into the downtown area, with the ride starting at Spanish Landing, where a replica of Juan Cabrillo’s  San Salvador was built, and follow the bike path past the Convention Center, on to  surface streets to Chicano Park ~12mi RT.  However with the Women’s March downtown, the unpredictable rain and wind today we decided to drive.

As I was putting this together Suzanne of Take to the Highway posted a very appropriate take on her travel in rural Mexico and its daily life.

The first question is “What is a Chicano?”  The typical urban definition is an American citizen of Mexican heritage.  However it has taken on a much broader meaning to represent an ideology as shown in the murals in the park depicting La Raza as the Chicano Race.

The Birth of la Raza – The Race
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Neighborhood Yes Junkyards No!
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Throughout the park the mythical Aztlan, the homeland of the Aztec nation, is represented. 
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The Founder’s Wall includes portraits of famous Spanish, South American and Mexican figures.  Including images of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the Axtec swastika, so there is some controversy about the murals. 
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In fact Che has his own pillar, as does artist Frida Kahlo.  “I tried to drown my deamons, but the bastards learned to swim …” ~Frida Kahlo
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The famous quote by Emilliano Zapata: “It’s Preferable to Die on Your Feet … Than Live on Your Knees”.  Raza Si, Migra No – is a call to accept The Race (Chicanos) and a protest against Migra (Immigration/Homeland Security) raids/deportation.  A very strong mural.
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Cesar Chavez (top left) led the farm workers movement in SoCal
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The community would like to eventually extend the murals under the Coronado Bridge the remaining distance to San Diego Bay.
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For a more complete list of the murals and their meanings visit the Murals page on the Chicano Park Website.
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The best known place for lunch in the Barrio is Las Cuatro Mipas (The Four Cornfields) with a continual line out the door.  Fresh hand made tortillas and the same limited menu since 1933.
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The San Diego Central Library is a huge dome structure near the south east corner of PetCo Park.  Parking is validated for the first 2 hrs.  We’ve been wanting to look it over.

The kids section is convenient on the 1st of 9 levels.  The 2nd and 3rd levels are via escalator.
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There are literally hundreds of computer stations for the public to use.  And space set set up your own. 
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Altho there is elevator service the stairs also go up to the dome on the 9th floor!  A bit of exercise for the day.
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With all the reading, study, research and Internet areas in the library – it also has an entire section dedicated to baseball! 
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