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January 13, 2020

Stuart Collection - Urban Hiking San Diego

The Stuart Collection is a public art collection on the University of California San Diego campus.  There are currently 20 displays in the collection.

I allowed the recommended 2 hours, but did not have  time to visit them all, I'd recommend to allow 3 hours to enjoy the walk.  I did manage to explore the west side of UCSD campus, from my parking spot at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

I was armed with only the map, which can be downloaded in PDF format HERE.

The map is pretty lame, but good information can be found online.  Rather than print out the information I intended to use my cell phone.  Unfortunately the battery was not up to the task.

My plan was to start from the Geisel Library and do the loop counter clockwise.

Although not part of the collection the bronze sculpture of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss, is accompanied by the Cat in the Hat.  Definitely worth a stop.

On the east side of the library is the Snake Path.  The snake is one long path that winds its way up the hill. 

At the tail is a sculpture of a book, Milton’s Paradise Lost.  Appropriate to have on the path to the library.  The cover reads:
Then wilt thou not
be loth to leave 
this Paradise, 
but shalt possess
A Paradise 
within thee, happier far.

Fallen Star is a little blue cottage perched precariously atop the engineering building.

Fallen Star is open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday 11 am until 2 pm.

The first exhibit in the Stuart Collection was Sun God, commissioned in 1983.

Not far from the first is the is the 20th exhibit, as of this blog the last, What Hath God Wrought, completed in 2018.  A 199' tall pole with a light at the top which repeats 'What Hath God Wrought' in Morse Code.  This is the first phrase transmitted by Samuel Morse in a test of his new communications equipment.

Continuing south is the La Jolla Project.  On the lawn 71 granite blocks are arranged to represent the architectural vocabulary: posts, lintels, columns, arches, windows, doorways and thresholds.

The Red Shoe is hidden in a small grove of eucalyptus trees.  

My favorite of the dozen exhibits I visited was The Wind Garden.  I completely missed it on the way to the Red Shoe.  But the breeze picked up and I could hear the hypnotic melody of wind as I left.  In the light breeze it was enchanting, I have no idea what a windy day might sound like.

As the wind passes through the trees it triggers chimes housed there.  The melody is always unique and never repeats.  I took advantage of the benches there to enjoy the sounds.

As I returned to the Gliderport I could see no less than a dozen ultra-lites riding the thermals.

A long time ago I took hang gliding lessons with the goal of getting to the point where I could sour along the cliffs here.  I never got that good!  But the ultra-lites offer tandem rides, I don't have to be good ... just trusting.

I not that trusting ...

There are more pieces in the Stuart Collection then I visited.  It's certainly an enjoyable way to spend a sunny afternoon on the UCSD campus.


  1. Oh, I wish I'd known about that when we were in San Diego! I love things like that and walking the campus, finding them all would double the fun! Thanks for taking us along with you.

    1. You are welcome Suzi, a bit of culture to my otherwise homebody week. It's an easy self-guided walk on the campus.

  2. What a great way to keep a person walking.

    1. You're right!, it does provide a bit of motivation to find them all.

  3. See? This is the stuff that makes us want to live in a college town. Universities always have these great resources - educational, cultural, artistic... there's always something to see and somewhere to go, and, oftentimes, they are free. I'd never heard of this before but I'm definitely adding it to my ever growing "San Diego list." What a great find!

    And I'm with you on the jumping off the mountain craziness. I'll happily go take photos of these lunatics, but I will stay firmly planted on terra firma, thank you very much. :)

    Enjoy the sunshine!!

    1. Laura you always have a way with words! And to think I wanted to be one of those 'lunatics' ... once! Not anymore :)
      Yupper, the UCSD campus is FREE to meander and guests are welcome in the various many of the student buildings.

  4. Thanks for taking back to the campus as we love walking around it...

    1. It is a great campus to explore, having the map is just an excuse to wander around.

  5. That is one very interesting looking library and the outdoor art is superb. I want to try hang gliding or ultra light connected to somebody.

    1. The library has 8 floors of material to explore, but I like being outside on such a nice day. Enjoy your flight, I'll be happy to take pictures ... from the ground!


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