Thursday, September 22, 2011

Torrey Pines: State Reserve and Beach

This post pays tribute to Jerry Schad and the inspiration he continues to instill in Southern Californians to rediscover the great outdoors. Thanks Jerry, happy trails to you.
Jerry Schad
November 3, 1949 to September 22, 2011

The cover of my dog-eared copy of Afoot and Afield in San Diego County motivated me more than once to pay a visit to Torrey Pines State Reserve and Torrey Pines State Beach this summer. Here is a collection of visual highlights from recent visits combined with (and as a compliment to) excerpts from Jerry's "bible of San Diego hiking."

"The rare and beautiful Torrey pines atop the coastal bluffs south of Del Mar are as much a symbol of the Golden State as are the famed Monterey cypress trees native to central California's coast. Torrey pines grow naturally in only two places on earth: in and around Torrey Pines State Reserve and on Santa Rosa Island, off Santa Barbara."

"The popular beach trail originates at the parking lot at the museum and intersects with trails to Yucca Point and Razor Point. Fenced viewpoints along both of these trails offer views straight down to the sandy beach and surf."

From the Reserve you can make your way down to the beach and a few areas of tidepools along the vast stretches of sand. Prepare to enjoy a wide variety of wildlife if you have a keen enough eye. It's not uncommon to see juvenile leopard sharks in the shallows, osprey gliding overhead, tidepools teeming with marine creatures, and shorebirds strolling the sands.

"These are the tallest cliffs in western San Diego county. A close look at the faces reveals a slice of geologic history: the greenish siltstone on the bottom, called the Del Mar formation, is older than the buff or rust-colored Torrey Sandstone above it. Higher still is a thin cap of reddish sandstone, not easily seen from the beach - the Linda Vista Formation."

"There are only a few places along the Southern California coastline where you can hike for miles in a single direction and not catch sight of a highway, railroad tracks, powerlines, houses, or other signs of civilization. The Torrey Pines beaches are one such place. Here, for a space of about three miles, sharp cliffs front the shoreline and cut off the sights and sounds of the world beyond."

Donations in Jerry’s memory may be sent to: Friends of Balboa Park, 2125 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101. Funds will be used to benefit the Balboa Park Trail System in trail maintenance, improvements, maps and other forms of information dissemination.