Slug: memorial-day-2004-san-deigo-torrey-pines Date: 2004-06-05 Title: “Memorial Day 2004, San Deigo: Torrey Pines” layout: post
Torrey Pines Gliderport!
After La Jolla, Jodi and I drove north, heading for Torrey Pines State Reserve. I'd heard from Clark that it was a nice place to walk on the beach or hike, and thought it sounded like a good spot to check out!
Well, on the way to the park we saw a sign for the Torrey Pines Gliderport. Looked curious, so we turned in and found a place to park in the dirt lot behind the facility. Turns out, the Torrey Pines Gliderport is a cliff-top launching point for dozens of paragliders and hang-gliders! I cannot say how stinkin' cool this was. As we approached the grassy area at the the cliff-top, several paragliders dropped in for a landing over our heads. Several folks were hanging out, assembling hang-gliders, packing or unpacking parasialing kites.
We watched as one guy explained a bit about paragliding to a mother and child who looked on in wonder. Then he spread out his kite, got some wind, and walked to the edge of the cliff. Two hops and he was off the edge - after dropping a couple feet he drifted upwards, catching the draft as it came up the cliff face. Off he went… Overhead, four or five other paragliders circled one after another and came in for one- or two-hop landings. Amazing. One guy dropped in and expertly touched down and stayed just standing there. Wow. It was really sweet!!
We snapped the pics, boggled at the gliders sliding silently by, then decided to move on to the State Reserve up the street.
After missing the turn (it was just around the side of the mountain, thankyouverymuch) and driving up into Delmar (psycho-expensive real estate) we found the park, just on the south side of the narrow Torrey Pines beach. There are basically two parts of the Reserve - the beach, and the mountain behind it. :-) We paid our entrance fee ($4) and drove up the steep road around the mountain.
At the top we found a place to park, and wandered a bit seeing what was what. We had been intending to find a spot to spead a blanket and nap, but no spot presented itself, so we discussed hiking instead. Perusing the board showing park trails, we chose a short (1.2 mi round trip) hike out to Yucca Point, one of several bluffs that overlook the beach and offer a fantastic view up and down the coast. Jodi was intelligent enough to put on sunscreen; what with the light breeze and 75° weather, I eschewed it (to my own skin-flaking chagrin later).
The hike was great, not particularly hard, and not too hot (mostly - it did get a bit warm in the middle, between the hilltop and the bluff). The views, however, were amazing. Out on the bluff there were several craggy cliffs to one side (which I did not need to be admonished not to enter :-) ). While we were out there, we gt a call from Jodi's friend Elizabeth, arranging to meet us for lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant in San Deigo. We hiked back up to the parking lot, and drove out. All in all a great excursion!