Friday, March 19, 2010

Cabrillo National Monument

February 201012

I love that end of the earth feeling. It usually involves standing at the edge of a cliff that drops off into a never ending sea full of churning blue water. I can’t help but imagine what it must have felt like to think that the earth was flat and the drop into oblivion was just on the edge of the horizon. What a scary and finite concept.  Cabrillo National Monument is a great place to let your mind get swept back to the days of conquistadores, Spanish occupation, and early exploration.

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We decided to head over to the tide pools for the first part of our Cabrillo NM tour. I had planned our day around low tide so we would have the best opportunity to view sea life. Unfortunately, and tragically, the Chilean earthquake had hit the day before. Between the tsunami warning and the massive storm that had hit the day prior, the minus tide ceased to exist. The seas were incredibly rough and most of the tide pools were inaccessible. That being said, I felt the rough seas added to the rugged feel that Point Loma possesses.

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We followed the trail that hugs the cliffs and stood at cliffs edge, admiring the swirling waters below. The scenery reminded me a bit of Point Reyes in Northern California and served as a nice reminder of what the San Diego coast once was.

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We did manage to make it down to beach level and spot a few critters that had washed ashore. Since it was the weekend (and the first warm day in over a week), there were crowds down around the tide pools. I think if the tide was lower and people were able to spread out a bit more, it would have had a much more intimate feel.

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Next we headed over to the visitor’s center to get our National Park passport book stamped and learn about Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Cabrillo was the first European to set foot on the West Coast way back in 1542, and historians believe those first footsteps were made on Point Loma.

The views from this area, including the actual Cabrillo monument are filled with vistas of the San Diego Bay and the city beyond. 

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The visitor center provides educational videos, a small museum, and replicas of 16th century armor for children of all ages to try. My son thought the 16th century sword was particularly cool and wasted no time knocking his sister in the head with it. Luckily, she was wearing a 16th century replica helmet…

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If you would like to visit Cabrillo National Monument (and you should) check out the park’s website here. We didn’t have time to visit the Old Point Loma Lighthouse (the park closes at 5PM due to it proximity to the naval base at Point Loma) but tours are offered frequently. It will be high on my priority list for our next visit.

For more fantastic travel photos, check out Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday here.



10 comments:

TheWordWire said...

I used to live in San Diego, and I loved visiting Cabrillo. The tide pools and surrounding cliffs are such an inspiring way to spend some time. And the top of the hill offers the best view of downtown anywhere in the city. Thanks for sharing this!

Debi said...

Gorgeous photos, Shar. This place wasn't even on my radar, so thanks for sharing your experience.

Amy @ The Q Family said...

We were there in Nov last year. :) We didn't make it to the lighthouse either. Would love to be able to walk down the trail too but we only stopped by on our way to Wild Animal Park from our hotel. So it was just a quick stop.

Love your pictures!!

Shannon said...

Love this! We love going to Cabrillo too. Whenever people come to visit us, this is one of the first places we take them! Gorgeous photos :)

Kymri said...

Yay! Cabrillo is also one of my favorite spots in San Diego, and I'm a native!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

What a dramatic and exciting spot...those views are amazing.Sorry you didn't get to check out the tide pools as originally planned, but still makes for an interesting lesson on geological/oceanic cause and effects. Beautiful, beautiful place. Would love to explore it with my kids.

Paul said...

Great job Shar!

kerry dexter said...

great photos. thank you for sharing your trip with us -- and for the reminder of how the oceans and land are interconnected across the hemispheres

debi9kids said...

Very cool! Anywhere that you can learn about history and nature at the same time is awesome in my book!

Great photos! Loved the one that looks like the kids are going to drop the bolder on someone. heehee

Jedediah said...

Lovely photos. Tide pools are always exciting to explore, so many strange critters :)
I wish more parents would do all the stuff you do with your kids. Children are so curious, it's a sin not to show them how much there is to see and explore in the world. I hate to see how many kids are deprived of that chance (including access to good books, my inner librarian feels compelled to add) and grow indifferent to the wonders of the world.