A day off work is a good day to go to the beach. I don’t work, but Betty does and we made plans to spend the day at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. The sky was overcast, but that’s normal morning weather for San Diego. Betty lives about a mile from the park so we set out on foot. The trail on the cliffs is about a mile and a half of dirt path worn down by runners, tourists, and artists. There are plenty of warning signs about the possibility of death if you get too close to the edge (though they might be worded differently).
Another sign warns of wheeled traffic – meaning 4,000 pounds of car that will be crossing your path from the road to the parking lot. What the sign doesn’t tell you is that on the other side is Bird Shit Rock (not sure on the official name) and that when approaching you are closer to looking like the boulder in the ocean by the new birds practicing their aim. It seems that the birds want their digested leftovers to get a good view of the cliffs, so if you like living dangerously I suggest you pass carefully and continue your walk as we did.
Good thing we didn’t become poop art as it makes talking to others easier. There are a few wide-brimmed hats and easels poking over the bushes as we make our way down the curvy terrain. Under those hats are students, with their teacher, enjoying retirement and the outdoors by painting with different mediums from their point of view – each one offering a different perspective of the cliffs by a slightly varied angle. I want to take one home with me (the painting, not the nice lady), but their day has just begun. I shall return to buy one.
We are in search of a rope that helps beachgoers up and down the steep side. We try a few other alternatives, but I don’t feel like rock burning my bum quite yet. Many people hear of Sunset Cliffs, but few can really find the beauty like the locals (that like to keep it hidden). Parts of the trail look flat, but upon approach we notice a bit of color that draws us in. We make our way into the trench and have found a tree cove with painted rocks, branches, and leaves. There are other signs of this area being a clubhouse with random items hanging from string. We take some pictures and climb out of one trench into the next.
Eventually we turn around and take the 100 steps to the bottom. We will find the rope, but it will be on our way home. There is an overwhelming amount of textures, features, and creatures thriving amongst the rocks and sand. We only get a peek because of the low tide. The only rules down here are: Do not hurt the animals (of any size) and return them to the pool from which you took them (applies to crabs or snails). We meander about checking out the little crevices teaming with life and full of color.
Some of the rocks do have painted names on them, but others are natural rainbows of color – hence the name Sunset Cliffs – maybe rainbow was already taken. The wind and waves have done a great job carving this place leaving sharp edges and slippery surfaces to traverse. I am in love with the artistic and historic essence of the place. On our return we see ocean gazers, book readers, dog walkers, and a man in a trench coat with a camera.
Back into town and there is still plenty to capture my attention – architecture, landscaping, sidewalk art, old cars, and murals. Ocean Beach carries a vibe – the closest to Key West on the west coast for me. We were going to have lunch at the OB Noodle House – not hungry enough for the Pho-20 Challenge and to be added to the Pho King champion hall of fame, but it’s always a good time for a bowl! So instead we headed to the OB Smoothie Bar for the acai bowl and a bagel (we split both) and then… well, we enjoyed the rest of our day.