Detail of tree bark, Santa Margarita River Trail, Fallbrook Conservancy, CA
Several of my wife's and my family members live in San Diego County now, so I'm on the West Coast about once a year. Since we had been in southern Utah in May--two-thirds of the way to San Diego--we hopped a flight from Salt Lake City to San Diego for six days. Most of the time we visited with family, but we took two "natural" excursions to places we hadn't visited before, the tide pool at Point Loma on the ocean side of San Diego Bay and the Fallbrook Conservancy's Santa Margarita Preserve at the far northern edge of San Diego County, hard by Orange County.
Cockle shells in the tide pools
We arrived at the tide pools at Point Loma at the maximum low tide, so we only had about 45 minutes to poke around in the pools before they were flooded again. There were lots and lots of anemones and hermit crabs to enjoy.
Who's watching whom?
On our last day in California, my dad suggested that we go for a walk at the Fallbrook Conservancy's Santa Margarita River Preserve. The "river" (we East Coasters would have a hard time calling it even a creek, but it is a perennial stream and offers important riparian habitat) rises in the Cleveland National Forest in San Bernadino County, skirts the northern edge of San Diego County, and then enters Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base before draining into the Pacific Ocean. It's a popular outdoor playground for rapidly developing northern San Diego County and southern Orange County. The day was hot, it was a Saturday, and quite a few folks took advantage of the river to cool off.
Santa Margarita River, Fallbrook Conservancy, Fallbrook, CA (I didn't notice my brother's arm pointing out a fish in the river until I posted this image.)