Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tijuana River Estuary (#25)

July 23, 2010- Today I walked at the Tijuana River Estuary accompanied by Wilson and my trusty K-9, Sandy.

I parked at the Visitor Center only to find that dogs are not allowed on the small portion of trail there so I walked around the I.B. Sports park and came in from the side entrance.

From there, walking back toward the center, I passed a pair of drain pipes that I recall one of my environmentally-inclined children testing for water contaminants some 12 years ago or so.

And then I spied the Mariners Point Apartments where we lived about 20 years past. Great location by the way.

Just south of the Visitor Center you find the marker for the McCoy Trail.

In 1979 Patricia and Michael McCoy founded the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association which helped in designating the Tijuana Estuary as a National Estuarine Research Reserve. That happened at a pivotal time in the history of Imperial Beach’s surf culture.

In the 1970’s the estuary had been targeted to become a boat marina. To accommodate that, the Army Corps of Engineers had plans to create an underwater breakwater that would have literally destroyed the surf in I.B. They came so close to making that a reality that there was actually a loaded crane barge off-shore ready to come in and drop the boulders. A classic example of good winning out over greed!

On that significant side note, we walked on out to the south end of the North McCoy Trail where you find two nice viewing benches.

Sandy and I were quite content sitting there taking it all in...

...but Wilson was intensely focused on the bench on the "other" side of the waterway. He no doubt had established our hiking goal.

So, we turned around and went back out the way we came in...

...and headed south.

To our left was the iconic Naval Helicopter Base. Fortunately it was Sunday so we didn't have the noise bringing down our "oneness with nature" experience.

Some ways down we found a turnoff to the River Mouth Loop...

...but we marched forward.

Going as far south as possible the trail bent to the right taking us to the River Mouth Loop.

From there we cruised in a beachward direction until we made it to this, the most southwesterly bench, at the most primo viewing spot in the estuary.

And there we sat,
and sat,
and sat some more,
taking in the incredible views and sounds.

Hundreds of birds.

The old Tijuana Bullring and lighthouse so close.

Looking west we could see the dune separating us from the ocean. In fact we stood at that spot on hike #10 back on June 2nd.

After a bit, sensing that Wilson was anxious to get to the bench he saw on the "other" side of the waterway, we moved on and hooked up with the "South" McCoy Trail.

And we walked...

and walked...

and walked...

and walked...

...finally arriving at the bench on the "other" side of the waterway.

Clearly, based on his visual signs of glee and self-satisfaction, Wilson was a happy stick.

And Sandy, also happy, was one "thirsty" dog.

After another sit session, appreciating our accomplishment, we stood up, turned around, and looked. And looked. And Looked.

And then Sandy, the house pet recently turned hiker dog (on her inaugural hike as a matter of fact) said wearily, and I quote:

"Really? REALLY!? You have GOT to be kidding me!"

Another GREAT Hike!


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