We didn't have to be at the Salk Institute for our architecture tour until noon, so on our last day in San Diego, we hiked some new terrain: the "dangerous bluffs" along the mesa of Torrey Pines, whose cliffs I'd only previously whizzed by on a glider.
While up in the air, my paragliding instructor had pointed out the steep trails that go all the way down to the beach, piquing my interest. Since we were going to be just down the road anyway, we decided to tackle them.
A lot of the trail is actually very well marked, with sand-covered stairs lined with wildflowers.
The Parry Grove Trail has suffered terrible devastation from the Bark Beetle, rendering the trees into piles of woodchip rubble.
But there is plenty of color and life along the trail, in stark contrast against the green bluffs and the blue Pacific Ocean.
Red Butte, a great lookout point at the crossroads of the Razor Point, Yucca Point, and Beach trails.
You can see the park's namesake torrey pines through the mist at the top of the mesa...
We spent about an hour and a half in the state park but we could have spent all day. It's crowded with runners, bikers, and strollers but it's the perfect haven for the nearby city-dwellers, and overcitified visitors like me.
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