Carlsbad State Beach to San Elijo State Beach

September 17: San Diego County Carlsbad State Beach to San Elijo State Beach. 7 miles

“And the days dwindle down, to a precious few”

It’s the end game now, we’ve been chasing that king all over the board, constantly pushing him south, and now his back is to the wall; there’s little room left for him to maneuver. We’re down to miles in the double digits, and our last days have been pleasant strolls. No longer do 23-mile days loom before us, where it was head down and just keep going.

Today we had a pleasant succession of hard-sand beaches to walk, starting at Carlsbad State Beach and continuing through Ponto Beach, Grandview Beach, Beacons Beach, Encinitas Beach City Park and Moonlight City Beach; different names for the same long strip of sand. Above us, we looked at the many houses on the bluff top, several ready and partially beginning to make their way to the beach below. In the ultimately futile attempt to stop what must happen, great seawalls mar the base of much of the bluff. (Note from Linda: many of these homes have long, long stairways winding down the bluff, in various states of disrepair or use. It feels as though these people still attempt to use the beach below in contrast to some bluff-top homes we passed further north, for example in Santa Barbara, where the stairways look very much unused. It must cost a great deal of money to build and to maintain these bluff stairways and protective devices.)

At Moonlight, we left the beach and were given a Cook’s tour of Encinitas by Steve Kononenko, our San Diego leader. Then we were set free to wander as we wished and spend as much time doing it as we needed. Coffee houses were a definite draw as well as the several restaurants that lie along the main street. There somehow seems something hedonistic about it all, but then again we have come a long way. We have earned a few days of relative ease.

At the southerly end of Encinitas, lies the Self-Realization Fellowship Retreat and Hermitage. This complex, built for Paramahansa Yogananda, a teacher of Kriya Yoga, brought the art of meditation to the West in the 1920s. Serene and tranquil gardens, with delightful koi ponds and views of the ocean, are open to the public – the only requirement for entrance is a silent voice and contemplative mind. It was nice to sit upon a bench in a beautiful setting and think back over the last few months.

Immediately south of the Hermitage is “Swami’s Beach City Park”. Here surfers gather in their sometimes irreverent way to enjoy the waves. Anyone who has seen photographs of the Paramahansaji’s serene countenance would have to believe that he would be extremely happy to be mixed up somehow in their karma.

From Swami’s Park we descended a stairway to the beach below and walked the remaining mile or so to our campground at San Elijo State Beach, situated as the last two nights’ campground was in a long thin strip of land on a high bluff, with several long stairways descending to the beach below. (Jon Breyfogle; photos by Linda Hanes)

Left to right: Armored and unarmored houses on the bluffs.  Massive armoring.  Serpent staircases. The Swami’s garden.

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