La Jolla Shores Beach to Ocean Beach Pier

September 19: San Diego County La Jolla Shores Beach to Ocean Beach Pier. 14 miles

This was to prove to be a transitional day. As the day progressed, we entered more and more dense urban areas befitting a metropolis of some 1.2 million people. We left our camping spot at Scripps Institution of Oceanography by foot, walking the ½ mile or so to our starting spot. Here we stopped for 20 minutes or so, while we waited for a cameraman from the local ABC affiliate to arrive for a scheduled session. He finally did arrive, shot his video and interviewed Linda, and we were on our way.

The sand beach gave way to bluffs and cliffs almost immediately, and we were soon on the roads and trails of the main part of La Jolla. This area reminded me greatly of the scenes we walked through in Pacific Grove in Monterey County. Here the bluffs rising out of the sea are higher, but they have the same general feel and color about them, and the clear sea itself shows the same alternating sand and rocky, light and dark, bottom. (Linda’s note: the huge high rise near the end of the La Jolla beach area dominates the horizon for quite a while, and seems more out of proportion when one sees the small red cottages nearby, just above the cove, that are the remnants of what was once probably a charming beach colony. The cottages have been falling apart for several years while, evidently, the property owner fights to demolish them and raise a large building, and people in the community fight to save this remaining piece of history. That’s what we heard. Nearby is the “baby beach”, protected by a jetty with walkway, that used to be popular with families because it is so protected. (It has been taken over by seals, and now the disagreement continues about whether people or seals should prevail here.)

Past the hilly areas of La Jolla, we entered the flat expanses of Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and, separated by Mission Bay and the San Diego River from the others, Ocean Beach. Our lunch spot was Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. Here, as for the rest of the day, the beach and the strand beside it are devoted to pleasure, pure pleasure: everything from catching a wave to riding the roller coaster at Belmont Park, from toasting yourself lying on the beach to sitting in the dark recesses of a beachside watering hole. It was only Friday, but the beach was hopping! [Editor’s note: quite possibly the last Friday before classes convene at UCSD.)

The end of the walk was far from the end of our day. Jumping into the Melmobile, we rode to Helene’s residence at the Pacific Regent. This retirement building is operated by The Fountains, our good friend from our Dana Point days. Here we were again treated royally. First we visited at Helene’s and watched a tape of the morning’s interview. Then we all retired to the banquet room for a great dinner given to us by The Fountains. This gift was arranged by Helene through the good offices of Veronica Giancola, the activities director, and James Cappello, the food service manager. Helene supplied the champagne! Imagine if you will: an immense brass chandelier above us, a white linen table cloth gracing the table; and, sitting about, 10 people who had just walked 14 miles. Many of us did get a chance to take a shower at Helene’s, but we got back into the same hiking clothes that we had worn for at least one day. I’m certain that the kind-hearted people who have shown us so much consideration over the course of this adventure don’t really know what to make of us in the long run. (Jon Breyfogle; photos by Linda Hanes)