San Elijo State Beach to La Jolla Shores Beach

September 18: San Diego County San Elijo State Beach to La Jolla Shores Beach. 13.5 miles

We began today on the beach, and with the exception of using bridges to cross waterways, our walk kept us on beaches for the entire day. Leaving Elijo State Beach, we passed through Cardiff State Beach, Fletcher Cove Park, North Bluff Preserve, Del Mar Canyon Preserve, Torrey Pines State Beach, Black’s Beach and into Kellogg Park at La Jolla State Beach.

These beaches are mostly broad and flat and are backed by sandstone bluffs and cliffs. All along, where homes were allowed at the bluff top, we could see that the battle here between ocean and land is being won by the ocean. We humans throw up puny obstacles to this great force, the sea, and all for naught. The great sea wall of today will be but a pile of rubble; if not tomorrow, then someday. If sea caves in the Solana Beach area are filled with concrete, the sea begins a new cave adjoining the old. One parcel owner builds a seawall and another does not; the sea works its way around the end of the wall. A land owner does all that he thinks possible to arrest the forces of nature; then by watering his grounds he causes his own structure’s destruction.

We often think that the bluffs are changed by storms-that it takes a cataclysm to effect a difference. But even on a day such as this one with its perfect weather, change is constant. All along the base of the undercut bluffs, the wet sand was dusted with a layer of sandstone granules loosened from their grip on the cliff above by the mild zephyrs of the day.

Earlier this year Richard Nichols and Linda Hanes, Coastwalk’s Executive Director and Board President respectively, met in Sonoma County with Huell Howser, originator and host for several PBS television series. “California’s Gold” is perhaps the most well known; but a new series “California’s Golden Coast” is being worked on, and for that reason Mr. Howser came to Sonoma for a taping session. Today was to be the completion of the work; this time featuring the Expedition members. Richard was also on hand for the taping.

It was quite interesting to see how such a program is put together. Howser works in an unscripted way, asking good and insightful questions and drawing the most out of his guests. Our taping session was on the beach with the Cliffs of Torrey Pines in the background. Howser’s natural curiosity led him from one question to another and from one walker to the next. At the same time, he was able to synthesize the information received in order to make good summation statements. But probably most of all, he put everyone at ease and let us have a good time. When the taping was over, he indicated that we would all be given a tape of the show in addition to information on when it would be airing on the various public broadcast stations throughout the State.

We spent our lunch time walking up into the Torrey Pines State Reserve to look at the trees and tour in the visitor’s center. Then it was back to the beach, crossing Flat Rock onto Black’s Beach some four miles of clothing-optional sand. We kept ours on and were in the minority.

We ended the day at Kellogg Park, where we met Pat Stone, friend of Helene, and a board member of the Fusenot Foundation, an organization which has made generous donations to Coastwalk over the years. Our camp for the night was at the grounds of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. (Jon Breyfogle; photos by Linda Hanes)