Thursday, February 23, 2017

Shouldless Days in San Diego - Part 2

I'm continuing on with my San Diego recap today! On day 2 of our trip, we decided to head east to the desert region as we were both craving warmer temps, sun, and blue skies. Phil did some research and found some cool hikes in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. So after making breakfast, we headed east. It's about a 2 hour drive but most of the drive is scenic.

We got to the park and after talking to a park ranger at the visitor center, we headed out for our first hike which was called "The Slot."

The area where our hike started was beautiful! I know some people don't love desert landscapes but I think they are beautiful!
The hike we did was short, but really cool. For most of the hike, you hiked on a narrow trail through a canyon.
Entering the canyon
 This would not be a good hike for someone that is claustrophobic! Parts of the path were very narrow and required some maneuvering to get through them.

This photo gives you an idea of how deep the canyon we hiked through was!

The next hike we did was the Borrego Palm Grove.  It's about a 4 mile out-and-back trail to a grove of palm trees. It was interesting to hike through a desert landscape and then come upon some palm trees! The palm trees thrives as there is a stream that runs through the canyon.

After we finished this hike, we headed back to San Diego, cleaned up and headed out for some fish tacos in the Ocean Beach area. You definitely have to eat fish tacos when you are in Southern CA! Unfortunately I did not snap a picture of my tacos because I was getting a little hangry at that point so dug in right away!

On Saturday morning, we woke up and were pleased to see that the cloud cover was starting to break up. We headed out for a 4 mile out and back run along the ocean. There is a path along the beach in the Pacific Beach area that is great for running. It can be crowded and it's concrete so it's not the most idea path (for your body) but you can't beat running along the ocean!! It's also worth noting that I did this run without taking walk breaks like I normally have to (due to my hip surgery recovery) and I felt just fine afterwards!  That's serious progress for me!

After cleaning up, we walked to a breakfast place called The Mission for brunch. They had a GF menu and it looked promising but we were kind of disappointed, mostly because they used soooo much rosemary in their food (which we find off-putting when it's over-used). But if you like rosemary, this is the place for you!  And the portions are huge!

Next up, we headed to a couple of places a friend of mine that used to live there recommended that we check out. First off we went to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. It was a beautiful area and the parking was free (woo hoo!). We had fun walking along the cliff-side path.  We also enjoyed looking up how expensive the homes in the area were!

Next, we went to Point Loma which is a peninsula with great views of the San Diego area. We walked the 3 mile out and back path.  The skies were clearing up so it was a nice day to be out walking!

By this point, we had logged over 15,000 steps, so we headed back to our condo to relax and enjoy some snacks and drinks. Then we headed out for a sunset walk along the beach. It was absolutely gorgeous!

Phil's favorite thing to do when we are by water is skip rocks. I love this picture that I snapped!

That evening, we grilled dinner and collapsed into bed as we were both so tired from all the walking/running!

The next day we headed to the Old Town area for some Mexican food before heading to the airport.

Final thoughts:  We enjoyed San Diego and loved being by the ocean. But our conclusion was that we are much bigger fans of the Santa Barbara area (see my Santa Barbara trip recap here). Southern California is beautiful but we found that we prefer smaller, more quaint towns versus a bigger city. That said, I will be heading back to San Diego this fall with my mom, sisters, and sisters-in-law and I am very much looking forward to that trip as I know we'll end up doing different things. And maybe I'll get better weather on that trip!  But if you are going on vacation with children, San Diego would be great as there are so many kid-friendly things to do in the area!

Do you prefer visiting bigger cities or smaller, quaint towns? We aren't opposed to big cities as we adore San Francisco, but for 'beach/ocean' vacations, we find we prefer smaller cities. 


Jeanie said...

You are such an intrepid hiker! I suspect my itinerary would have included a lot of different activities in San Diego! But you two are up for the challenge and I have to say I really admire it.

Big City or small town -- that's always a question. Truth is, I like both. I like small charm and big city opportunities and if I have a couple of weeks and can combine both, all the better.

Marlys said...

Wow, you did do tons of walking / running and happy to hear you got your running done without breaks! Progress feels mighty fine!
Thanks for sharing the pictures - maybe I will see the area after all!

Charbelle said...

So many thoughts! 1. I love desert landscapes too! I think all of God's creation is so unbelievably unique and His art is incredible!!! In NC I'm so fortunate that I have mountains, piedmont and beach and each are beautiful in their own way! 2. That hike through the canyon looks AMAZING!!!! I'm a fan of being as active as possible and it looks like y'all made the most of every moment! 3. That picture of Phil is a framer! Definitely print that one and put it up somewhere even if it's on your desk at work. 4. When I was with my Aunt on Rodeo Dr last year I was googling house addresses for the prices, it was so fun! My takeaway was that they were a lot like the houses in South Park area here they were just double the price. 5. I'm delighted y'all had such a wonderful trip! You will have such a fun time with the girls!

Carolina John said...

Did you see the cemetary in point loma? There's a military cemetary out in the peninsula that was incredible.

The desert landscape is incredible. So glad you got to see it like that. I did not find those hikes, but will have to try it if I ever get back.

Linda said...

I used to go to San Diego a lot for work (about 4 jobs ago) and never made time to explore their nature aside from the beach!

Abby said...

Did you get some seafood at Point Loma? We love going to the fish market and getting fresh fish to bring back to our rental (when we aren't staying in a hotel, obviously lol)

That hike looks so cool!!!

Ryan and I definitely prefer smaller towns. Too many people make us feel a little crazy. We went WAY out of our way while in NYC to avoid Times Square etc. And would add blocks of walking so we wouldn't have to deal with that. Ha!

And yes, Santa Barbara is a little nicer than SD. I've never been - but Ryan used to go there a lot for work and has always wanted to take me. I think my allure to it is that it's just a short-ish drive for us -- so it's so easy for a long weekend to get my "beach fix".

katielookingforward said...

The hike looks amazing!!! I go back and forth between big cities versus quaint. A friend of mine lives in Crested Butte colorado and it is definitely quaint and I would go back there in a heartbeat!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

That is definitely a narrow, and deep place to be hiking - wowzer! I'd have to show Christopher the pictures to see if he'd be able to do something like that. I think I'd be able to, but I suppose I might feel differently when standing in there.

I love how active and adventurous you are when you travel! I'm not sure if I prefer big cities to quaint towns for travel, as I think we haven't experienced enough of the latter to decide.

Stephany said...

You got in so much activity! I love that Phil is such a fan of hiking like you - you definitely met the perfect travel companion. :)

I prefer smaller towns to big cities, so my trip to NYC in May should be an interesting experience!

San said...

Runs along the beach are the best! So glad your hip held up so well.

Did you go to Fred's Mexican Cafe by any chance? :)

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Next up: Sonoma and Mendocino coast! If you fly into SFO and then head north along the coast, there are so many tiny towns with beaches and hiking and great food, like Bodega Bay, Fort Bragg and even Mendocino itself! You would love it.

I am glad that you had fun and that you went to Point Loma, as I really enjoyed my bike excursion out there. If I recall correctly, I got a bit hangry on the way back, which led to an interesting lunch stop!! Those are always fun (after you have eaten, of course).

Amber said...

That sounds like a really nice little break and time away!! I have not spent much time in San Diego or even California as a whole really, but I think it would be an awesome place to go for a vacation. I would love to take Eric to San Francisco! Hopefully we can make it down that way in the next couple of years. Good to know you guys preferred Santa Barbara more. The more we travel the more we realize we are also small town / country people. Big cities are cool to visit for sure, but we've had some of the best times ever traveling in less busy / big places like our time in the countryside of Ireland and Northern Ireland!

Shoshanah said...

I feel the same way about fish tacos! They really just don't make them the same outside of California.