One place we just had to revisit during our stay in San Diego was the spectacular La Jolla Bay. It was a short 10 minute drive from our park to the town of La Jolla where we were able to find some street parking. Free public parking is extremely limited but luckily we were able to score a spot in a two hour zone. Although there are a few three hour parking places, they are much harder to get.
Since we parked a few blocks from the waterfront we took a stroll down a steep hill to begin our walking tour along the coastline. This delightful walk is mostly on the edge of a bluff overlooking the scenic La Jolla Bay and with the tide out as it was on this day there were lots of rocky and craggy spots exposed in the surf covered in vivid green sea grasses. La Jolla is Spanish for the English word jewel and that name fits perfectly for this gorgeous hilly seaside community along the Pacific Coast.
La Jolla village has under 50,000 residents but these folks are not your typical Americans. Most of the villagers are very wealthy and all along the road beside the walkway are small but very, very expensive housing. Just to give you an idea of how expensive consider these numbers from 2009 showing a standard four-bedroom home in La Jolla was reported as US $2.1 million. Well, I guess that means our future retirement home won’t be in La Jolla!
As we walked along the coast we passed the beach area known as the Children’s Pool. There was a lot of construction and much of it was closed off for improvements, including the sea wall. On many parts of the sidewalk we had to detour around as they were under some type of repair or modification as well. Since it is the off season I guess this is the time to get this type of work done. Funny to me is the temperatures the last few days have been in the mid 80’s so if this is offseason then this is the right time of the year to be here…
As we moved along on our walk we saw our first of many seals and sea lions basking in the sun on the exposed rocks below. We simply love watching these noble creatures as they stretch, yawn, scratch themselves and roll off the rocks to the awaiting surf below. Next up was Shell Beach at the south end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park where sun bathers were enjoying some late season sun tanning. Lining the street here is a long line of tall palm trees and some very interesting plants can be found in the park
A little further down we come to the small beach where we snorkeled the last time we were in La Jolla. Much of La Jolla Cove is protected as part of a marine reserve. There weren’t as many seals here this time around. We remembered having a great time snorkeling among the seals watching as they performed underwater acrobatics for our enjoyment. We ventured off the walkway and down the stairs to walk in the sand and dip our feet in the water. The sand at this little beach is of a very coarse grit unlike many other beaches we have visited. We saw some sunbathers as well as a few snorkelers, swimmers and kayakers. Most were wearing wetsuits as the water temperature was 65 degrees. Upon leaving the beach we had to retrace our steps back to the stairs we came down on as the other stairway was closed since this area too was getting a facelift.
Interestingly this cove is where the village hosts the annual "La Jolla Cove Rough Water Swim" which is one of the oldest ocean swims in the world. Also of interest here is a small cave and an even larger one a little further down the coast explored by kayakers during the high tide.
At the larger cave the paved trail ended and we followed a wide dirt trail to the west along a steep cliff. The rolling hillside is covered with all sorts of interesting plants and I even spotted the largest Jade Tree I have ever seen. There are some Torrey Pines growing in this area native only to La Jolla and this region. Lots of very expensive coastal homes dot the hillside next to the trail and they all have fantastic views of the blue waters below.
This was yet another fine day on the Road of Retirement as we lingered to savor the sights and sounds of the rolling surf crashing into the picturesque rocky shore below..