Category Archives: Dogs

Nice, new dog park in Mission Valley

Living in central San Diego, there are few options for dog parks if you have a small to medium-sized dog that cannot go off-leash without fencing. Until now. The Civita development

as part of the master plan for this 14.3 acre park located off of Friars Road and Russell Parkway has recently unveiled the first phase of a large, open space park with multiple attractions with plans to open the next phases in the coming months. When completed it will include an outdoor, small amphitheater, a museum of Mission Valley history, community garden, recreation center and pools for the homeowners of the Civita community, walking trails, basketball court, ping pong tables and more. You can find out more information here.

Bathroom signOutdoor Amphitheatre

While exploring this new park, I saw an interesting crysal sculpture and learned on the Civitas blog of a pop-up art exhibit coming to town in the next two weeks. It looked intriguing so I purchased tickets. You can find out more on the exhibit’s website–Wonderspaces. It proclaims to be an event with food trucks, beer and interactive art spaces. Lots of exciting stuff!

Wonderspace

This article mainly focuses on the dog park, which just opened about two weeks ago. It is located at the top of the park, after climbing several flights of steps or coming from Murray Ridge Road, you can park at the top. The park has two runs, one for small dogs and one for larger breeds. In the dog parks are drinking fountains, trees that provide shade, several structures for agility training or play and plenty of grass.

Large Dog Run

It is nice to have something as equally nice as the dog park up in Encinitas without having to make that long drive.

 

*New Trail Alert*, Annie’s Canyon Trail-San Elijo Lagoon

A friend on Facebook recently posted about this new trail and that is how it got on my radar. I watched the virtual trail video and it brought back memories of Ho Chi Minh trail near Black’s Beach, although this is like a controlled Ho Chi Minh trail, because it has just enough excitement for my more out-of-shape physique without sending me potentially to the Emergency Department, which good luck, getting seen, by the way. So, this looked doable and interesting.

This is a good hike to do in the summer-time as it is along the coast or rather near the coast, so there is an intermittent ocean breeze that brings relief. There is a bit of shade and there are a few different points of entry depending on how long of a hike you want. You can get more info on that here.

Once you get to the sign that says, “Annie’s Trail”, you can take either the one way loop or the viewpoint trail.

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I made the mistake of choosing the viewpoint trail and so when we realized at the top that we had bypassed the cool cave trail and sandstone climb, well, we just had to descend and do it again! Tip: Use the carved in foot depressions on the side of the trail to ascend in the canyon trail, don’t cross-country ski up the sand on the bottom like I did until I realized the foot depressions were easier.

Bring water, I recommend a Camel Bak or light backpack to hold your water so you have your hands free for the strenuous climb part. You will need both hands to leverage up the cliff. It really isn’t that bad though. And it is a short ascent. You will feel like Sir Edmund Hillary when you’re done though. Small risk, great reward.

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Levering up

There were a lot of people out hiking the trail. With 660,000+ views on the County of San Diego website after only a couple of weeks being open, it is not a surprise. Please be courteous with extra people, especially older and younger and yield to those going downhill. Dogs must also be leashed, there are rattlesnakes out there. I know because I have seen several rattlesnakes in the San Elijo Lagoon Preserve before and you wouldn’t want your dog to get bitten by a rattlesnake because it is not a quick hike back to the road. It is, at best about 1.5 miles.

I hope this trail is around for awhile, it is pretty fun, great 360 degree views of coast, lagoon and to the east. Here are more photos below, just click on them to enlarge them.

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The Flavor of Summer

We were wrapping up a successful doggie playdate and thinking about ice cream. One of the dog owners said, “You have got to try Handel’s. It just opened and it is great–homemade ice cream.” You say the word homemade and that is enough for me. So, we wrapped up the doggie playdate early in search of this rosetta stone of ice cream.

The ice cream spot is right up the corner from Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, off of Encinitas Blvd. from the 5 freeway in the Loft Condo building. They just opened last weekend.

Menu_boards

When you walk in there are rows of freezer cases everywhere and they make about 48 flavors of homemade ice cream every day. Delicious ice cream, fresh ice cream. I know because we tried it and it was delicious. My daughter, who, unless it glows in the dark and has gummy worms and confetti candy spackled all over it usually poo poos the good stuff, liked it. I had coconut ice cream in a fresh waffle bowl and she had vanilla oreo in a waffle cone bordered in chocolate and peanuts. The dog had his own ice cream (doggie ice cream), but since he is spoiled and the doggie ice cream was Purina brand he preferred the human ice cream better.

I think this place is going to be bumpin’ this summer, so try it before having to wait in line for half an hour. They have all kinds of sundaes, toppings, shakes as well. The flavor(s) of summer. Delicious.

http://www.handelsicecream.com/index.html

Fiesta Island Dog Beach

I’ve lived in San Diego half my life and recently discovered dog shangri-la. Partly because I had never been a dog owner before, but this is to my knowledge, the largest, enclosed (mostly) dog park/beach that I know of in San Diego. If any reader knows of a larger one, please share in the comments below.

Fiesta Island is about 97 acres of beach park with any number of events going on there at one time from races to jet skiing and the annual Over-the-Line Tournament. It is a “Yah Yah boy” central, what my Mom would call the pick-up truck, bandanna-wearing, hootin’ and hollerin’ youngins’ you would see flying by on the road. I always wanted to be one of those “Yah Yah” boys because they looked like they knew how to have a good time. Anyhow, I digress…

My dog loves this place, he can run and run without hitting a fence for some time and there are the calmer waters that he likes to wade in and lots of friends to play with. It is our happy place.

On one side is the bay and on the other side of the dog park is an enclosed part of the bay with more water, a large meadow in the middle with some trees, you can even exercise leash-free with your dog running laps inside the fenced area! Seaworld forms the southern part of the border across the water and there are more meadows that are leash free outside of the fenced in part.

For more information, I found a You Tube video that shows video footage of the dog beach:

And Fiesta Island also has a Facebook page for dog owners called Fiesta Island Dog Owners (FIDO):

https://www.facebook.com/FIDOSD/

If you have a pet or even if you don’t and need some cheering up, this is a great place to go. Bring a bowl and water for your dog as I do not know where there is available water and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Oh! Ramona

The Ramona Grasslands Preserve encompasses approximately 3 miles of trail looping around a mostly flat open space preserve off of Highland Valley Road just past the more popular Potato Chip Rock trail. This trail is frequented by horseback riders, dogs and their owners and hikers and bikers. It is also home to many different varieties of birds, coyotes, squirrels and snakes (fortunately, not seen on this day!).

As the pictures show, it is a beautiful hike with views for miles and many different wildflowers along with a lot of pea vines (?), sage, rosemary and other varietals growing in abundance. I wouldn’t mind being out here for any one of those episodes of “Alone”, “Survivor”, “Naked and Afraid” as I think I would do quite fine. They even have a crop of cows alongside the fence line which were not view-able the day we were out here.

This trail is mostly fire road with minimal climbing and there are picnic tables scattered throughout the hiking trails so it is a nice place to bring a lunch or snack and sit a little and immerse yourself in the quiet. Ramona Grasslands isn’t the hotbed of activity that nearby Potato Chip and Iron Mountain are so you can feel like you are getting away from it all and only see maybe 1-2 groups of other people without having to drive to much out of San Diego. Bring water for sure and sunblock though and it is probably nicest to visit in the spring and late fall.

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Chollas Lake in Oak Park is Chula

This park flies under the radar of most people in San Diego, even people like us who have been living in San Diego over half of our lives and had no idea this place was literally under our noses in the neighboring community of Oak Park. Depending on which way you drive to get here you aren’t expecting much, but the proud residents of this recreational park and lake are keeping a good thing secret. I think….

The park has a fitness course, a cactus garden, walking trails and paths, fishing lessons for youth, picnic tables, a dock and lake, several different species of birds and a protected area for breeding and events such as the free summer lunches put on by San Diego Unified. A smart way to make sure neighborhood kids get to eat while school is out and also expose them to a nice setting out in nature.

I am glad there are places like this out there in such an urban, densely populated area, so that local residents don’t have to drive for miles to take a break out in nature. There has been some controversy lately in the local news because of the water source for replenishing the lake. Chollas Lake does not produce its own water so it has to be pumped in, but the community benefits of having this preserve make it a worthwhile sacrifice. Otherwise, there is nothing else like it out here for city dwellers other than Balboa Park which is for some people that live in this community and don’t have regular transportation, still a stretch to get to.

This is a place that helps bring the community together and offers urban youth fishing lessons at a low cost along with other activities such as summer camps, an annual egg hunt and reading with the Ranger.

Here are some links to learn more:

Chollas Lake Map

Programs at Chollas Lake

Ruff Life at Del Mar Dog Beach

About a mile north of Torrey Pines Reserve and just west of the Del Mar racetrack is Dog Beach. Probably the plushest real estate devoted to dogs, I think I can safely say, in the world. This fine morning, the beach was relatively empty except for a small pack of dogs and their owners and a pick-up volleyball game setting up further back on the sand.

At a cool 58 degrees at high tide, the setting is just right for some introspection and stress relief. Looking around at the panoramic vistas makes you feel awe-inspired and allows space for some self reflection. Now, I guess a lot of people get that feeling when they go to church or synagogue or temple or what-have-you, but in a setting like this, this is my church.

There is a small little pathway that heads up to bluff overlooking the entrance to the Pacific Ocean with a very small little open space to circle around the cliff. You can see down to La Jolla looking south and up north to Encinitas in the other direction and right onto the green at the racetrack looking east and clear past to the mountain range, especially on a day like today. Watch your step up on the bluff, a lot of weather lately has made the cliff even more eroded back from where the chain rope fence borders, so keep your eyes open as you walk around.

Watch the surfers paddling out, the dogs chasing each other and reveling in the sun and surf, the probably self-made, yet craggy looking multi-millionaires who actually have the time to spend a morning at the beach bumming around (not me), and you feel like a small speck on this part of the planet; yet like you could do anything you set your mind to.

Dogs are confined to the beach area and cannot go up the path to the bluff. If you have a dog and bring them with you, it is good neighbour behavior to pick up after them. Watch your step though because some owners do not. If you park just north of the beach you will have to pay, so try to come from the south and park on the side of the street, if you come early enough it shouldn’t be a problem. Happy tails!043 044 046 047 048 049 056 057 058 060 063 067