Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve- December 8

This state park is located in the northwestern corner of San Diego,a wilderness island in an urban sea. On Sunday we hiked from the ocean shore to the highest point in this park,about 500 feet. This is a fragile environment,no picnicking or camping allowed. Some of the trails were closed off because of severe environmental damage that has already taken place. The Torrey pine grows only in this park and Santa Rosa island. It may produce a hundred thousand seeds a year, but it is only by sheer luck that one takes root in the ground and grows to maturity. It does not grow very tall or reach a great age. Its wood rots easily and is quite brittle-certainly does not make good fire wood! It grows in poor sandy soil, suffers the onslaught of storms and gets baked in the sun. Despite everything,the Torrey Pine species lives on-bending and twisting with whatever life throws its way. The pictures here show this particular pine-I even took a close-up of one so you can see how twisted it grows. And finally,I want to mention the Toyon or Christmas Berry shrub,pictured here. It is also know as California holly,and gave its name to Hollywood. We saw quite a few of these bushes in the park.

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