#6 San Diego Gems

The weather has finally picked up in Southern California and its really starting to feel like living on the West Coast again! As much as I love the the fact that the rainfall is restoring the California snowfall and climate, its a total damper on my adventures so when the sun is shining I try and make the most of it!

I had some time to kill on Monday after dropping my Ranger off for a tune up so Bradley, his pal Seth and myself all decided to go on a local adventure. Initially we were set on going to the beach in Encinitas but we had some detours along the way that blossomed into quite the adventure. Bradley told me about a cave in the hills which was on the way to the coast, I immediately insisted we visit it to snap some pictures. After some muddy trucking through a canyon we pulled off on the shoulder of the dirt road and began our ascent up a path carved into the hillside. From the way the guys described the cave I was anticipating something vast with a gaping opening but who am I kidding, if something like that was sitting in San Diego way more people would know about it. When we finally reached the “cave” entrance it became apparent that this was not a cave but actually an old mine, this didn’t stop me from swiftly descending into the dark depths of the tunnel. I slapped my headlamp on and trudged into the darkness set on capturing some incredible long exposures of the space. Due to Bradleys cancer recovery it wasn’t the best idea for him to come into the mine because of poor air quality so Seth came along with me and we quickly began staging some cool shots!


the entrance to the mine, not very inviting if you ask me


Seth goes down the mine first, the initial stretch had very low ceilings


Looking down the first stretch of the mine


Seth being the talent for my staged shot “Mining School”


an interesting perspective looking out of the mine giving it a vertical feel


Bradley sitting guard at the entrance

We finished up exploring the mine and I ended up getting some surprisingly awesome shots (I had zero expectations before seeing it). Once back at the trucks I spotted a potential swimming hole down in the canyon not far off! If there is one thing I have a good sense for its finding cliff jumping spots. We decided to put the beach trip on hold and made our way down into the canyon for something potentially better. If it weren’t for all the rain the past two months I don’t think this creek would ever be flowing but luckily we caught it at the right time. We hopped some boulders and followed an overgrown path to the right of a rushing little river. After about a quarter of a mile we reached a rocky oasis and a spot that I couldn’t believe existed so centrally in San Diego. To find a water hole in Southern California that isn’t in the middle of nowhere is very rare as far as I’m concerned so I was filled with elation! Exploring cliff jumping spots has always been the root of my adventurous spirit. There is nothing quite like discovering a swimming hole that is completely secluded and potentially unknown to the masses. The same could be said for abandoned buildings as well…  when you find a “virgin” spot or a place that very few know about or have hit you feel a sense of accomplishment. It seems like a silly thing to be proud of but its more then pride, its the understanding that if you maintain discretion and don’t expose a location to the masses you can ultimately enjoy it for a longer period of time. (Spots get trashed, people get hurt, swimmers start getting fines…same story a million times over) Heres some flicks of the little oasis! I definitely want to camp or spend a day here before it all dries up. Not much to jump but definitely a great swimming hole!


We finished up poking around at the water hole and then Bradley told me he had an old train trestle bridge he wanted to bring me to near the coast. The last spot of the day was very interesting to me because of all the marine plant life around and under the bridge. I got my adrenaline pumping when I climbed up onto the single planks with my camera setup which is more than 5K in one hand…. I absolutely hate heights with my camera gear. Personally I don’t have an issue with heights but anytime my camera is involved whether its strapped to my wrist or secured to my tripod on the edge of a skyscraper… it freaks me the fuck out!


After crawling around on the bridge and getting some cool shots we quickly stopped by the beach to visit some friends and then Bradley dropped me off at my truck which was done being repaired. The little day adventure was so fun we decided to wing it and try and go camping in the desert the following day…. stay tuned for that adventure in the next blog post…. its a good one!


  • J.J

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s