Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Man versus nature

Beautiful Beacon's beach
Ahhh . . . beautiful Southern California!  The beaches go on forever, and you barely even notice when the seasons change.  It's a luxurious January getaway for those of us who live in the frozen north, who fend off nature's winter assaults by relocating snow with shovels or huge machines, and burning lots of carbon-based fuels to stay warm.

Did I mention that the January sun shines warmly in San Diego? Except for when it rains, a lot, like this year, but I'll get into that in a second.

Blue skies, brown pelicans, and big bluff-top homes.
If you have plenty of money, (or you got in when the market was low) you can own real estate in a Southern California beach community.  If you are wealthy, you and your neighbors can perch your homes atop the bluff overlooking the blue Pacific ocean.  What could be better than al fresco dining on your own spacious deck above the sea?

Frank climbing the trail post surf session.
Pesky ominous sign.

Bluff-top homes with elaborate beach-access stairs
If you are the proud owner of beach-front property, why would you mess with the public beach access (as fine as it is)?  At Beacon's Beach, for example, public access comes with a long walk down a switch-backy trail, and pesky ominous signs about bluff erosion.

Naturally, the smart homeowner desires private access to the beach. People construct some pretty amazing stairways to get themselves, their kids, and their gear down to beach level.  Here are some groovy examples.
I love the rock work on this one.
Pretty slick; you can pull up the gangplank at the end of the day.

Did I mention that it has been raining a lot in SoCal this year?  Yeah.  It started in October and pretty much rained on and off for months.  This has saturated the soil, and any bits of earth that are not covered with concrete are showing signs of erosion.  Bluff slippage has been going on for years, no surprise, and homeowners have used some creative techniques to slow the inexorable forces of water and gravity.
Concrete and lots of trips to Home Depot.
Plastic sheeting - probably a stop-gap measure.
New concrete retaining walls with groundcover sandwiched between.

The neighbors went with the same builder.
Among the many pleasures of beachcombing along this stretch of shore, is acting as amateur archaeologist.  The tiny strip of cobbles and sand is filled with the artifacts of homeowners' attempts at shoring up their bits of paradise.  I'll wrap up this blog post with some photos of my peripatetic excavations.
I imagine these seemed pretty sturdy at the time.
Notice the prehistoric concrete stairs on the sand.
I'm so sorry.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god, you crack me up. Man, do I miss you :)