Follow Peter Fish into a nature-filled trail filled with the scents and wonder of spring
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Maybe you are, like me, a casual visitor to San Diego,California. And maybe you, like me, think of it as a city ofbeaches, sunshine, the Padres, and pandas. These are its obviousattractions ― except for the pandas, which are invariablyhiding when you try to see them at the zoo. What Eric Bowlby wantspeople to know is that San Diego is also a city of canyons.
This is why, on a morning so fine you feel your feet arefloating 2 inches off the ground, I am following Bowlby down atrail into one of his favorite canyons, Switzer, just east ofBalboa Park.
Bowlby got his current role as the Paul Revere of San Diegocanyons in a circuitous way. Raised in Massachusetts, he followed agirlfriend out to San Diego and got involved in environmentalissues because he was playing in a band with a bunch of envirodudes. One day he and his friends noticed that the city was aboutto push an access road through Switzer Canyon. Unhappy, theyorganized a canyon-side community meeting ― and wereastonished by the turnout. "We got tons of people," he says, "evenon a rainy day."
We follow the trail down a medium-steep slope lined withlemonade berry. "Most people don't realize that San Diego Countyhas more endangered species than any other county in thecontinental United States," Bowlby says. "It's because we havetremendous biodiversity ― coast, lagoons, mesas, mountains,deserts. And endangered because we've paved over a lot ofhabitat."