GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Disc golfing at Morley Field #4

Posted by George J Janczyn on January 28, 2018

(Part 4 in the series of selected Morley Field disc golfing photos that I shot between 1979-82. Click images for enlargements.)

15-cents bag of chips, 30-cents candy bars, 40-cents granola bars, $4.95 hats. Snapper at far right waiting for customers.


Warming up with a game of hacky sack.

Waiting for a competition to get underway.

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Disc golfing at Morley Field #3

Posted by George J Janczyn on January 23, 2018

(Part 3 in the series of selected Morley Field disc golfing photos that I shot between 1979-82. Click images for enlargements.)

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Viewing the Pine Valley Creek Bridge from the Secret Canyon Trail

Posted by George J Janczyn on January 17, 2018

If you’ve driven on Interstate 8 east as far as Pine Valley you’ve almost certainly taken notice while driving over the high-altitude Pine Valley Creek Bridge just before the Pine Valley exit. Formally known as the Nello Irwin Greer Memorial Bridge it is considered one of the highest bridges in the U.S. (450 feet high).

Looking to get some photos of the bridge we learned that the Secret Canyon Trail goes beneath it. We found the trailhead by getting on Old Hwy 80 in Pine Valley and driving a few miles west to Pine Valley-Las Bancas Road where there’s a big Cleveland National Forest sign announcing the “Pine Creek Trailhead” on the south side of the road.

It’s a short drive south to the end of the road where there’s ample parking and restrooms. A US Forest Service Adventure Pass must be displayed in the windshield in order to park here. A sign marks the beginning of the trail just south of the restrooms.

The trail starts on the west side of the canyon and quickly drops to make a crossing at Pine Creek. If it has rained recently you may not feel like trying to cross, but when we went it was about 3 weeks since the last significant rain and there was just a moderate flow. It’s usually pretty easy to cross as long as the water isn’t running too deep. We’ve hiked the trail a number of times over the years and only once did we have to turn back because of unexpected high water.

The trail continues south above the east bank, sometimes gaining elevation in the canyon above the creek, sometimes descending to creek level. It’s an attractive and pleasant trail with oak and willow trees, manzanita groves, and numerous other plants. It’s approximately 2 miles (one-way) to the bridge and I’d classify the trail as moderately difficult because of the elevation gain and loss which is about 600 feet according to various trail guides. You can always take it more slowly to make it easier, it’s not that far.

Here are the photos (click images for an enlargement to open in a separate browser tab).

Here’s our parking spot above the creek. The canyon goes south to the right.


Sign marking the beginning of the trail.


This is the creek crossing when it’s pretty easy to hop across.


This was the same crossing on another day when a decision was required about getting wet up to the knees!


This is on the trail at about the halfway point, looking back towards our starting point.


Continuing along the trail the bridge comes into view.


Getting closer.


Almost there.


Sun in our eyes.


The bridge appears to mark a popular jet route too.


Looking up from the creekbed.


This was taken from the south side after passing beneath the bridge.


We hiked another 1/4 mile further south beyond the bridge so we could get this clear view of the whole thing (looking north).

As you can see from that last picture, once you cross south of the bridge the trees pretty much disappear and the trail gets hot and dry so unless you’ve planned a much longer hike it’s a good place to turn around.

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Disc golfing at Morley Field #2

Posted by George J Janczyn on January 13, 2018

(Part 2 in the series of selected Morley Field disc golfing photos that I shot between 1979-82.)

Group watches a partner driving on hole 12.

Another drive on hole 12.

Focused on target!

Putting on what I think was hole 9 at the time.

Player beneath tree on right making a long attempt at the basket on hole 3.

Sizing up the putt for hole 2.

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Disc golfing at Morley Field

Posted by George J Janczyn on January 8, 2018

Morley Field Disc Golf Course was the brainchild of Snapper Pierson, an avid disc golfer who in 1978 worked to convince Balboa Park management to let him build a disc golf course in a little-used portion of Morley Field just east of the archery range. He installed concrete tee pads, erected signs and baskets, watered and groomed the landscape, and more. Soon he was able to convert storage space in a brick building that housed the public restrooms to open a small pro shop from which to operate. He began to sell discs and refreshments and organized competitive tournaments. At first use of the course was free of charge but eventually a fee was needed to help pay for the expense of maintaining the course.

Above section crossed out after Snapper sent me this correction:

“Ed Headrick the founder of Disc Golf put the course in the park in August of 1977. The city paid 1/2 $2500 and Wham-o MFG. paid the other half on a matching grant program that Ed had set up with them before he left their employ as a VP in charge of product development. Ed invented the modern Frisbee by putting flight lines on the Pluto Platter and coming up with the first Pro model Frisbee for Wham-o. The city took out the course in late 1977 to put in the restroom and I got tired of waiting for it to be put back into the ground so I went to the Tennis courts and took back our baskets and put them back in the ground in 1978. Ed declared my course pro after that and the city asked me to put in a shop in 1979 and use the backroom at the bathroom for storage.”

The course continues to grow in popularity (click here for more Morley Field history).

My neighbor Bruce Woodruff told me about the course in 1979 when I was living in Hillcrest. Soon I was hooked and we would head over to the course almost every day after work to shoot an evening round with friends and acquaintances.

In those days I was teaching myself photography and practiced by taking pictures of disc golfing at Morley Field. I shot exclusively in black & white because I developed and printed my pictures in a homemade darkroom in my apartment bathroom and it was less expensive and complicated than processing in color. Since then most of my negatives have been filed away in binders.

I recently bought a film scanner in order to convert the negatives to digital format, both for preservation purposes and to able to share some photos online. Who knows, some people might come across these pictures and see themselves. I’ll be posting a selection of photos in a short series of posts in the coming weeks. This is the first installment.

(For enlargements, click any image for an enlargement to open in a separate browser tab.)

Snapper Pierson demonstrates a catch called “scarecrow.” His shirt: 1979 World Frisbee Disc Golf Champion.

After one of the earliest local tournaments, Snapper gives cash payout to Bruce Woodruff.

Shooting on hole 10 just outside the pro shop.

Another view of the tee pad for hole 10.

A long putt for hole 1.

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A stroll in Pacific Beach down Garnet Ave from Ingraham St to Crystal Pier and back again

Posted by George J Janczyn on December 31, 2017

A slideshow of photos taken on December 22, 2017.

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Here’s what bicycling in San Diego should be like

Posted by George J Janczyn on July 1, 2017

During our recent visit to Canada we saw a considerable number of bicycle commuters in downtown Montreal and Vancouver, far more than we ever do in downtown San Diego and vicinity. I think their street accommodations and strategic use of one-way streets might have something to do with it!

René Lévesque Boulevard in Montreal about 1/2 km east of Chinatown.


Downtown Montreal, Blvd de Maisonneuve at Rue Peel.


Downtown Montreal. Sometimes there were more bicycles than cars on the road.


Downtown Monteral. This was typical at all times of the day.


Vancouver is a role model for what support for bicycling can do. In 2015 the city reported 131,000 bicycle trips (


Downtown Vancouver.

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California Tower, Balboa Park

Posted by George J Janczyn on June 9, 2017

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Trestles (San Onofre State Beach)

Posted by George J Janczyn on May 21, 2017

Trestles is immediately south of San Clemente. We went midweek so it wasn’t crowded. Parking for the trailhead can be found just east of the Christianitos Rd offramp from I-5 and it’s about a 15-minute walk on the trail to the beach. The big attraction here is the great surfing, of course, but it’s a nice place to walk along the shoreline, explore the surroundings, relax on the sand, and enjoy the sights.

(for enlargements click images)

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The not-so-safe way down to Black’s Beach

Posted by George J Janczyn on May 15, 2017

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