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Tide Pools, Views and Lighthouse are the Stars at Cabrillo National Monument

Published by Terri Graham


So there I stood, at the southwest tip of the United States, socializing with new friends as we learned about sea creatures inhabiting the tide pools before us. Snails, urchins, abalone, crabs and many species of fish fascinated us as we explored their fragile world. This terrific tidal ecology show was then capped by a golden sunset over the Pacific.

During my visit, I found myself reflecting upon this striking setting. Rich in history and natural beauty, the region’s only national park features views of San Diego’s coastline from 400 feet above the ocean. It also boasts a historic museum, lighthouse, military fort and two-mile hiking trail.

Toting a picnic lunch, I strolled with my group down a pretty, paved path off Cabrillo Memorial Drive, where we were greeted by a national park ranger. Together, we entered the park’s delicate Rocky Intertidal Zone, where leopard sharks darted just below the water’s surface and where tiny hermit crabs clung to the rocks. Also, what resembled bits of rock here and there were actually sea anenomes underneath.

It should be noted that these were not your typical beachy tidepools; instead, the pools exist below rocky shelf-like cliffs, which the ocean reveals at low tide, leaving the pools filled with marine life for viewing. As the tide comes in, the waves crash against the rocks, sending salt spray majestically into the air.

Charmed by the beautiful views of the Coronado Islands to the south and the amber glow of a gorgeous sunset, I was again reminded of the sacredness of this lovely place. I felt like the 16th-century explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo himself, on my own voyage of discovery.

The only thing better was sharing the experience with others. In that spirit, the foundation offers memberships for everyone. Annual memberships include:

* Annual Cabrillo National Monument Pass*
* Invitations to members-only special evening events, activities and lectures
* 15% Discount at the Cabrillo National Monument Bookstore
* Discounts at Participating Cooperating Association Bookstores located at other National Parks
* Your name listed on cnmf.org
* A Cabrillo Pin
* Monthly Highlights E-Blast, News You Can Use
* *All membership levels of $100.00 or greater may request second Annual Park Pass
* **Lighthouse Members and above receive a private Park tour for six.

* Supporting $25 *(Active Military, Seniors 62+ and Park Volunteers – No Annual Pass included)
* Monument $40
* Trail Blazer $75
* Tide Pool* $100
* Lighthouse** $500
* Cabrillo Legacy** $1000
For more details, visit the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation at http://www.cnmf.org/mm5/merchant.mvc, e-mail CabrilloNMF@aol.com or call (619) 222-4747.

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