Along the coast of Southern California, and within the community of La Jolla, San Diego, is two thousand acres of coastal state park called Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
Its namesake comes from the Torrey pine (Pinus torreyana), the rarest pine in North America and is officially listed as critically endangered. There are only two places on the planet where the Torrey pine can be found in the wild: within Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean, and on one of the Channel Islands off the coast of California. The plant has vanished over time due to the drying period over the last 10 years.
The sea cliffs of this nature preserve suffer from continual drought. The Torrey pine’s roots grow in poor sand. Their branches and needles are sometimes blasted by storms and continually cooked in hot sun, but the trees persists. Over time coastal winds twist the trees into beautiful sculptural shapes resembling large bonsai.
There is also a Torrey Pines Visitor Center which is located in a unique adobe structure built by the Scripps family in 1922. There’s the usual selling of bric-a-brac, but there’s lots of information about the park squirreled away in this tiny shop. Overall, well worth the visit.