This post is going to upset some folks, I can tell. They’re not going to be happy watching me expose yet another Normal Heights Park that has, until now remained almost completely hidden from the public. In my last post I explained my obsession with Google maps and finding a route across the Northern face of Normal Heights.
My quest for such a trail continues yet. In failing to find the route, however, I did succeed in acquainting myself with the single largest Park in Normal Heights and perhaps a contender for the 2nd or 3rd largest park in the city -Balboa Park naturally occupying the top spot.
Normal Heights Open Space Park is a gem of connected canyonlets and runoffs at least three major canyons meet at its center where the Park then dallies about before emptying itself beneath the 15 freeway. For an Open Space Park I found it extraordinarily well maintained and cared for, especially at the Canyon bottom.
Disturbingly, the entrance to the park found at the dead-end of Eugene Place, was the least maintained area I found. Parking is nonexistent. Heavy rains have eroded large sections of the cliffside and getting down was not the easiest feat. Once in the Canyon however, the lush and verdant beauty of the Park kept TaTa and I thoroughly interested. There are massive Eucalyptus trees, Palms, and even a Manzanita or two. A small pond had formed beneath the side of a thickly spired Palm tree.
During a more climatically typical time of year I’m certain that Normal Heights Open Space park would have been much more dry and less alive than TaTa and I found it. We paid the price with muddy boots and paws but it was well worth it to traipse around what felt like a secret garden.
One last point about Normal Heights Open Space Park. It was not only unlisted in Google Maps, but the City of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation department didn’t give it so much as a mention in its exhaustive online Map. For Google’s’ part it appeared that there was a minor construction crew that blocked the Google Cars’ way before the be-camera-ed vehicle could reach the end of Eugene Place, at which point the Park would have come into focus.
Rather interesting timing.
From what I can tell there is no other entrance to the Park but the one on Eugene Place. The houses that surround the Park completely buttress it from public view. These reasons combined with a totally successful and perhaps deliberately contrived lapse in accounting for the massive space thereby keeping the Park off of the City of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Website, lead me to conclude that the residents of Normal Heights have perhaps been the victim of a sort of ‘theft by opportunity.’ If you can’t tell already I’ve been keywording the hell out of this post to ensure that the next intrepid Internet searcher comes across more than I did.
We all have our special places, geophysically. I’m hoping that where I see a sort of proud and slightly malicious intent; is pehaps merely administrative incompetence.
I have added the Park to Google Maps and included enough pictures to make it enticing for anyone willing and wanting a little adventure.