A few weeks ago, the Tribune did a photo story on the dedication of the new sundial that was built by the Chamber of Commerce Leadership SLO XX Group. The dial is on a hill above the botanical gardens at El Chorro Regional Park (Off Hwy. 1 across from Cuesta College.) Although the dedication ceremony has already been held, when I asked at the Botanical Garden's main visitor's center, they said it wasn't quite finished so I presume they'll be adding better signage to make the path more visible and, no doubt, this being the Botanical Gardens, planting the area around the dial with native plants.
But, no matter, getting there's an easyish stroll. Park near the purple entryway to the botanical garden and bear rightish to get to the path that will lead to the greenhouses (to the rear, adjacent to the ball field fence/service road.) Cut left past the last greenhouse on the road and head up the roadway towards a lot of little palm trees that have recently been planted on the hill. On the leftish top of the hillside you're ascending, you'll see a weather vane. When you come to a fork, take the path that heads left off the road heading for that weather vane. (The path takes you through the little palm trees all hooked up to their drip water feeds.)
And voi la! There it is, a ring half in shadow, (Night, grey decomposed granite and flagstone) and half in sunlight (Day, an arc of "hour" segments in bright colored ceramic mosaic) that includes images of indigenous animals.
Inside the tree image are plaques arranged so that when you stand on the
plaque for the current month, your shadow will be cast on the numbered
hour arc. My watch said 1:20. How cool is that?
From the top you can see the Botanical Garden's visitor center below. When you come down from the hill, be sure to wander through the gardens and take a closer look at all the wonderful varieties of plants growing (and identified) there. The path will lead to the visitor center, which is a beautifully constructed, eco-designed building (hay bale construction in part) that deserves a closer look. They've got a gift store with water-thrifty native plants and other beautiful things for sale. The center also hosts a variety of activities, concerts, lectures, and, of course, you can get further information on how you can become a member and support the Garden. Or get on their mailing list for notices of their many programs.
And while you're there, if you're not familiar with El Chorro Park, take a meander through the park. In the back of the park (next to the off-leash dog park) is a nature hiking trail that leads deep into the wildlands of the park to the east. Perfect trail to meander down on a bright blue October morning. Might even spot some wild turkeys or a coyote ambling around . . . looking for some wild turkeys.