Just next to the thriving metropolis of La Mesa, CA is the thriving census-designated place of Casa de Oro-Mount Helix (named after the European snail Helix aspersa), home to Mt. Helix, atop of which sits Mt. Helix Park , the “Crown Jewel of East County”.

We live close enough to Mt. Helix that we can see it from our backyard and visit often.  It’s an incredible place to watch the sun set over San Diego.

This way to Mt. Helix.

This way to Mt. Helix.

It’s an easy drive; signs are everywhere.

Ancient graffiti on Mt. Helix.

Ancient graffiti on Mt. Helix.

Folks have been active here for a long time, by American standards.

The stairs and seats of the Mt. Helix amphitheater. Bring a cushion....

The stairs and seats of the Mt. Helix amphitheater. Bring a cushion….

The “Friends of the Park” sponsor many events in the park’s amphitheater.

One of the many plaques at Mt. Helix.

One of the many plaques at Mt. Helix.

According to the Mt. Helix Park’s website: “Built as a memorial to Mary Carpenter Yawkey, Mt. Helix Park with its huge outdoor Amphitheatre nestled into the hillside below the magnificent 35-foot-tall Christian Cross crowning this 1,370 foot mountain peak, is one of the most recognized landmarks in San Diego County.”

The Mt. Helix cross, surrounded by a fence crowned with crosses.

The Mt. Helix cross, surrounded by a fence crowned with crosses.

Yes, the cross is BIG.

You are probably thinking, “Wait a minute.  That’s a symbol of Christianity on public lands, which Article I of the United State Constitution has been interpreted to forbid.”  And, although you may be correct, there are a sufficient number of Supreme Court justices who see otherwise, so the cross can stay.

The sun sets, reminding us that the sun is, indeed, yellow.

The sun sets, reminding us that the sun is, indeed, yellow.

Okay, but we are here to watch sunsets, so let’s get to it!

Hints of blue color the clouds.

Hints of blue color the clouds.

The top of the mountain affords a grand view to the horizon.

The spit of land on the right is Point Loma.

The spit of land on the right is Point Loma.

Sometimes the view is unworldly.

The hotels on Coronado can be seen on the thin beach that connects the peninsula to Imperial Beach, CA.

The hotels on Coronado can be seen on the thin beach that connects the peninsula to Imperial Beach, CA.

On cloudy days, the sun illuminates the bottom of the clouds just before it falls below the horizon.

The sun colors the sky all shades of red and yellow.

The sun colors the sky all shades of red and yellow.

The evening sky favors us with a dazzling display of colors.

Enjoy this slideshow of even more sunsets.  🙂 

This long exposure shows the highways stretching to the sea.

This long exposure shows the highways stretching to the sea.

Eventually, it becomes dark enough and the lights of San Diego county come alive, outlining the neighborhoods with roads and highways.

Of course, you can always face east towards the Laguna Mountains and watch the moon rise.

awa Travels Tip: If you live to be 100 years old, you will have experienced over 36,500 sunsets and sunrises, yet each holds its own beauty.  Take a few moments to smile and appreciate this gift.