How To Search

I thought I could just get in the car and drive to any pond or lake. Boy, was I wrong!

I start out plotting a route using maps on my 27" screen at home. Using a large monitor shows you much more than you get navigating on the road with Garmin or mobile-phone-based navigation.

However, having the coordinates of a pond does not mean you can find it. It might not be visible from the road, or accessible due to terrain or fences. I spotted this Carlsbad pond only by standing on the fender of my truck:

NOTE: much of hilly San Diego county does not have cellular phone reception!


Pond-finding takes two or more people for best results. One to drive and one to navigate 
{plus two in the back to provide water, food, advice and contradictory directions}.

Occasional partner John and I have equipped ourselves with 2 iPhones (one AT&T, one T-Mobile), the truck's navigation system, an iPad, the routing instructions, and a set of 10-12 images like this:

For efficiency's sake, on a short stop:
  • we leave the engine running 
  • one of us stands nearby, keeping the phones awake & route software going
  • one runs back to peek through a fence, sight through a hedge and take a few photos
A long stop involves:
  • finding a place to park
  • locating access to a trail
  • hiking for a mile or two
  • photos
  • back for some water & snacks
  • start up the maps and navigation (and truck)
  • onward again ...
Let me provide a few examples:


We had a unique experience at the Carlsbad Research Center Pond. We parked in a Law Firm parking lot, walked 100 yards or so up a hot asphalt roadway,

and discovered a beautifully-groomed, very civilized pond created for employee relaxation and contemplation.


We discovered this small Vista pond just driving by, headed elsewhere. It is across the road from a private community's gatehouse.

Robbie Lane pond is in the midst of a half-dozen houses, NOT on a golf course or estate.

Olive Hill pond is sunken into a hillside and was only spotted because the turn around it is so sharp you must slow to 10 mph.

I can also show you a pond that we saw and forgot to note where it was, thus provoking lots of head scratching. We eventually ran across it again by accident. Ladera Vista is its name:

Here are some ponds we missed even though they were only a quarter-mile apart from others that we found ...  Look below:

Moral of the story? You have to search - they don't often jump out and catch your attention and when you are driving around they may NOT appear on your phone or car screen. And certainly they may be fenced or shielded by reeds and trees.