Gas station without pumps

2021 July 17

Secret Walks: Cowell Ranch Loop

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 15:11
Tags: , ,

Yesterday, my wife and I took our fourth walk based on Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover. We decided to do one that passes only half a block from our house, the Bay Street-Cowell Ranch Loop, and to do it in reverse order from the order in the book, as my wife did not like the idea of walking down the hill on Laurent, preferring to take that steep sidewalk uphill and walk down Bay.  Following the instructions backwards is not easy, so we mainly used the map. I had my camera with me, but I forgot to recharge the battery ahead of time, and so it ran out about ⅓ of the way through the route.


The pond in Westlake Park has a few tule reeds and a lot of algae. There were not many birds (just a couple of coots and a few swallows). I was amused to see that I am now old enough to fish in the pond (only children and those over 65 are allowed to fish), though I have no desire to do any fishing.


This weird-looking tree is one of two similar ones at the north end of the pond. We think it is a dawn redwood, but we’re not certain.


The cypresses on the front lawn of the Cardiff House (now used as the UCSC Women’s Center) are old and impressive. I like the burl on this one.


This cypress is almost obscene.


The cooperage is really falling apart, but there does not seem to be any funding to replace the rotted wood. I guess that UCSC is hoping for a donor to step up (as one did for the hay barn, which was in even worse shape).

The loop only goes up past the powder house to just below the hay barn on campus, coming down past the blacksmith shop, the cooperage, the cook house, and the barn that has been converted to a theater.  It then winds its way through “condoland”, down the center of Bay, past Trescony Park, and down Bay to California, coming back up Laurel.

Although most of the route was very familiar territory for us, including both my wife’s daily commute and part of mine, there were a couple of pedestrian shortcuts in condoland that we were not familiar with. (Sorry, my battery ran out before I got there, so no photos—the book has photos of both the walkways.)  The loop in the book is 4.9 miles, but with the suggested detour we took to the steps up to the old reservoir and the short distance between our house and the loop on King, we ended up walking about 5.2 miles.

1 Comment »

  1. […] and Miramar).  In order to show our son the “secret path” in condoland (from the Cowell Ranch loop), we trimmed the corner off at Bay and High.  The total walk was about 5.2 miles, and there is a […]

    Pingback by Secret Walks: Arboretum | Gas station without pumps — 2021 August 9 @ 13:07 | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: