Gas station without pumps

2021 September 16

Secret Walks: Harvey West Loop

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 15:49
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On Saturday August 28 and Saturday September 4, my wife and I took another walk from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover. This time we did the Harvey West Loop.

Why two weekends? Well, it is a bit complicated. My wife does not like walking downhill, particularly not on steep, narrow, possibly slippery trails, and so we decided to the the loop in the reverse direction from the book.  We also started the loop in the middle, at High and Highland, as that was the closest point to our house.  The first part of our loop, into Harvey West Park, was familiar to us and we had no problems, but we could not figure out what trail we were supposed to take through the woods to get to the stairs at the top of the park.  We eventually retraced our route and did the downtown half of the loop.

On Tuesday August 31, I went by myself to do the Harvey West half of the loop by myself in the forward direction.  I had no trouble following the route in that direction, but I did not want to take the High–Coral bike path for a third time, so I tried a different way home, going up the Wagner Grove trail and coming back down Spring Street and past Westlake.  That route was about 4 miles.

On Saturday September 4, my wife and I did the Harvey West part of the loop in the reverse direction, now that I knew which path to take.  The photos below are from all three walks, but are ordered in the way we had intended to do the walk originally (starting at Highland and High, doing the reverse of the Harvey West loop, and then the reverse of the downtown portion).  I’ve added a few photos that were off the main route in appropriate places.

The California buckeye is rather strange, in that it loses its leaves during the summer. The fruit has not yet developed the dark brown that it gets later in the season.

We walked past the cemetery, but did not go in. Some day we should take the tour that the Museum of Art and History has put together.

Although we did not go into the cemetery, I took a picture of the Chinese arch with my camera zoomed way in.

The city no longer allows children to play on the steam engine in the park, though they did about 20 years ago, when our son was about the right age for that.

This is the pump track at Harvey West, which we went past on our first visit. This view is from past where we should have turned.

If you go well past the pump track, to the end of the park, there is this rather interesting multi-trunk tree. If you get here, you’ve definitely gone way past where you should have turned.

Coming back we passed the spiderweb playground, which was not seeing much use.

This is the correct (east) end of the pump track, opposite where the trail goes up.

This is the entrance to the trail—the rail fence is for the pump track.

Going up has several switchbacks, like this one.

Yet another switchback.

After the switchbacks, there is a wooden bridge, which is mentioned in the book, as there is a fork in the trail going in the downhill direction that the book suggests.

Looking down the incorrect fork of the trail from the bridge shows a fallen tree almost blocking the path up from Wagner Grove.

Let’s take a short break here for some photos of the Wagner Grove trail, which is a gentler way up to the bridge.

The service road at the east end of Harvey West Park (just above Wagner Cottage) leads through Wagner Grove.

Wagner Grove itself is marked with a commemorative plaque. At the time I wrote this message, Google maps has incorrect information about Wagner Grove, putting it in Evergreen Cemetery instead of in Harvey West Park. They also have a photo of the cemetery, rather than of Wagner Grove. I’ve sent them feedback, but it might take them a while to fix the map.

Here is a view from the downhill side of the fallen tree blocking the trail. It does not completely block the trail, but the part underneath has a steep slide slope and looks like slippery dirt.

This graffiti summarized my feelings about going under the fallen tree.

Luckily, I had noticed a trail just a little ways back that connected the Wagner Grove trail to the upper trail that the book had us use.

The connecting trail had stairs at the top, as well as at the bottom, so was much easier for me than squeezing under the fallen tree.

Getting back to the main route:

There are some fairly long stairs for the steep part of the hill.

After the stairs and a switchback, there is a final bridge and stairs out to Meadow Court.

The entrance to the park at the end of Meadow Court is easy to find in the forward direction.

We always stop at the Little Free Libraries that we pass on our walks. This one is on Sheldon.

This is the top of the Logan steps, which provides a pedestrian shortcut to cut off the big switchback on Highland.

This is what the Logan steps look like from the bottom—a long steep sidewalk with the steps at the top end.

Let’s return now to the downtown portion of the loop:

The plaque commemorating London Nelson’s gift to the Santa Cruz schools should really be replaced with one that spells his name correctly.

The frescoes in the Post Office are quite nice.

I only took photos of two of the frescoes, because the other one is behind a locked gate on Saturdays, when part of the lobby of the post office is closed.

Finally, I’ll toss in a couple more Little Free Libraries:

This one is on High Street, and I did not initially recognize it as a library.

This one is on Escalona.

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