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2021 October 17

Secret Walks: Branciforte-Delaveaga

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On Saturday 16 October, my wife and I were feeling a little guilty about the short walk the week before, so we did one of the longer walks from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover—the Branciforte-Delaveagea loop.  The loop itself is 5.4 miles, but we added 1.7 miles at each end, for a total of 8.8 miles.

[24 October 2021: I forgot to say last week that we did have one suggestion for an improvement to the loop—rather than walking down La Fonda after crossing and walking along Soquel, it would be better to take the sidewalk in front of the Santa Cruz Adult School, and walk down Park Way.]

We had lunch near the end of the walk on the back patio of the Crêpe Place.  It was quite pleasant there in the shade next to the fountain, and we were there late enough in the afternoon (around 3 p.m.) that there were few others dining.


This is one of the new ocean-themed murals around town—it seems rather crudely drawn compared to most.


We rather liked the way this stump of a palm tree had been decorated for Halloween.


We’ve always admired this blue and cream house on N. Branciforte Ave. If I remember from the historic plaque correctly (it’s been a couple of years since I looked), it was originally the home of a dentist.


This little free library on N. Branciforte is very nicely painted.


Nicely painted on both sides.


We don’t see many pomegranate trees around town—I’m not sure it gets warm enough for them to ripen properly.


This little free library is on Goss.


The pillars at the west end of Old Vineyard Trail used to be part of the main entrance to Delaveaga Park, back when there was a streetcar that went there.


There was once a zoo in the park also—I believe that this concrete foundation was part of the zoo.


I have no idea what this weird shed is, nor why it has steps down to the retaining wall.


The radio tower is a distinctive landmark. It is probably for the 911 services that are in Delaveaga Park, just above the Audrey Stanley Grove stage for Santa Cruz Shakespeare.


There is a nice stand of prickly pears in one place just beside the Old Vineyard Trail. They make a nice change from the eucalyptus, pine, and coast live oak.


Here the trail opens up to a flat field covered with both coast live oak and European cork oaks.


Yet another little free library—this one on Prospect Heights.


This green and yellow house has a very European style with very Californian landscaping.


I like the roofline and the wind vane on the top of Gault School (picture taken from the back of the playground).


The main door for Gault School is an impressive entrance.


The auditorium door is also fine. They don’t seem to make schools like this in California any more—all the more recent ones are really rather ugly.


Another new mural—this one on the side of Harts Fabric, right next to the Roller Palladium (which still has roller-skating parties, after being in business for 70 years).


Another new mural on Soquel Ave.


Many of the murals are tucked away in pedestrian alleys—you really can’t see them from cars.


I’ve always liked the mosaics on the Soquel Ave bridge, made by local middle-school students, but they are often hard to photograph.

After the walk, I shaped my focaccia dough (I’d used basically the same recipe as Sourdough focaccia 2, but with only bread flour) and took a 2-hour nap.  After the nap, I baked the focaccia and my wife made a small frittata and a lovely butternut-squash soup to complete our dinner.

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