Gas station without pumps

2022 January 3

Secret Walks: West Cliff

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On Saturday 1 January 2022, my wife and I  did a modified version of the West Cliff to the End and Back walk from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover. We started out taking King to Bay, then all the way down Bay to West Cliff, then followed the route in the book, which is just walking the length of the West Cliff path.  Because it was nice weather, a Saturday, and a holiday, the path was packed with people.  When we got to Natural Bridges State Beach, we decided not to walk back along West Cliff, with the crowds and traffic noise, and made our way back through the neighborhood instead.  Our route took us halfway up Modesto Alley, which we exited through the vacant lot between 235 and 243 Chico, up Chico to Modesto, then along Modesto to a right-of-way between Auburn and Sacramento, that leads to an entrance to Sargent Derby Park, through the park and out the driveway to Swift, up to Delaware, east on Delaware to Bethany Curve, up Bethany Curve to Pendegast, around the top of Errett Circle to California Avenue, stopping at the Santa Cruz Market for It’s It ice-cream sandwiches, along California to Van Ness, up to the parking lots to get over to Laurel, crossing Mission at Laurel, then back along Mission to look at the murals on the back of Sabieng Thai, then up Van Ness to home.  The walk out was 4 miles, and the walk back 2.9 miles, for a total of 6.9 miles.  It took us about 3:15, so our walking speed was a very slow 2.1 mph (probably because we stopped often to look out to sea or take pictures).


There were king tides last weekend, and the water level was as low as I’ve seen it, even though it was still a few hours to low tide. This rock was much more exposed than usual.


I’ve no idea what this concrete and wood construction is for, but I get the impression that it is usually submerged.


The rocks that the cormorants like to rest on were much more prominent than usual.


Here are the same rocks from above—you can see that the rocks are wet on top still from the earlier high tide (though that may be from wave splash, not full submersion). Looking into the sun for much of the walk made picture-taking difficult (as well as giving me a bit of a headache).


We have decided that any walk that involves water (streams or ocean) is only well-formed if we see an egret. Here are the obligatory egrets wading on a beach that is usually submerged. There is a small stream from a culvert coming in from the bottom right of this photo.


The base of these stairs is usually wet—and the rocks submerged.


More rocks on a beach that are usually submerged.


The ocean was very calm, so we saw only one surfer, but we did see a paddleboarder and a kayaker. These 6 paddlers in the outrigger canoe were making very good time.  (Apologies for the low quality—digital zoom is terrible.)


Another seasonal stream from a culvert.


The vacant lot on Chico has clearly been lovingly maintained by neighbors, as has most of the length of Modesto Alley.


I believe that this Little Free Library is at 247 Chico.


If I remember right, this cat on the fence overlooks the walkway that leads from Modesto Ave to Woodland Way aligned with the entrance to Sargeant Derby Park.


The exit from the Park goes out the drive way by Natural Bridges High School, where this mural can be seen.


This palm tree is unusual in having ivy growing up the bottom third of it—a rather mixed-up combination of climates.


This dragon windvane seems to be a new addition to Bethany Curve.

Most of the pictures I attempted on this walk did not come out well—either because of digital zoom or because I was shooting into the sun.  I have finally ordered a new camera (a Panasonic LUMIX ZS80), which I expect will arrive just after we finish doing all the walks in the book.

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