Gas station without pumps

2022 March 30

Secret Walks: Koi-to-koi

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On Saturday 27 March 2022, my wife and I took a long walk that visited two koi ponds: one on campus and one just off campus in the Pogonip.  The originally planned walk was 4.59 miles, but we had a few mistakes that increased it to 7.27 miles.  A koi-to-koi walk that started at the Rachel Carson bus stop, went without detours from the Porter koi pond to the Pogonip koi pond, then back to the Cowell/Stevenson bus stop would be about 2.6 miles.  Most of this walk was in the detours and walking home from the Pogonip.


(Click map for high-resolution version) We started by taking the 19 bus to the Rachel Carson College stop, then went to Porter College to view the koi pond there. Then we walked across campus to Quarry Plaza, where we had lunch from a food truck, then over to Stevenson college (the red route on the map). We had planned to go across the parking lot to McLaughlin and to the trailhead to the Pogonip (yellow route), but my wife had left her hiking pole at Quarry Plaza, so we went back there (pink path), then over to the Chadwick Garden, with the intention of going through the garden and out the lower gate. Unfortunately the lower gate was padlocked, so we had to retrace our steps out of the garden (brown route). We walked on McLaughlin to get to the Pogonip, but I misjudged the distance on the map and went past the turnoff to the koi pond. Instead we continued all the way to Fern Trail, where I realized we’d made a mistake and got out my phone (cheating!) and went down Spring Trail (purple path) to the other end of the route to the koi pond (olive path). We walked up that path, while the original plan had been to walk down it. My wife did not like the idea of walking back down it, preferring the extra ⅔ mile of redoing the purple route. We then headed down Spring Trail to Kalkar Quarry (green route) and took an alternative route back from the quarry (blue route).


This lamp post at Porter College has a rather creepy Big-Brother vibe.


The koi pond at Porter can be identified by this fountain, which circulates the water and keeps it aerated.


Here is one of the large koi in the pond.


Two more of the koi.


This one has particularly fancy fins.


Although people are not supposed to feed the koi, the koi do come to investigate any visitors, and swim away again when no food is forthcoming.


Porter has a long tradition of student -painted murals. The current crop seem to be advertisements for Porter—less witty than some of the ones from decades ago. Perhaps the approval process for them has gotten more bureaucratic or committee-based?


A door mural, again with the advertising theme.


A mural that seems a little more artist-directed and less “Porter ad”.


Forget-me-nots were blooming in the woods.


This covered bike parking at Kerr Halls has almost never been used—it does not help that you would have to manage a flight of stairs to get to it, and almost no one knows the parking is there.


When the path was redone, these bike parking posts at Kerr Hall were rendered unusable.


I think that this nettle-like flower is a California hedge nettle (Stachys bullata).


This wild turkey was unusual in being alone, rather than in a large flock.


Violets were also blooming.


There is a fine flannel bush (Fremontodendron californicum) next to the parking lot by the Bay Tree Bookstore (which has been officially renamed the Bay Tree Campus Store, as they no longer sell books). We ate our lunch under the flannel bush.


At Cowell College the dogwood trees were blooming. I liked the shape of this particular blossom, though it is not the characteristic shape for dogwood blossoms.


The entrance to Stevenson College has this rhododendron in a ceramic pot—I think that it has outgrown the pot and needs to be repotted.


The Chadwick Garden is looking a bit weedy, though some beds have clearly been cleared and planted for spring crops.


There is a nice arbor covered with Lady Banks’ roses at the east end of the Chadwick Garden.


This berry seems out of season—I would not expect the flowers for another month yet.


The jasmine was blooming next to the road below the Chadwick Garden.


In the Pogonip, past where we had planned to turn, there is a very Romanic ruin of a limekiln. It is not a folly, though it is is maintained like one.


An adjacent limekiln.


I was a little surprised to see a red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) in the woods, as it is native to the northeast US and Canada, not to California.


These are the steps that we took from Spring Trail up (and up) to the koi pond—our original plan had been to come down that path from the pond.


The koi in the Pogonip were hard to photograph, because there was a lot of sunlight on the surface and the water was not very clear. This impressionistic painterly shot was the best I could do.


This tree seems to have a bit of a cave under its roots (too small for anything bigger than an opossum).


This wire fence along Spring Trail has an unusual mesh, but seems to be in good shape, so I doubt that it is very old.


This flower at the end of a tall, smooth stem seems to be “blue dicks” (Dipterostemon capitatus). I don’t remember ever seeing it before.


I thought these were morning glory, but (based on the leaf shape), I think my wife is right that these are the invasive bindweed.


This appears to be some sort of lupine.


There were fields of California poppies in bloom also.


I always have trouble getting closeups of California poppies, as my camera wants to overexpose the petals. This is the best I’ve managed so far (and it took some exposure correction in Photoshop Elements).

The alternative route back from Kalkar Quarry involved going through the opening in the fence off Limestone Lane into the UCSC faculty housing, then along that fence down to the Peace United Church of Christ property, and down a concrete drainage swale.  When we were there, there was a concert r rehearsal going on in the church, with what sounded like a brass ensemble—it made for a very dramatic soundtrack to our walking down the drainage swale.

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