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2022 April 30

Secret Walks: Climate Action Fair

On Saturday, 23 April 2022, my wife and I walked to the Seymour Center to see what the Climate Action Fair was like.  We decided to take a different route there than returning, taking advantage of what we had learned from the Long-Antonelli Loop.


Click for high-resolution map. We went down King to the end (red), then over to Swift down to the rail-trail, down Natural Bridges to Delaware, Delaware to the trailer park, and around the pond to the bridge (yellow), then over to UCSC’s coastal campus and to the Seymour Center parking lot (green) where the Fair was held. Our return route went on the paths through the coastal campus, crossing the tracks at Shaffer Road, Mission to Western Drive, then Grandview to Escalona to Anthony to Bay to King and home (blue). The whole walk was about 5.6 miles.

I got a few decent bird and flower photos on the walk:


These blossoms on a tree on King Street were unfamiliar to us. After searching with Google Lens (using this and another photo of the tree), I think is is either an ash or a pistachio tree.


There are plenty of lupines blooming around town, but I can’t tell the different species and cultivars apart.


I was trying to take a picture of the fortnight lily—the hoverfly was an unexpected bonus.


Now that the trees and shrubs have leafed out, we only get peeks at Antonelli Pond from Delaware Ave.


In the park by the pond in the trailer park, California poppies are blooming.


So are the water lilies in the pond.


We did not recognize this yellow flower, but Google Lens identified it as silverweed.


In the overflow from the pond down to the beach, we saw a dark-eyed junco bathing. I had a hard time photographing it, because it moved around a lot, dunking itself and shaking the water off.


Here is a view of the pocket beach from the Peter Sunzeri Memorial Bridge over the pond.


One of the mobile homes has these cheerful porpoises decorating the end wall.


From Horizon Drive, there is a very good view of Natural Bridges State Beach and the tidepools. The tide seemed unusually low to us.


I can’t resist taking pictures of these agave whenever I pass them.


The mast of the wrecked ship La Feliz is still on display on the edge of the cliff, but I don’t know much longer it will be there—it looks like a good storm could either break the mast or erode the cliff beneath it.


We saw this song sparrow, but could not identify what sort of sparrow it was until I got the zoomed-in pictures off my camera.


Here is another view of the song sparrow.


At the Climate Action Fair, the best table was for the Marine Mammal Center, who had some lovely casts of skulls of marine mammals (and a few real skulls, though not in this photo).


More of the cast skulls, plus a couple of real skulls in front—the white one with a crest is the skull of a male sea lion .

There looked like there were other interesting tables and activities at the Climate Action Fair, but the awful music was way too loud and unrelenting. I’m going deaf and I found the music uncomfortably loud—my wife could not stand to be closer than about a quarter mile from it. Going into the Seymour Center only made the noise worse. Talking to people at the tables was nearly impossible, so we just got arepas from the Pana food truck and went home. If I knew who was responsible for organizing the fair, and if I knew they were planning to do such a fair again, I would tell them to throw away the amplifiers—have acoustic music or no music, so that the other activities had a chance.


We were unable to identify this yellow flower—we think it is probably a California native planted as part of the restoration of the wetlands, but my photo was not distinctive enough to identify it.


This yellow flower seems to be a gumweed, though I’m not sure which one.


We consider our walks well-formed if we see an egret—and here was a great egret hunting in the grasslands that (in a normal rain year) would be wetlands.


The great egret was successful in its hunt—we think it caught a gopher, but at max zoom I could not hold the camera steady enough (even with the monopod) to get a clear photo of the prey.


We saw a Little Free Library in the middle of the Homeless Garden, but I only took a photo of it from the road—we did not wish to take books away from the homeless people that the library was clearly intended for.


This grand pink flower stalk is from a Bechorneria. (The leaves are green—those red leaves in front are a different plant.)


The bees really love the echium flowers. I think that this was a different echium than Pride of Madeira, but I could be wrong.


As we crossed Highway 1 at Western Drive, we saw a shaved-ice truck parked in the shade, but we did not stop to get anything, as we had the walk light to cross the other way.


The leucospermums are still blooming all over town.


We had not seen this Little Free Library before, but there was nothing in it that we fancied.


This weird blue and purple flower seems to be a Cerinthe major (also known as honey wort).

2021 September 22

Secret Walks: Long-Antonelli loop

I’m finally catching up on blogging about our walks from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover. On Saturday 18 September, my wife and I did the loop walk for the Long Marine Lab and Antonelli Pond.  The loop itself is 2.7 miles, but we added 1.8 miles getting there and 2.3 miles getting home, for a total of 6.8 miles.


These fish sculptures are outside the new Hampton Inn Santa Cruz West on Mission Street.


The first part of the walk uses a public beach access through the large manufactured-home park at the end of Delaware Ave. We had never walked that route before, and we were surprised both by how big the trailer park is and how nice the ponds are along the coastal access.


Here is a view of the pond a little lower down, showing the bridge over the ponds.


After the ponds there is a little pocket beach, which is what the path is providing access to.


The lowest end of the ponds has a bit of algae covering it, despite the aerating fountains. This is the view from bridge, looking out towards the pocket beach.


The view in the other direction from the bridge shows the pond and the cute little island in the middle of it.


The gazebo is just for the residents of the manufactured-home park, so we did not go in, but it seems to have a commanding view of the ocean and of Natural Bridges State Beach.


Zooming in gives a nice view of Natural Bridges State Beach.


Both my wife and I like the Seussian look of tall aloe plants.

The coastal access provides a gate from the manufactured-home park to UCSC’s coastal campus, which houses the Long Marine Lab, the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, the Southwest Fisheries Science Center Fisheries Ecology Division, the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center, and several other lab buildings.


The waves by Long Marine Laboratory were not huge, but occasionally made a big splash. The big stick on the right is not a dead tree, but an old mast from the shipwreck of La Feliz in 1924.


The blue-whale skeleton is a popular attraction for the Seymour Center at the the Long Marine Lab. The Seymour Center is closed until mid-October, but they set up 6 or 7 outdoor docent stations, and they were letting people use the rest rooms.

The paved path across the wetlands on the coastal campus seems to be fairly new, and it is was quite popular with weekend bicyclists, though we did not see many others walking on it. We took the path up to the railroad tracks, which we followed over to Antonelli Pond.


These postpiles in Antonelli Pond are remnants of a refuse wharf. The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, which now owns and maintains Antonelli Pond, has a nice interpretive map of the pond (available at the southwest end of the pond) that gives a lot of the history. There used to be a lot in that neighborhood that is now all gone (train station, hotel, lumbermill, mushroom factory, speakeasy, … ).


Looking northeast across part of the pond shows some of the more recent development. The building by the pond on the right of this photo is the old TI building, which is now owned by UCSC and used for research (including the UCSC genome institute).

The ponds along this loop are much nicer than Moran Lake from the loop that we walked the previous week, though we did not see much in the way of birds this week. After walking the loops we went back along Delaware Ave to check the sale at Synergy Organic Clothing (which had really good prices, but not the colors my wife was looking for) and to eat lunch at Café Iveta.


I rather like the elegance of these bike parking loops and their shadows on Delaware Ave.


This bike parking along the rail trail behind New Leaf is rather badly misplaced—it is on the far side of the parking lot from any destination, so it never gets used. I suspect that most bicyclists can’t figure out how to use it either.


We only saw two Little Free Libraries on this walk, and neither was on the loop itself. The one is the only Little Free Library that we know of on King Street.


This Little Free Library is next to the rail trail on Almar Ave.

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