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2021 October 4

Secret Walks: Arana Gulch-Jose Ave Park

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I’m behind again on blogging about our walks from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover. On Saturday 25 September, my wife and I did the loop walk for Arana Gulch and Jose Ave Park.  The loop itself is 3.3 miles, but we added 2.4 miles getting there and 2.8 miles home, for a total of 8.5 miles.  We had lunch on the way home at Charlie Hong Kong.


On the way to the beginning of the loop, we passed this cute little free library on Broadway—it is modeled after the house it is associated with.


Arana Gulch as many fine coast live oaks, some with branches brushing the ground.


Arana Gulch also seems to have ground squirrels, though we saw only the holes and not the rodents themselves.


We had never walked on the Marsh View Trail before, but it has some fine views of the wetlands for the creek that ends in the yacht harbor.


Another view of the marshy part of the creek.


Another fine tree with dramatic branches.


The Marsh Creek Trail is worth taking just for the fine twisty trees.


Yet another lovely tree—this one with a large hollow.


And another.


After walking the trails in Arana Gulch, we took the bridge across the creek, which has these fine steel panels of fish.


The creek looking upstream from the bridge.


Zooming in a little to see the fallen trees across the creek.


This birdhouse may have the only vacancies in Santa Cruz.


The great-blue-heron sculptures are one of the highlights of Jose Ave Park.


The oversize heron footprints (to match the statues) in the sidewalk are a nice touch.


On Eddy Lane, just across from the park, there is this “Book Bot”—a very fine Little Free Library.


Another “Little Outdoor Library Thingy” on 7th Ave.


Coming back over the bridge, I took a picture of another of the fish panels—the series seems to show salmon spawning.


Leaving Arana Gulch on the west side is the Hagemann Gulch Bridge. It took bicycle activists many years to convince the City to install the bridges to provide pedestrian and bike access across Hagemann Gulch and Arana Gulch, and the final placement of the bridges was not optimal, but they are heavily used now.


There were 3 raptors circling over Arana Gulch as we were leaving. I don’t have much zoom on my camera, so this was the best shot I could get of a pair of them, after cropping out a lot of blank sky.


We walked back along Soquel, passing this small mural on Mackenzies’ Chocolates.


I’ve always liked this back door, which used to be for the Bicycle Trip (before they moved) and is now for the Childish Toy Shop.


We passed one more little free library on the way home (on Cleveland)—I may have included a photo of this one in previous post.

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