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2022 January 3

Secret Walks: West Cliff

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:11
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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.

2021 September 20

Secret Walks: Moran Lake

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:55
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I’m over a week behind on blogging about our walks from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover. On Saturday 11 September, my wife and I did a short walk about as far east as the book goes—the Moran Lake loop. Our original plan was to take the bus there and walk home, but we ended up taking buses at both ends, because the walk back did not seem very attractive.  The loop is 2.4 miles, but with our walk to the bus station and back and a walk from 41st and Portola to Capitola Mall, we did about 5.9 miles.


I liked this fish-shaped bike rack visually, though I don’t know how good it is for supporting bikes.


Pleasure Point has a couple of the art frames for framing views. The little dots on the water are not sea birds, but surfers—there were a lot of surfers, but not much in the way of waves all along East Cliff Drive.


Not far from the other frame is this one, which captured a jogger and a bicyclist for me. (I had another view that showed the other frame inside this one, but it was rather boring.)


There are not a lot of amenities along East Cliff (a bathroom, an outdoor shower, and Pleasure Point Cafe, which has a nice octopus mural).


I believe that the old Pleasure Point Motel was converted into condos (or apartments) and this sign reused.


Moran Lake is rather drab—a slight widening of a narrow creek—hardly big enough to be a pond, much less a lake.


Moran Lake is rather full of scum at this time of year. It might be nicer after some rain (though the paths probably get muddy then).


This egret (a great egret, I believe) likes the scummy water for the food in it.


Back view of the great egret.


Just upstream of the great egret was this much smaller egret (probably a snowy egret). I tried to get a picture with both egrets in it, but they never got close enough to each other for a good shot. Even this shot (at maximum zoom) is rather shaky.


Portola Avenue is not fun to walk along (too much traffic), but it does have this nice commemorative plaque for Charley Parkhurst, the first woman to vote in the US.


Portola Avenue also has this nice mural for a tattoo parlor. Portola Avenue is a rather weird mix of business, as that neighborhood seems to be rapidly gentrifying.

After finishing the loop, we ate lunch at Zameen’s at the Point. We’d only ever eaten at Zameen’s food truck before, not at either of their restaurants. The food was good (essentially the same as on the food truck), but a wrap each was a little too much, so we did not stop at Penny Ice Creamery across the street. We did stop in at Two Birds Books, which seems like a nice neighborhood bookstore, though we did not buy anything there.

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