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2021 November 17

Secret Walks: Lighthouse-Whale Museum

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On Saturday 13 November, my wife and I did the Walton Lighthouse-Natural History Museum loop from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover.  The walk in the book is 3.4 miles, but we walked another 2.4 miles to get to the start and another 3 miles to get home, totaling 8.8 miles.


This small mosaic is embedded in a stucco garden wall of a private home.


This slightly larger mosaic is in the same garden wall.


This pathway connects the end of Harbor Drive to Frederick Street Park.


This couple on one of boat-launch ramps have just thrown a stick to their dog (not in the photo).


The path to the Walton lighthouse was popular with pedestrians, as we had very nice weather.


The “Coastal Access Pier” does not really provide access to anything but views, as there is no way down to the water from the pier.


The huge cleats on the “Coastal Access Pier” are purely decorative, as nothing ties up to the rather high deck of the pier.


The birds seem to like the floating pipe that is the outlet of the dredger.


Here is the dredger itself, though I don’t think it was operating on the weekend.


The Walton lighthouse is not an old one, but it is rather picturesque.


We love these “jetty jacks”, though we prefer to call them “caltrops”, after a medieval weapon of roughly the same shape.


The caltrops do a good job of breaking up the waves that would otherwise wash the jetty away.


The breaking waves were a bit hard to photographs, as the sun was behind them.


Mosaics seem to be popular in Santa Cruz—this one was added to the end of one of the caltrops


I have no idea what this plant growing on the beach is—I think we saw the same species at Natural Bridges State Beach also.


This seems to be another beach plant we couldn’t identify.


This plant, growing on the cliff by the stairs, looks a lot like dusty miller, but I don’t think it is.


The Walton lighthouse from the stairs, showing the jumble of caltrops around the jetty.


A view of the cliff from the stairs. Note the pink flags at the bottom right, marking where native plants have been added to try to stabilize the cliff. You can also see at the top where there used to be a walkway that is now just an asphalt overhang.


My wife and I admire this stone chimney. The house looks like it should be a hexagon, but it is just a half hexagon on the end of a rectangular house.


This life-size whale sculpture in front of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History leads some locals to refer to it as the “whale museum”, though it does not have that much about whales.


This artwork replaces one of the windows of the museum.


The main entrance of the museum.


I think that this Little Free Library is on Seabright.


This sign on Seabright accurately points away from the beach.

About 3/4 of the way through the walk, we stopped for lunch at Java Junction—one of several places to eat near Murray and Seabright.  We had thought to Betty’s Burgers, but the line was too long, and we thought of Seabright Social (which used to be Seabright Brewery), but neither of us wanted beer.  I was a little disturbed that none of the staff at Java Junction were wearing masks—COVID rates in the county are low, but they are nudging back up due to carelessness like that.

My wife and I are planning to replace our Wednesday night dinners out with Saturday lunches out—it is getting too dark and chilly for eating outdoors and walking home at night to be much fun.  We may switch back in March, when Daylight Savings Time returns.  If COVID rates drop a lot at the students at my wife’s elementary school all get vaccinated, we might start eating indoors at restaurants again.


The playful cutouts in this fence overlook Murray, which is rather busy here.


The dredger pipes that aren’t currently attached to the dredger are laid out beside the harbor. Based on the vegetation, some of them have been here for a while. We were somewhat surprised to see that there were several different diameters of the pipe, though that is not evident in this photo.


The boats in the harbor always look picturesque, though they now represent a lot of surplus money, as there are almost no working boats any more.


I rather like the elegance of this fence, which is almost certainly custom made. The vertical bars seem to be copper tubing for plumbing and the horizontal bars are simple cuts. I think that the panel consists of 12 copper tubes, not 3, with holes drilled about ⅓ of the way through the wood to hold the tubes.


Another Little Free Library. I think this one was on Windsor near Frederick.

Coming back, we walked along Windsor instead of Broadway from Frederick Street to Ocean View.  The street is much quieter and more pleasant. I think it is probably worth detouring a block when bicycling or walking across town—I don’t know why I’ve never taken Windsor before.


Creative sidewalk patching.


This one is on Windsor and Branciforte.


This one is on Roosevelt Terrace, overlooking the Broadway Playhouse where my son had so many acting classes.


I’m always rather fascinated by the way that old houses get jacked up (by Fresno House Movers) to build a foundation under the house. I wonder how they drill the holes in the sill plate to line up with the bolts cast into the new concrete foundation. Is it careful measurement or eyeball estimates? Do they drill the holes extra large and then use large washers? Or do they put in a new sill plate and the lower the house onto it?


This turtle mosaic is the first one you come to on the Laurel Street bridge coming from the east. Each of the uprights has a mosaic but the sidewalk is too narrow on the bridge to get far enough away for good pictures of most of them.

On Sunday, I got a little more exercise by bicycling up to my office to fetch the purple beans that I had bought at the farmstand on Friday, but left in the refrigerator in the grad-student office by mistake.  Monday and Tuesday, I mowed the lawn (front yard on Monday, back yard on Tuesday).

2021 November 11

Secret Walks: Natural Bridges

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 19:51
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On Saturday 6 November, my wife and I did the Natural Bridges loop from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover, but we  rotated the walk to start at the closest point to us (the Delaware Avenue entrance to Natural Bridges State Beach).  The walk in the book is only 2.3 miles, and our getting to and from it added 4.1 miles making a total of 6.4 miles.  Natural Bridges State Beach has quite a variety of different habitats for such a small area, so the pictures are mainly of flora and fauna (and I’ve spared you a lot of them).


On the way there, we noticed that the “No Graffiti!” sign was not very effective, having been covered by both graffitists and anti-graffitists.


This tree is in the fairly open space near Delaware Ave.


The path down to the creek has rather young trees, and there is clearly some erosion from water flowing down the path.


Some of the trees have horizontal branches low over the path.


The willows must need frequent trimming to keep them from blocking the path entirely.


The path crosses Moore Creek on a slightly bouncy foot bridge.


At the end of the creek path, there is a marshy area and a lagoon, with nice views across the lagoon of the one remaining natural bridge after which the state beach is named.


Pickle weed grows in the salt marsh and concentrates the salt, giving it a very salty taste.


We saw a snowy egret in the lagoon at the mouth of Moore Creek, but once again my camera does not have enough zoom to get a really clear picture. If I want to take pictures of birds, I’m going to need more than a 5× zoom.


After retracing the creek path, we went down to the beach, where no one ventured into the water, because the waves were pretty big.


There are not many places in Santa Cruz where you see this much moss hanging from the trees.


The twisty roots down the steep sides of the ravine are impressive.


Here is a view of the lagoon and the salt marsh from the other side of Moore Creek than the earlier pictures. While we were there, the lagoon was being filled with salt water (the creek running backwards from the beach). I’m not sure whether the tide was coming in, or whether it was high tide and the flow was being driven by waves breaking over the bar at the mouth of the lagoon.


Here is a view of the beach from the handicap-accessible viewing platform near the entrance.


The view across the beach shows the rocks that have tide pools at low tide and the gazebo for the manufactured-home park, which we visited on the Long Marine Lab/Antonelli Pond walk.


Pelicans rest on the top of the remnants of the natural bridge that collapsed in a 1980 storm. Only the central of the 3 original bridges remains.


Gulls and an egret wading in the seafoam.


This gull looks very watchful, and seems to be trying to keep his feet from getting wet.


Yet another of the weird-looking trees.


Something (squirrels? wood rats? raccoons?) seems to really like pine nuts—this natural grouping of a before-and-after pine cone shows how much of the cone gets stripped away to get access to the pine nuts.


This bumpy willow log has fallen over, but lots of shoots are growing out of the side.


Another willow trunk with a lot of bumps.

2021 Nov 11: We walked through the Monarch Grove as part of the walk, but there are very few monarch butterflies this year—maybe a couple hundred. It was a warm day, so they were flying, not clustered on the branches. We probably saw more people than butterflies on the trail.


On the way home, we passed a big leaf maple that had started to drop its leaves (I don’t have small feet).


I’m not sure what this shrub is with the polka-dot bark.


This weird plant was easy to find with a Google image search. Wikipedia says “Gomphocarpus physocarpus, commonly known as hairy balls, balloonplant, balloon cotton-bush, bishop’s balls, nailhead, or swan plant, is a species of milkweed.” I think I like “bishop’s balls” best as a name. The plant is a native of southeast Africa.


This flower looks a little like a morning glory, but the leaves are all wrong. I can’t seem to get Google to do an image search for it though, without Google insisting on limiting the search to include the words “morning glory”, negating the value of the search.

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