Keep Santa Cruz Weird

Photos of the Santa Cruz area

Wilder Ranch Coastal Trail

Posted by Dave Dilworth on May-12-12

Just north of Santa Cruz is a great place for hiking and biking – Wilder Ranch State Park. There is a parking fee for cars – it was $10 in October 2011. You can hike up in the hills, or you can hike along the coast. The wife and I chose to hike the coast. We didn’t go the whole distance, as we are old and feeble. The photos in this posting are posted in order from the beginning of our walk to end. It was not a loop trail. I did not include all the bird photos, as I post them on my bird blog – AKA Bird Nerd. I probably will stick a few in for those who are too lazy to go to my bird blog.

There are a lot of coastal caves along the trail.

There are many off-shore rock croppings where birds hang out.

We saw a lot of seals, both in the water and on the rocks.

There were many cyclists sharing the trail with us. I’m definitely bringing my bike the next time I come here.

Come on over dear. That’s it. A little closer. Come on. (I can’t afford a divorce attorney.) :-)

This is a Brown Pelican

As a kid, I wasn’t too smart about exploring caves like this at low tide. The tide does come in. One
time my best friend and I got caught in a cave off West Cliff Drive. Fortunately, we found a hole
in the back of the cave to climb out. That was back in the 50’s. Kids are stupid, and I was no exception.

The coastline was breathtaking. I highly recommend this trail.

Watching the seals get up on the rocks was really fun. You can see one in the water to the left of the
photo. He swam to that low spot near the center of the photo and waited for a surge of water that
was high enough to help him propel himself up on the rock.

Here’s the seal just after a surge of water propelled him up on the rocks.

I don’t know where these two girls were headed, but I was holding my breath for them. The girl
in front almost fell in this photo. Here are two more shots. The girls did make it around the cliff
face and disappeared around the corner.

I wonder why they call this spot fern grotto?

What a life! Sort of reminds me of my retirement.

It was a hot October day. This fellow decided it was time to cool off. He just slithered back into the water.

How could you not love this cute little face?

These two really had the right idea – a picnic on their own private beach. Well, it would be private if someone
walking by didn’t have a big telephoto lens.

This shows you how close Wilder Ranch is to Santa Cruz. This facility is some kind of oceanographic
research center. I think it’s called Seymour Center and is at the Long Marine Lab – a UC Santa Cruz facility.
They also do Peregrine Falcon breeding here. It is open to visitors.

This is a few looking south.

You see a lot of these surfboard rigs on bikes in Santa Cruz.

Look at the disappointment on these two lad’s faces. Yes, surf was flat. I don’t know how they would
have gotten down to the water, but there must be a way.

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