Sunday, March 1, 2009

Afternoon bliss

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Yesterday my SH and I finally took a drive down to Santa Cruz. It's a mere 30 minutes away, and it only really takes that long because the road winds and curves through the Santa Cruz Mountains in a most scenic and enjoyable fashion. Ridiculous that this is the first time that we've been since we moved to San Jose.

Waves crashing against the sea cliffs

Santa Cruz is a classic beach town. There's a boardwalk complete with an old-fashioned wooden rollercoaster, Santa Cruz t-shirt shops, and candy stores bursting with saltwater taffy. We have yet to experience much of the town as a whole, and have really just walked around a bit. Yesterday was no exception-we pulled up just short of a serious of sea cliffs and walked down towards the Natural Bridges Beach. While we weren't particularly taken in by the beach itself, the walk was absolutely beautiful. I could have easily wiled away hours just sitting on a smooth piece of stone overlooking one of the little coves, reading my book and looking up every few minutes in amazement at the beauty and grandeur of the ocean. It's truly difficult to describe how impressive and stunning it really is.

Beautiful, huge white seagulls perched near a tidepool

Some sort of lovely sea blossom

A lone sailboat

After a few more exploratory expeditions to various beaches, we decided to hike a bit in the Nisene Marks Forest, which is in Aptos, a few miles from Santa Cruz. We've done quite a bit of hiking in the Pescadero/Palo Alto areas, but this particular jaunt was different. We found ourselves deep in the forest, surrounded by palatial redwoods, so tall and thickly clustered that only bits of the sun could penetrate. That is actually quite usual for the parks we're accustomed to, but the trails we found in Nisene Marks weren't as clearly marked, and there was a bit more guesswork involved. There was more than one instance when we weren't sure we were on a trail at all! Thank goodness my husband is a former Boy Scout!

You'll have to excuse the darkness in these pictures-it really wasn't dreary! It was perfect.

The view from our log

We ate lunch perched on a huge, tumbled down tree trunk, at the edge of a robustly bubbling creek. Again, it's hard to describe the absolute wonder and beauty of the little corner of the forest. It felt perfectly private, the only sounds being the tinkling bell sound of the water rushing over smooth stones and the occasional chirp of an errant bird. We were immersed in a shadowy, hushed green world that seemed more appropriate for mythical creatures or maybe Robin Hood (what can I say? Sherwood Forest made a strong impact on me!). I could have stayed for hours, but, alas, all good things must come to an end, and my SH and I had to drive that short 22 miles back home. I can only dwell on what a lovely day it was, and how fortunate we are to have such such beautiful aspects of nature at our very fingertips.

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