Santa Cruz Mountains Trip
March 31 to April 3, 2013

One of the obvious gaps in my panoramic coverage has long been the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is not that I don't appreciate the area, I love it. My family had a vacation cabin there, and I used to hike in the area a lot when I lived in Palo Alto. But places like Big Basin are damned awkward to get to from the East Bay - first a lot of traffic congestion, then endless windy roads, so it requires an overnight trip.

The weather was good and Nora had a few days off, so we made a quick trip. Four days, 42 panoramas.

(Click any picture to open a larger version.)

March 31, 2013

The trip began with a scenic drive down the San Mateo coast from San Francisco to Pescadero, then up into the mountains. We had intended to camp at Portola Redwoods State Park, but the campground was still closed for the season, so we continued on to Big Basin.

Some of the campsites at Big Basin State Park are in impressive old-growth redwood forest. It rained a bit during the night, making us all the more grateful for our little camper.

All panoramas taken this day (5)

Panoramas of Pescadero, California

Panoramas of Portola Redwoods State Park

April 1, 2013

Big Basin is where the California State Park system was born, in 1902, and it contains impressive stands of redwoods. We walked the loop trail and I photographed the Mother of the Forest and Father of the Forest (two of the largest trees), and the headquarters area. After a grocery stop in Felton, we walked around Henry Cowell Redwoods and the adjacent Roaring Camp Railroad.

Surprisingly, the campground at Henry Cowell State Park is in oak forest, not redwoods.

All panoramas taken this day (14)

Panoramas of Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Panoramas of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

April 2, 2013

We looked around Felton a bit, then drove down to the coast at Santa Cruz. We enjoyed a short walk at Natural Bridges State Park, and another along West Cliff Drive.

We got to Sunset Beach late and found that the campground was full except for a special handicapped site. But the host let us have it anyway (they release them at 8 pm).

All panoramas taken this day (11)

Panoramas of Felton, California

Panoramas of Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz

Panoramas of West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz

April 3, 2013

We decided to spend the day in Pacific Grove. My family has vacationed there since I was a toddler, and I was delighted to live there for four years before getting my job at Berkeley. It is one of the gems of the west coast but relatively unknown, nestled between the famous towns of Monterey and Carmel. It is still a quiet little town, with a spectacular coastline, and an interesting history.

All panoramas taken this day (12)

Panoramas of Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, California

Panoramas of Downtown Pacific Grove

Panoramas of the Shoreline at Pacific Grove

Panoramas of Point Pinos, Pacific Grove, California

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