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.)
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.
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.
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 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.