Arches, Beaches and Butterflies in Santa Cruz, California

Arches, Beaches and Butterflies in Santa Cruz, California

On a sunny fall day in Santa Cruz, CA, my good friend and I hiked the paved path alongside West Cliff Drive. Our route was between Pure Bridges State Park to the west and the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse to the east. Throughout our 4 mile spherical journey we noticed sandstone arches, stunning seashores and a wintering Monarch butterflies.

We parked without cost on Delaware Avenue, positioned behind the monarch butterfly protect at Pure Bridges State Park. Taking a path by way of the eucalyptus timber, we met a younger man selecting up trash. He wore a inexperienced vest and appeared official. My good friend thanked him and he defined to me that he didn’t work for the town.

“So that you do it for your self,” she mentioned.

“I am doing it for the ocean,” he corrected her, “as a result of the place would we be if everybody was egocentric?”

Pure Bridges State Seashore

Our first cease was to see the “pure bridge” at Pure Bridges State Seashore. The bridge is definitely an arch, the one one left of the unique three. Wind and waves first carved three caves right into a sandstone cliff that prolonged into the ocean. Over time, the caves eroded into arches.

One collapsed within the early 1900s and the second collapsed in a storm in 1980. The remaining central arch can solely be seen by strolling to the beach and trying to your left.

The final of three pure bridges at Pure Bridges State Seashore. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)

The seashore itself is beautiful, with white sand, a small estuary and tidal swimming pools. Watch out when exploring the tidal swimming pools. Because the tide rises, the waves usually break excessive on the rocks, leaving guests soaking moist or worse.

Years in the past my son jumped right into a pure rock cave that types there when the tide is out. He could not get out and the tide was rising quick. Fortunately he had a good friend there who took him out.

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The estuary and tidal swimming pools are on the finish of Pure Bridges State Seashore. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)
Epoch Times Photo
Waves splash towards rocks above coated tide swimming pools at Pure Bridges State Seashore. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)

The views alongside West Cliff Drive

Rhode Island could have its Cliff Stroll and mansions, however the Santa Cruz Cliff Stroll has white sand seashores, charming properties, and attention-grabbing locals. We shared the trail with walkers, strollers and cyclists. Everybody was well mannered.

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The paved path subsequent to the railings alongside West Cliff Drive. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)

Our view of the impossibly blue ocean included fishermen, kayakers, canines with their folks, and a feeding frenzy of dive-bombing brown pelicans. There was one thing to see each minute.

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Canine-friendly Its Seashore ends simply earlier than the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)
Epoch Times Photo
Brown pelicans dive bomb fishing in a feeding frenzy off West Cliff Drive. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)

An area cafe

The Browsing Museum was late to open, so my good friend took me past to a neighborhood secret: the Shrine Espresso Home positioned on the grounds of the Shrine of St. Joseph Church. You’d by no means know the cafe is there, as it’s on the finish of the church car parking zone. They’ve a pleasant indoor/out of doors seating space with a tile fountain and the espresso is scrumptious.

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The Sanctuary Church of St. Joseph at 544 West Cliff Drive. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)
Epoch Times Photo
The peaceable patio of the Shrine Espresso Home invitations guests to remain awhile. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)

The Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse

After our espresso, we returned to the Surf Museum, positioned inside a tiny lighthouse. The working lighthouse is a memorial to an 18-year-old man who drowned on February 28, 1965, whereas bodysurfing close to Pleasure Level in Santa Cruz County.

Mark Abbott’s mother and father had the lighthouse inbuilt his reminiscence and buried his ashes on the base of the Lantern Tower. A plaque and statue marking his grave may be seen contained in the Browsing Museum.

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The Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse additionally homes the Santa Cruz Browsing Museum. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)

Surfers are additionally honored at a casual memorial above the Steamer Lane surf spot. Though most of them didn’t die within the ocean, their household and associates selected to recollect these family members by way of their ardour for browsing.

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A memorial to deceased surfers, positioned above Steamer Lane on W. Cliff Drive. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)

If you wish to study in regards to the joys of browsing, make sure to go to the surf museum. The museum primarily incorporates wall panels of images – organized by decade – and spectacular surfboards from the previous.

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A wall of images and surfboards contained in the Santa Cruz Browsing Museum. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)

The monarch butterfly reserve

The monarch butterflies that shelter at Pure Bridges State Park solely fly if the temperature is at the very least 55 levels. To present the day time to heat up, my good friend and I delayed visiting the butterflies till we returned from our stroll, round 1 p.m.

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The Pure Bridges Customer Middle is a well-liked vacation spot for college outings. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)

There’s a good customer middle and reward store on the entrance to Pure Bridges State Park. Behind, a strolling path winds as much as the butterfly reserve. Yearly, from October to mid-February, 1000’s of monarch butterflies take shelter within the eucalyptus grove positioned on this canyon (sarcastically, eucalyptus timber are literally invasive crops). They solely depart the timber to refill on nectar.

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Monarch butterflies unfold their wings because the day heats up. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)

Monarch butterflies migrate from the western United States and Canada to the coastal shelters of California and northern Baja California. Throughout January or February, Monarchs start emigrate from the California coast eastward to the Sierra Nevada and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. They full this journey over 5 generations of butterflies.

The lifespan of the monarch butterfly can vary from two weeks to 9 months. Every technology lays its eggs on milkweed. These eggs change into caterpillars, which change into butterflies that journey even additional inland. The fifth and closing technology of this epic migration travels again from western habitats to the California coast, the place their great-great-grandparents originated. That is the technology that may reside 9 months.

It is wonderful once you suppose that these butterflies migrate to areas they’ve by no means seen.

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Monarch butterflies intertwine their legs to keep away from being swept away. (Courtesy of Karen Gough)

see the butterflies

Should you go to the Monarch Butterfly Protect, make sure to carry a very good digital camera or binoculars. Butterflies take shelter excessive within the timber, out of attain of a smartphone.

After I completed photographing a few of them (utilizing a tripod and zoom), I instructed my good friend that there was another factor I needed to do. She waited patiently whereas I lay on the deck, my hat behind my head, and gazed up on the sky.

Lots of of butterflies, lit by the solar, fluttered above our heads. Others huddled collectively for heat. I extremely advocate taking time to be quiet and simply get pleasure from watching the butterflies.

Karen Gough

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Karen Gough is a author and journey fanatic. She shares her household’s journey tales on

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