Santa Cruz, 22-Sep-2014

After spending the morning in Saratoga and taking my mom to the airport, we drove down to Santa Cruz and walked around the water for the rest of the afternoon. It was a nice introduction to the city.

Leaving Santa Clara/Saratoga

When we woke up in the morning, we had a bit of bad news. My mom had twisted her ankle in the bathroom, and it started to swell. We got her a wheelchair so we could go down to breakfast, after which we grabbed all the luggage, got into the car, and went back to Saratoga for a final visit at the Evans home, where we iced down the ankle.

Mrs. Evans needed to go to San Francisco in the late morning, so we only stayed for an hour or so before going to the airport. We had borrowed a riding walker from Mr. Evans and were able to use it at the curb before a wheelchair arrived, which fortunately wasn't too long. Later in the day I got a call from my mom saying that everything went well, and she was even able to get someone to help her with a wheelchair all the way to the car.

After returning the walker, we grabbed some lunch and then headed to Highway 17 on our way to Santa Cruz. We checked into our motel, did some final planning, then headed out on foot to the bus stop which would take us to Natural Bridges State Park.

Natural Bridges State Park

We chose one trail, which would take us along Moore Creek. We enjoyed walking along the boardwalks and towards the end got a great view of the beach and the iconic rock with the hole, but Moore Creek got really wide at that point and we weren't able to get to the actual beach. Back to the park entrance, then we went along the butterfly trail, where we actually saw some Monarch butterflies, even though it's a bit early in the season. Of course, the butterflies were far to fast for me to get any photos of them.

We made it to the beach, and were able to get pretty close to the rock. We chose to not wade out to the rock itself, but did go right up to the waterline, which afforded us a pretty close look. After that, we climbed up to the parking lot and then started walking along Cliff Drive.

Cliff Drive

There were quite a few people meandering along the path, either on foot or on bikes. While you'd think things would start to look the same, with rocks, cliffs, and beaches, but there was a lot of variety; we ended up stopping several times along the way to take in the sights.

A couple miles after leaving Natural Bridges State Beach we arrived at Lighthouse Point Park, where, as you would expect, we found a lighthouse. It looked to be well-maintained, rather than weathered like several other lighthouses we've seen. Below, we saw several people surfing.

After turning the corner at the lighthouse, we got our first sight of the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, which is huge. Beyond that, we caught glimpses of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, although the rides aren't operating right now. We also saw even more people surfing than on the other side of the lighthouse.

Municipal Wharf

It was getting close to dinnertime, so we walked partway down the wharf, but decided to eat just off the wharf. On the way back, we saw a slew of harbor seals on a boat landing, with many people right there taking photos.

We found the restaurant and enjoyed our Thai food with a great view of the water. We were a bit tired to wait for the sunset, and thought it was time to head back to the room. On the way, we stopped by Trader Joe's to grab things both for dessert and to supplement the provided breakfast the next morning (the motel proprietor made sure to tell us that it was a very simple breakfast).