Wednesday, July 24, 2013

habitat ~ 07/24/13 ~ Wilder Ranch State Park

 Wilder Ranch State Park
July 24, 2013

After looking at these pictures and reading past habitat posts (03/07/10 and 09/17/11), I realize that I haven't given Wilder Ranch a fair shake.  For a couple years there, Z kept asking me to go hiking with her here.  I always refused.  From a speeding car along Hwy 1, I totally judged this park by its roadside cover.  It looked like the trails were nothing but hot, sunny, dusty paths through dried grasses (eh).  Plus, it was obviously a crowded place, given the number of cars parked on the side of the road for the common practice of avoiding paying the State Park Day Use Fee. It took Andy's encouragement for me to finally check it out.  While Andy went off to do his typical trail run, I strolled around by myself.  This day's visit was wholly pleasant and meditative with few interruptions by other bikers, horseback riders, or hikers.  Waldeinsamkeit.  The Engelsmans Loop trail currently has a zigzag detour towards Peasley Gulch, which I think improves the interest level of the trail.  The diversity of habitats in such a relatively small area really struck me as being special.  Wilder Ranch has grown on me.  I'll have to visit again, sooner rather than later.

Per our usual when we drive the hour it takes to get to the Santa Cruz area across Monterey Bay, we made plans to eat out for lunch.  This time we went to the Downtown Santa Cruz Farmers' Market, which is my favorite farmers' market for market variety, funky food vendors, and programs, like composting bins just for the weekly event (wish more markets did this!). While we waited for the market opening at 1:30, we discovered a new to us local coffee shop Verve.  Andy liked their short pull, while I enjoyed a refreshing homemade seasonal soda.  For dessert, we also discovered The Penny Ice Creamery, which has a booth at the market despite being located just down the street.  Both are places we will definitely patronize again.  Sometimes I think I could easily live up there, but then the heavier traffic stops me short.


troutbirder said...

Just like the old saying about a book and its cover....

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Mr. T, exactly! :)