Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Santa Cruz, CA - Day 1

K under the eucalyptus
Our first day in Santa Cruz, I took K to Natural Bridges State Park. It's a beach that used to have some natural rock formations that were shaped like a bridge. However, a few years ago, the center collapsed, and the bridge was gone. I used to come here with my artist's sketch board, paper, charcoals, pencils, etc, and made drawings of the rock formations in the water. That was when there was still one bridge left. Erosion doesn't discriminate, and it's effects are visible everywhere along the coast. Quite dramatically, at times.

This park is interesting for more reasons than the bridges, though, so it still sees many visitors! There are trails you can walk under pines, cypresses and overgrown eucalyptus trees. These eucalyptus trees are the favorite resting place for monarch butterflies, too, actually, and every year, around the beginning of October, thousands of monarchs come to rest here!
We got here just a bit early for the huge numbers of them, but we saw a few... maybe around 50 or so, as they feasted on pollen, fluttered around, and hung out in the warm, California sun.
A few monarchs on the wild roses
There's actually a wonderful wooden pathway that was built so that the land wasn't affected by all the visitors to this place. I've been coming here since I was a teenager, having discovered this place when I was around 14, on a school outing. Many schools bring their kids here for a field trip, as there's also a visitor's learning center near the monarch resting area.
Description of the migration of the monarchs
Pathway towards the monarch viewing area

Since we weren't able to show you that many monarchs on this trip, I'm including this photo of another time when I came here by myself. It's a good reason to visit this park in mid-October... it's just amazing!
Fluttering monarchs
Look closely... there are many!
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Santa Cruz... more to come tomorrow!


Brandi said...

Beautiful, Shari!

shari said...

Thanks, Brandi! It really was lovely there...

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