A summer Sunday in Santa Cruz was perfect for exploring a hike along Pogonip Trail, which isn’t especially interesting as a trail except for:
a) a view of the Pogonip Country Club, used in the movie The Lost Boys,
b) the rock garden off the main path, which is either some hippie-dippy sanctuary or a refuge for local tweakers to do their thing, and
c) the limekilns.
Okay, so it actually was pretty interesting. I originally discovered the trail via a local Santa Cruz trails book some dear friends of mine bought for me when I left Seattle last year, so I could continue our tradition of our urban adventures* when I moved to California. However, in the suburbs of California in which I presently reside, urban adventures are more difficult to come by, in which case I’ve traded my city hikes for coastal meanderings instead, which have their own merits (sweeping views and local microbrews, anyone?), and have been quite fulfilled in that way.
*Urban adventure: An expedition to discover, explore, taste and catalogue the various features and unique attributes of city neighborhoods by foot, often including stops for food and drink and always conducted in the company of good friends and excellent conversation.
So what was fabulous about the Pogonip was its proximity to downtown Santa Cruz and UCSC, as well as its beautiful scenery, despite what appears to be a barren prairie upon entering the trail which gives way quickly to cool forest air amongst the redwoods.
The rock garden was pretty fascinating – hundreds of carefully stacked formations nestled amongst redwoods and moss-covered rock cliffs, with just enough light filtering through the trees to be both beautiful and eerie (although, during the day, mostly beautiful). Almost every formation had a note left for a visitor, ranging from superficially positive (“don’t be afraid to be YOU!”) to cerebral (“this is your life, and it is as it should be, and as it always was…”) to downright creepy (“he is here…he’s watching you”). Fortunately many of the messages were some mid-range version of hippie propaganda, which is mostly harmless and mildly amusing, but it was the place itself that was really memorable – something I wouldn’t have sought out on my own but that I am grateful to have experienced.
At the end of the day, it was a new adventure – peaceful, and unique, and best of all, PRODUCTIVE! (My favorite!) 5.5 miles in the company of good friends and one intrepid little dog was the perfect ending to a holiday weekend, and justified this waterfront view and a couple local margaritas:
What a weekend. On to the next.