Kayaking in Elkhorn Slough

kayaking in Elkhorn Slough

Have you ever dreamt of taking an African safari?

From the safety of a jeep, you watch wide-eyed as a leopard silently stalks unsuspecting antelopes, a pride of lions escapes the shimmering heat in the shade of an Acacia tree, and a herd of elephants, ears flapping and trunks swinging, shake the savannah as they lumber dangerously close to where you sit spellbound by the wild landscape that surrounds you.

We may not have leopards and elephants, but we do have rafts of otters, piles of harbor seals, and flocks of pterodactyl-like pelicans. And you don’t have to observe them from the confines of an off-road vehicle.

Kayaking in Elkhorn Slough is an aquatic safari where you join the animals on their turf. Otters instead of cheetahs climb onto your mode of transport and it’s the deep rumbling bellow of the California sea lion that makes you jump out of your seat.

Harbor seals bask in the sun, otters furiously clean their faces after a tasty meal of urchin, and sea lions slap their flippers, playfully splashing water just inches from the kayak.

Pelicans fly overhead, so close that you could almost reach up and touch them. Suddenly they fold in their wings and turn their beaks earthward in a graceful dive that ends with a muffled “kerplunk.” A great blue heron stands in the muddy shallows, staring intently at a fish hiding just below the surface. Your paddle catches on kelp fronds, giving you the perfect excuse to stop paddling for a moment and just take in everything around you. [Read more…]

Santa Cruz Hikes: Fern Trail at Pogonip

pogonip hike santa cruzk

Pogonip is a Native American word for river fog, a fittingly mystical name for such a magical place. This 640-acre green space in the middle of town has over nine miles of hiking trails with quirky features including a koi pond, stone labyrinth, and the crumbling, mossy stones of lime kilns from the 1800s.
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Coming to Terms with the New Arana Gulch

Arana Gulch Multi-Use Trails

The completion of the Arana Gulch multi-use trail project connecting Broadway and Brommer Streets has stirred up a lot of mixed feelings amongst Santa Cruz locals.

Some people are outraged that this mostly untouched 68-acre green space has been torn up by tractors, fenced off, and partly paved over. But others are enjoying the many positive results of this project including bike safety, increased accessibility, and surprisingly, a chance at survival for an endangered and endemic subspecies of Santa Cruz tarplant.
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