Wilder Ranch State Park

What a beautiful day! This morning we went with a few friends to Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz for a leisurely-paced walk. It was unusually hot, but a gentle sea breeze made the heat tolerable.

Does it get any better than this?

I’d never been to this park before although I visited the nearby 4 Mile Beach a few years ago, which is a downright gorgeous and relatively vacant stretch of beach inconspicuously tucked away off of Highway 1 four miles north of Santa Cruz (hence the name).

…Naaaaaah. 🙂 F’real though, check out those sea caves.

When in the vicinity of Santa Cruz, I often regret that I’m not more acquainted with the area, especially since I was born and raised in San Jose and lived there for the first twenty years of my life. Santa Cruz was a short forty-five minute drive away, yet I’d let years pass at a time in between visits. Of course, as a sheltered young adult with a new car, forty-five minutes seemed like a long drive.

How times have changed! Now I’m always itching to venture out of the Bay Area and see all the natural beauty the world has to offer.

Croatia, Iceland, and Kauai are at the top of my travel bucket list. I’m obsessed with water: cascading waterfalls; still, mirror-like lakes; clear, deep, brilliantly-colored seas; roaring waves on pristine beaches. I think I’d wither and die if I ever were to live in a land-locked area. I need access to a body of water to preserve my sanity.

Back to Wilder Ranch: I’ve never seen such violent waves in my life.

Wave after wave hit the coast with such force that water splashed all the way up over the side of the cliff (at least 30 feet), spraying nearby unlucky (or lucky?) passersby.

Booyah!

I spotted some mini cascades out in the middle of the ocean. Incredible!

And if you think that’s awesome, check out this cool (inaccessible) little cove:

Along the way we came across some seals. I haven’t invested in a telephoto lens yet, so I couldn’t really photograph them since they were too far away.

I currently use a Micro 4/3 Camera, which I like because I can take great photos without dropping thousands on a full-frame camera kit.

For my telephoto lens: I’m trying decide between this Panasonic 100-300mm F/4.0-5.6 lens and this Olympus 75-300mm F/4.7-6.7. Thoughts or suggestions? I may have to splurge before we go on our trip to Big Sur later this month…

For now I’ll just have to stick with my 9-45mm kit. And for shooting houses and scenery like this, that’s quite alright.

Wilder Ranch is also a “cultural preserve”: there are a number of historic buildings at the park, some of which date back to the mid-1800s. There are also a functional chicken coop and stable complete with horses.

This was the first horse Ronan ever saw. Both the horse and my son were equally unimpressed with each other.

This little adobe house has seen better days.

I love historical sites like this: History is a great passion of mine. I can get completely lost in thought wondering about the past. While peeking into this abandoned blacksmithery, I can’t help but imagine what kind of people lived here and what their lives must have been like.

What were these tools used for? It’s fun to speculate.

All I know is that today was a good day. Until next time!

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2 Comments

  1. Donny September 17, 2015 at 5:52 PM

    Diggin the new site:)

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