With just a week before going back down to LA to start school, I wanted to spend the last few days here in NorCal doing some of my favorite things: walking along the beach and hiking. Last weekend, my mom took a day off from her work to go hiking with me at the Henry Cowell Redwood State Park in Santa Cruz. It was the best day yet of my entire summer vacation. Wished I had done this earlier.
Santa Cruz is only 50 miles away from where I live, so it was only about an hour long drive from my house to the park. We arrived there at around 10 o’clock in the morning and we found a free parking space (yay!!) along the side, and we started wandering through the park. Not long after we headed into the park, we heard a distant train whistle. Feeling adventurous and curious, we went deeper into the forest, wishing to catch a glimpse of the train.
Although we didn’t get to see the actual train, we found its railroad. We walked along the railroad to avoid getting lost in the woods, since we didn’t have a visitor’s map. With a couple more whistles here and there and no sight of any train, we were brought to a what seemed like an old train station.
The station had been renovated and it is actually the only station still in operation out of the 80+ train stations in Santa Cruz. It has two different trains. The steam train goes to the Bear Mountain in a round trip lasting about 1.5 hrs, and the beach train takes you on a 3-hr ride to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk along the San Lorenzo River. Walking around the station, I felt like I was transported to a mid-1800’s town. With the train station at the center, the little town also had multiple red barn-like buildings with over-sized boards inscribed “General Store” and “Chuckwagon Bar-B-Q,” and there were some lodging areas as well.
We eventually came out of the train station and went back into the woods again, where we found a stream with beautifully sparkling water. We laid ourselves down on the bridge that went across the stream and listened to the water, the occasional train whistles, and the singing birds. Warm sunlight peaking through the woods. Soft, cool breeze. Simply perfect.
Am I ready for school now?