River Walk

2009 July 3

San Lorenzo Valley River Walk

On Friday morning after breakfast I decided to walk down the San Lorenzo River from the Garden of Eden in Felton to the Highway 1 bridge crossing it in Santa Cruz. I had gone along the upper portion before but never the lower section and was curious to see what it was like. Additionally, I just needed to get out. Em and PJ dropped me off at the trailhead at 10:30 am and I reached the Patagonia Outlet store near the bridge at 1:15 pm. The upper portion of the walk was a really nice and scenic combination of trails, wading in the river, scrambling on rocks in and around the river, and walking along the river banks. The lower section was not nearly so nice and I won’t do that part again.

Em and PJ dropped me at the trailhead at 10:30 am. My pack has a bottle of water, two bannana, my camera, wallet, and cell phone.

Just downstream of the Garden of Eden looking upstream.

Scrambling over boulders in the dry is much easier than in the wet. The river is not deep enough to swim or float except at selected pools.

Making my way through a river with rocks of varying size.

After a while of true walking in the river I was glad to reach an official trail.

Most of this area was clear cut 100 years ago. Note the backpack for size reference.

While crossing the river via a fallen tree I happened upon this little guy.

Around 11:30 am the river valley really opened up. This is a nice area.

To get to the area shown in the previous photo, take this trail.

Self portrait. I wish I had brought my tiny tripod.

Just when you think you’re in the middle of nowhere something convinces you otherwise.

Six ducks on a rock.

I reached the summer homes on the river a lot faster than I thought I would, after 1.5 hours, around noon.

Also around noon, I passed under an old covered bridge, which is used today by cars.

To the left,not visible in the photo, are a lot of summer homes and a fairly nice sandy beach.

Around 12:20 pm, I came across my first of many homeless camps along the river north of Santa Cruz. This one had clearly been abandoned but some were not, and some had people.

Around 1 pm I was pretty tired and looking forward to ending the adventure. This photo shows an easy trail as the alternative was walking through knee deep water or crashing through waist high brush.

And then, around 1 pm, my salvation, the bridge at Highway 1 or the PCH.

Another shot of the bridge, looking upstream at the vegitation choked river.

It seemed only fitting that the walk would end at the Patagonia Outlet in Santa Cruz.

For the remainder of the day and all night my legs were buzzing due to many cuts from stinging nettles. This photo was taken the day after the walk.