Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Natural Bridges State Beach

What do you do when you catch a sunny break from the cold winter? You head to the beach, of course! That's what we did last Saturday. I had heard about the Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz from a colleague and so I decided to check it out.

Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

An hour's drive took us to the beach. It being a beautiful day, the beach was buzzing with activity. The weather was just perfect-no annoying cold wind or fog to take away from the views. It is a small sandy beach compared to the main one near the boardwalk. Quite close to the shore is a massive rock which forms an arch giving it an appearance of a bridge. Apparently, there were three such bridges but erosion took a toll on them and now only one survives. You can see about hundreds of birds perched on top of the bridge. We also saw quite a few surfers having a fun time and enjoying the water.

Right next to the beach, there are some tide pools. These are rocks with small depressions in them. During low tide, when there is no water covering these rocks, you can see a lot of different sea life forms. There were snails, anemones, sea-weeds, mussels and many colorful forms. It was a treat to watch them. We reached there at the fag end of the low tide and so could catch only a glimpse of what actually is out there. The best time to visit the tide pools is an hour before or an hour after low tide.


Mussels and sea weed

The park next to the beach is home to the migrating Monarch Butterflies. There is a separate trail with eucalyptus trees where you can see hundreds of Monarch Butterflies during the migratory season (October to mid February). It is a quiet and shaded trail and if you look up, you can see the butterflies fluttering about. Since we went there around sunset, the weather was not warm enough and so there were fewer butterflies than one can see during the afternoon. It was difficult to capture them on camera as it was getting dark.

Monarch Butterflies Trail
 It was a perfect day out at the beach with gorgeous views to refresh the mind and soul.

What: Natural Bridges State Beach
Where: 2531 W Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz CA 95060
When: 8.00am to sunset
Fee: Free (parking is $10 which you can avoid by parking on the street)