I’ve been catching up on some hiking and walking lately, mostly around Santa Cruz itself. I am still sometimes amazed that I live in California, even after 16 years here; even more amazed that I am lucky enough to live in Santa Cruz, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever lived.

Santa Cruz is nestled between redwood mountains and the Monterey Bay. I live about a mile from one of the local state beaches, and one of my favorite walks is what I call my beach loop. On a recent loop walk I encountered some hula-hooping young men, who offered to give me lessons. How could I pass that up?
I encounter the hula hoop.
This was the first time I ever kept the hoop going for more than a single turn. Woohoo!

A few days later I took a twilight walk. It was a beautiful evening, with lots of people out.
Here’s a guy on a bike, riding/climbing over the jacks that serve as the lighthouse’s breakwater.
Tricky riding!

Surfers waiting for the next wave.
Waiting for a wave
Here’s one!
Catching a wave

I’m not the only photographer.
Twilight photographer

A child running on the sand.
Child running on the sand

Sunset over the pier.
Santa Cruz sunset

And one last surfer, looking for one last ride.
Last surfer

The farmers’ market that Sarah-Hope and I frequent is on the other side of town. After this morning’s veggie shopping, we went for a stroll on West Cliff, the road the skirts Santa Cruz’s ocean bluffs. Our goal: more surfers.
Surf's up!

We found them, on Santa Cruz’s famed surfing ground, Steamer Lane.
Surfer

Surfer

We also found a lot of people (and dogs) out for their morning constitutionals.
Walking on West Cliff

And these really interesting sling bikes. More like scooters, actually, since they didn’t have pedals. Instead, the riders loped along, suspended in their saddles from the overhead framework. Fascinating.
Sling bikes

My apologies to my east coast friends, who are encountering freezing temperatures and piles of snow, but I just can’t help it: I must say that I am living in paradise!