Step by Step

::: By Hand and On Foot :::

Bushwhacking!

No, this post is not about the desire to give our former president a good whack upside the head –though it is tempting!– but rather about last week’s adventure in forging a new path.

First, a backtrack. Three years ago I walked across Spain on the Camino de Santiago, and I’ve been itching to get back. I had gone so far as to buy guidebooks for the French route, the Via Podiensis, from Le Puy to Pamplona. And of course I’ve been talking about it to any friend who has the patience to listen. One friend, Kimlin, has always wanted to walk the Camino, and my tales of adventure spurred her on to ask to join me this year. Alas, when I began to make plans in earnest, I found my funds were too limited to go. But Kimlin is pressing on, and is set to take off for Spain at the end of the month. So now she’s in training, and I am joining her on some interesting long hikes.

Here’s the bushwhack part: I’ve long been curious as to whether one can walk along the 9 miles of coast from Davenport –home of the Davenport Roadhouse, one of our favorite breakfast spots– to Santa Cruz. The red line is our route.
Map, Davenport to Santa Cruz

Technically, only a few short stretches are public or public-access lands; the rest are privately owned farms or railroad tracks. But it seemed like it could be done, and last Friday morning Kimlin and I bravely set out to find if this were so. We started, after breakfast at the Roadhouse, by crossing Highway 1; here is our documentation. (Pictured is the Whale City Bakery; we crossed the highway here for safety reasons.)
Downtown Davenport

We immediately came upon an iconographic California coastal scene, all blooming wildflowers, cliffs and seastacks, and crashing waves.
California coast in bloom

Each turn of the coastal trail produced another pristine pocket beach. This is such an amazingly beautiful area.
California coast in bloom

Soon the trail disappeared, and after following the train tracks for a while, we were able to cut through some farms. These are the worlds luckiest vegetables, I think.
Plowing on the coast

A patriotic statement in a farmhouse’s windows:
Flags in a farmhouse window

We were soon back to following the tracks, and the wind picked up in large gusts. Our trail had veered inland, and while we had glimpses of the sea from time to time, it was a bit of a bleak passage through flat, newly-plowed fields. Plus, our morning coffee was taking effect, with nary a shrub in sight for a quick pit stop, when to our amazement we found a porta-potty. Not just any old porta-potty, but a perfectly clean and pristine one, well stocked with toilet paper.
The miraculous portapotty

I remarked that this was amazingly Camino-esque, where whatever you need tends to appear just when you need it. We debated a bit whether we should thank St. James for this miracle, or whether we should thank OSHA and the law that requires farms to provide facilities for their workers. Either way, we were indeed thankful.

Here I am, walking the tracks:
Walking the tracks

And Kimlin, still full of energy as she strides past Wilder Ranch at the end of our walk, and looking every bit the true pilgrim:
Kimlin at Wilder Ranch

So yes, it can be done! We ended our adventure at the Santa Cruz city border, about 4 hours after setting out. Next up: Felton to Santa Cruz!

3 Comments

  1. The world’s luckiest vegetables indeed!!
    And us for living here!
    Thank you for the beautiful pictures of our hometown!

  2. And Melissa, being a lucky vegetable herself, felt quite at home among her minions as she strode thru the fields. This is a little-known fact about her. In France, she would be an exotic-sounding haricot vert. Here in the good ol’ US of A, she is but a mere ding-ding. That’s why she wants to do the trail in France. Oops – I have given away too many Melissa secret facts…

  3. I count myself as one of those lucky vegies ambling with melissa… and eagerly await the next blog on a REAL adventure!

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