|Charong and Paradise walking along the cliffs at Wilder State Park.|
Originally known as Rancho del Matadero, and founded by Mission Santa Cruz in 1791, the Wilder family later acquired the land and operated a very successful dairy on the property - which includes an extraordinary stretch of coastland, with spectacular cliffs and coves.
|Hudson sitting on the rocks, while I climb out to him.|
You can walk along the cliffs and enjoy the spectacular vistas, but only a couple of the beaches are accessible for swimming - but they are well worth the hike to get there.
|Hudson jumping in to join me in the water.|
|Hudson and I swimming into shore.|
|Paradise running on Santa Cruz Beach.|
|The elevator track at Shadowbrook.|
Shadowbrook has been open since 1947, and is well worth a visit, both for the food and bar and for the elevator and grounds. I thought the elevator was a funicular - but that requires two cars which counterbalance one another. In any case, it's great fun to ride up and down to the restaurant.
|Giant redwood, Big Basin State Park.|
|Walking among the giant redwoods.|
Unfortunately, 96% of the original coastal redwoods (a species of sequoia) were logged, but great efforts have been made since to protect vast areas of forest and to preserve the huge old-growth redwoods.
|The world's tallest trees.|
If you'd like to learn more about the redwoods, read Richard Preston's wonderful non-fiction book, The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring, which recounts the adventures of young "canopy voyagers" - scientists and enthusiasts who risked their lives to live high above the rain forests of Northern California and explore the largely unknown world and eco-systems in the soaring heights of the giant redwoods.
All photographs copyright 2012 Alexander Chow-Stuart.