I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in Santa Cruz, CA. It was truly the first place I lived when moving to CA when I started college. It’s where I spent all 4 years of college and it’s where I met my gorgeous and amazing husband. And it’s always wonderful to be back there, it’s where we would like to retire someday soon.
Amazingly, I had never been to Natural Bridges State Park and it’s been on my list of places to visit for many years now.
I really wanted to see the Monarch butterflies that migrate there every winter, but it was a bit early to see them, so I will need to go back to visit in about a month or so. There were a few butterflies, but they were tricky to find. They kind of hang out in the eucalyptus grove and there is a short trail with a boardwalk through the grove that you can walk along to look for them. And they look like dead leaves on the limbs of the trees, so unless they are in the sun and moving their wings, they blend in really well. The top of their wings are black and orange but the backside is brown and that’s what you see when they are hanging out in the trees.
I also wanted to see the natural bridge that is in the beach area of the park. When I was living in Santa Cruz 20 years ago, there were 2 bridges, but the ocean waves have eroded the rocks that make up the bridges and one collapsed. Still, it was amazing and lovely to see in person. Seeing the ocean through the hole in the bridge is really amazing, and just being at the ocean with the waves rolling in is rejuvenating and peaceful and really overwhelmingly inspiring.
There are a few short trails, but not the length that I usually hike. But the beauty of the park made up for the lack of hiking. There were birds and rabbits and a variety of different butterflies, and when the tide is low, there are tide pools with ocean creatures. The ocean views were just spectacular. I look forward to going back to visit, hopefully in a month or so to really get the whole Monarch butterfly experience.
How many butterflies will I see when I return and how many years do we have left to enjoy that last natural bridge?