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Westcliff Photo Diary

By: Alex Evans


Finding time to get away from the rush of the start of school hasn’t exactly been easy. Nevertheless, these moments of escape from the oven of Los Gatos during this heatwave serve as very valuable brain breaks. Immerse yourself in the wonderful Westcliff Drive of Santa Cruz for a distracting and refreshing afternoon. With the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk directly behind you, Powell’s Surf directly below you, and Pigeon Point Lighthouse and bluff directly in front of you, there is never a dull moment. [0-3]

Not into the sit and observe vibe? Do not fret — walking, skating, or driving from Natural Bridges State Beach down to Lighthouse Point offers a tour of the entire road and all those enjoying the beauty. Catch some fishing, strutting around, headed to Powell’s on their bikes, or a lone surfer, away from the crowd. [4-9]

At the end of the long journey, find a comfy bench along the coast when you hit the mass of surfers and relax and observe the talent. Depending on who you are, you may even be inclined to join them. On this particular day, I found myself soaking in the sun on the shore and watching from afar seemed to be just fine for me. However, I did not leave without feeling vastly intimidated by the skills of some nine-year-olds out there. [10-22] 

Beyond the surf show happening below, many other interesting sights add to the experience. Some pelicans stopped by to briefly ravage the kelp fields for a snack before taking off again. [23-24] Spectators on rocks and cliff-side catch rays and chat about van-life, their recent haul from the farmers’ market, or the waves they just caught. [25-29] Some of the Santa Cruz Fire Department First Responders find peace at Powells’ for a stopping point amidst their busy day responding to urgent calls. Ironically, at the same time, a dalmatian walks by, who’s owner describes as “very photogenic,” which I can’t help but agree with. [30-33]

As just one of many dogs blessing the scene, it would be a crime to exclude the rest. [34-36]

I dragged an associate along on this journey, fellow LGHS senior, Dylan Johnston. He insisted upon taking his 2004 Jeep, Rango, explaining that he “needs to savor the final days with the top off.” Johnston promptly grew bored of the photo-taking siege I insisted upon and turned to his book for Social Justice English with Tiffany Hamm: “So You Want to Talk About Race,” by Ijeoma Oluo. He also tried his hand with the camera, producing some pretty close up shots of my necklaces and his rear view mirror — as well as a couple of the photos interlaced in this presentation. [36-40]

Wrapping up at this location, we dropped down to Mission Street to scout out a dinner joint. Incidentally the visit lined up with the Community Farmers’ Market. We passed through, spying some luscious produce and blooming flowers, but not finding anything for dinner yet. [41-44] 

Walking down Mission Street promises still more exciting scenes. Live music right on the sidewalk, many fresh murals, and excited faces searching for likely the exact same thing you are — food. Popping into stores that recently spawned in is a must, especially if they are overpriced vintage clothes! Besides that you can never go wrong with Paper Vision or Super Silver, two of my favs that we did not have time to stop by. [45-47]

After securing Five Guys, we made a mad-dash to Metavinyl for our last stop, a hole-in-the-wall vinyl shop. After seeing a sign on the street a block before, we could not help but pop in. The shop was well organized and one of the owners helped with questions we had, closing out our successful day. [48-53]




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