10 Hidden Spots at UCSC

10 Hidden Spots at UCSC

Need a good adventure? Look no further!
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I would be lying if I didn’t say the main reason that I chose to go to UC Santa Cruz was because of the location. From the minute I accepted my admission, I was looking forward to exploring all around the campus. I was able to discover so many of the “hidden” and not so hidden wonders that the place has to offer. So I’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most beautiful places to explore on-campus (or near campus) at UCSC!

The Garden of Eden

The Garden of Eden is a beautiful place to hike to! It’s not incredibly difficult to find, especially because there tends to always be other students going to-and-from, so you can always just follow the herd! Head up the hill beside Merrill, once you reach the top of it you will turn right. Continue walking along that path, you should eventually pass the apartments on your right. You will then hit a trailhead. Follow this trailhead until you reach the bottom. There will be an option to go to the right, but stay to the left. This will lead you to a road; you will cross this road and head straight down onto railroad tracks. Follow these tracks heading left, and you will eventually find this spot on your right. It’s a decent walk alongside the railroad so be prepared! Here’s a video detailing it also. It can be a bit of a trek and is uphill on the way back, so if you do decide to go swimming there, it would be advised to bring a change of clothes to hike back in.

The Porter Caves

Having lived in the Porter dorms, these were one of the first spots I was told to explore. They’re extremely easy to find, simply head down the hill behind the Porter/Kresge Dining Hall into the meadows. Continue into the forest and there will be a path. Follow this path downward and it will lead you directly to the Porter Caves! Do be advised that the caves can be wet and slippery, as well as muddy, so dress appropriately!

Pogonip Koi Pond

This is one of my favorite places I’ve explored while at UCSC. To get there, you will have to get to Pogonip. The easiest way to get there for this hike, is by following the McLaughlin Drive, the entry will eventually be on your left-hand side. From there you will follow the path until you reach a turn off for Spring Box Trail, follow this and you will eventually see the koi pond!

Behind the Amphitheater

This is another easy spot to find, but is extremely beautiful. The amphitheater is alongside the path from the bookstore up to the hill to the Merrill/Crown bus stop. Although this place isn’t anything too special, it's definitely an underrated location and can be fun to explore.

The Tree House

To get here, simply go the same way as you would to the Porter Caves, however, continue walking along the path. Follow this path and you will eventually be headed uphill and towards a tree house.

The Buddha Shrine

This one is hard to describe the exact location, however, it’s not too hard to find. To get to the trail, you will start the same way as you would if you were going to the Garden of Eden, except once you reach the top of the hill at Crown/Merrill you will turn left. There is a trailhead and you will then enter and follow the trail. Eventually, the trail will widen substantially, you will then also begin to see smaller trails break off from the large trail. The Buddha Shrine is found alongside one of the trails on your right.

The Trailer Park

This isn’t really a “hidden” place, as people do live there, but it’s definitely worth visiting at least once during your time at UCSC. To get there you will simply follow the road that is alongside Porter and Kresge, Porter Kresge Road, and you will easily get there. This place is extremely unique and has a Santa Cruz vibe to it.

Upper Campus

Although there is no exact place to explore, upper campus is well worth the visit! The trailhead can be found at the top of the Crown/Merrill hill, to your left. There are miles of hiking to do up there and endless things to see and explore. This is also where the Cat Shrine, Buddha Shrine, and other treasures are!

Chadwick Garden aka The Cat Garden

This also is not a “hidden” place; however, if you are interested in cats (or plant) this is worth the visit! At the cat garden, not only do you get to play with and pet the cats that roam in there, there’s also sometimes free plants that they’re giving away. To get there you will follow McLaughlin road until you reach Merrill Road, head up this and you will eventually run into the garden!

Wishing Tree

This is a fun place to go and cast your wish. Just remember it’s rude to read others wishes! You will head up behind College 9/10, into the woods. You will get there the same way you would get to The Buddha Shrine. Follow the path until it gets wide, and this time you will be looking for a path along your left side!

Also, keep an eye out for animals while on your adventures! In just my first year I saw over a hundred banana slugs, and a wide array of deer, snakes, lizards, etc.


Cover Image Credit: http://imgur.com/a/3j4NK

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An Open Letter To My Dog In Heaven

You're so incredibly loved and missed.
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You have been there every day for so long. I woke up and went to bed every day knowing you were there and would still be there when I awoke the next morning. You never failed to greet me with an ecstatic wagging tail and an adorable toothy smile whenever I walked into the room. I missed you every single second that we weren't together. We have been the best of friends since the day we met, and our bond has only strengthen throughout the years.

However, as I grew older, so did you. As I was able to do more, you were able to do less. I was able to drive, go to the movies on my own, and apply to college. But you, you couldn't jump as high anymore, you couldn't run as fast as you used to, you couldn't swim as much as you would have liked. Even when your abilities declined, you still remained the happiest pup I had ever met and would continue to always try your hardest to make me happy.

Then the day came. That dreadful, dreadful day. The day where I had to watch you take your last breath as I laid by your side, the day where I had to watch the vet take away the best friend that I had ever known. As horrible as that moment was, and as sad as I still am, I am at peace.

I am at peace because I know that you are in a much, much better place. I know that as soon as you took your last breath here on Earth, God swept your beautiful, innocent soul from the ground and flew you to Heaven. I know that you have gained your furry little wings that you so rightfully deserve, and I am proud that I was able to know and love such an amazing little angel as you.

As I am still here on Earth, I can't say that I know what Heaven above is like for you, but I hope that you are truly having the time of your life. I hope that you are surrounded by perfectly green meadows filled with colorful flowers and blanketed by the bluest skies and the brightest rays of sunshine. I hope that you have hundreds of different lakes, ponds, streams, and even oceans to swim in as much as your sweet little heart pleases. I hope that you have already met with all of our relatives up there and that they give you endless treats and belly rubs, since I no longer can. I hope that all of your pain and suffering has vanished, allowing you to be the young, energetic pup that you once were and have been longing to be for so long now.

Even though we are no longer physically together anymore, you will forever remain in my heart and soul. You were a blessing sent from above, and now, God needs you back. Thank you for completing me and teaching me important life lessons; I will carry you with me everywhere I go until we meet again. I love you, my guardian angel.

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Every Household Needs A Dog

Dog lovers have got it right.

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Whether it's 101 Dalmatians or a St. Bernard named Beethoven, every household needs a dog. Forget cats, fish, and hamsters! They have their perks but nothing beats a dog. I mean look at that face!


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Here are eight reasons dogs are a must:

1. They are great with kids

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When trained properly, dogs make great playmates for kids. They give children the opportunity to develop and interact with the natural world around them.

2. They are protective

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From the smallest pup to the largest dog, all dogs will protect your home from any danger. Whether it is from a lizard that crept in or a burglar, your dog will alarm you of any unwanted guests.

3. They make great companions

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Dogs have a great intuition to tell if you are feeling down. They are readily there to offer comfort. Dogs also are always ready to celebrate with you. They jump even at the simple act of you coming home.

4. They love to cuddle

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Cold nights watching Netflix just got 100 times better with your furry friend. They will even cover your eyes during the scary parts of the movie.

5. They make you laugh

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Dogs have their own sense of humor that is incomparable to any other. With simply chasing their tails, you can be entertained for hours.

6. They bring you gifts

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Dogs are generous by nature. They see your shoes on the ground, they will bring them to you. They see a cool stick, they'll want you to see it too.

7. They are loyal

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I've never seen a service cat. But I sure have seen a service dog. Dogs are loyal and obedient. Once you fall for each other, they never leave your side.

8. They are adorable

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Finally, dogs are just so darn cute! How can you say no to loving them!!

Dogs are the best! You can have other pets, but a dog is a must.


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