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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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The Old Oak Tree

A short poem about returning to one's childhood home.

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Looming over the burned-out house is an oak tree,

Hundreds of years old at least.

The smell of smoke is gone, but skeleton of the house remains,

A mere speck when compared to the tree.

Whose branches reach out to me like hands,

Begging for me to come closer.

I do.

I sit under the tree like I did when I was young.

The ground is damp from the rain,

I feel the sogginess soaking through my jeans.

I remain.

It is cooler under the branches,

A limitless amount of leaves shades me from the daylight.

I stay there. All day.

Staring at the charred remains of my childhood home.

I stay there until fog begins to form in the crisp night air,

Cold and sharp against my cheeks.

No longer able to withstand the cold, I take my leave looking back once more.

It's nice to know that even when I'm gone,

The old oak tree remains.

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