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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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6 Lessons I've Learned From Seattle's Snowmageddon

The Seattle freeze is real.

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From epic school closures to hundreds of flight cancellations — Snowmageddon took no prisoners in Washington. Like an ultimate game of freeze tag, it blustered through Seattle and the surrounding Puget sound areas — putting everyone's lives on pause. Things that normally wouldn't have happened — happened: Snow reached record heights, delivery trucks jack-knifed, grocery stores emptied, and power outages left thousands in the dark. In North Bend — where the snow reached 16 to 24 inches, the Washington National Guard was called to help save a man trapped in his home located down a snowed-in drive way. It's been an unusually rough couple of weeks so far for Washingtonians. But through the storm I've learned some very valuable lessons:

1. Always be prepared --- stock up on groceries early.

Grocery Store

I will never wait the day before a storm hits to buy groceries again. During Snowmageddon, parking spaces were almost non-existent and the lines of nearly every grocery store spilled down the aisles. Soccer moms fought over the few remaining carts. As children (and possibly cashiers) pondered if the world was coming to an end.

2. Sleep is your best friend --- and worst enemy.

Bed with natural light

Being snowed in for these past two weeks has allowed me to enjoy some of the best sleep of my college career. In addition to a daily 8-hour rest — I've also been able to get in a few power naps. But I've learned if you sleep too much you can miss out on the winter wonderland that awaits outdoors. Or procrastinate on your assignments. So it's best to keep one's schedule in tact and set an alarm.

3. Many Western Washingtonians can't drive --- especially in snow.

Snow covered road

Videos of sliding cars on icy hills and slick streets in Seattle can be found on YouTube. While those maybe entertaining — what's not funny is the hundreds of car accidents that occurred during Snowmagedden. The main comment from authorities and drivers alike is that too many people were driving too fast for the conditions. Like seriously, people. Slow down.

4. Candles over everything.

Lit candle

As a child, I remember my mom would light vanilla scented candles whenever our went power out. No matter how scary the storm or how cold we felt in the darkness — I'll never forget how the warm glow of the flame and delicious scent always made me feel safe. Whether you prefer wax, soy or flameless have a candle nearby for instant light and security.

5. Have games and activities on deck.

Scrabble game pieces

If you have a candle or lantern handy — you'll find games like Scrabble, Charades, Glow in the dark Air hockey and Cards against Humanity can be fun to play in the dark.

6. Disasters really do bring people together.

Hands with words of uniting on them

I work part-time at Safeway and am fortunate to have a manager who cares about employees. When the heavy snow hit and everyone began making calls, my manager drove people to work. Even my co-workers who weren't fond of him were appreciative. Throughout the week, I heard stories of people checking in on seniors, neighbors sharing food, strangers helping others dig out stuck vehicles and temporary homeless shelters opening up around the area. Proof positive that Snowmageddon may have chilled our bodies — but it hasn't frozen our hearts.

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