Today’s prompt: A foreign exchange student is spending a week with you. What is the one scenic spot you take the student to?
My oldest is coming home today for Christmas. She’s a California native, but five years ago found that her personality fit the the big cities on the East Coast; she’s lived in Philadelphia and now resides outside of Boston. We usually get to see her twice a year, the summer and the Christmas holidays. No matter the time of the year she always wants to do four things: get an In-and-Out Burger, get some real Mexican food, walk by the ocean on West Cliff Drive and see her beloved Redwoods. (Btw. I don’t care what anyone says, there is really no decent Mexican food east of the Rockies, with the possible exception of Texas).
Santa Cruz County is the second smallest county in California, but boasts no less than 14 State parks. Most of them are less than a 30 minute drive from my house. There’s even Big Basin, which if you have the stamina, you can hike from the Redwood forests down to the Pacific Ocean in a single day. But my daughter’s and my favorite is Henry Cowell State Park. And that’s where I’d take my exchange student.
Henry Cowell is often overshadowed by Big Basin Park (which boasts as being the first California State Park and the first success for the preservation of Redwoods), but its still a beautiful place for a day hike and features a 40-acre grove of towering old-growth redwood trees. Even Teddy Roosevelt
considered the Redwood grove worthy of a visit back in the day. Henry Cowell has more that just Redwoods though. In the summer time, you can swim in the San Lorenzo River, which runs through the Park, or hike to the old Lime Kilns in the Fall Creek area, or catch a glimpse of the mule deer that frequent the fields that run parallel to the hiking paths. I love the park because its so accessible for anyone to enjoy the natural beauty that we see each day in Santa Cruz County. (And its only a fifteen minute drive from my house!)
So Henry Cowell is the destination of choice for our scenic spot. And yes, we’d all take our photo just like Teddy, in front of the Giant Redwood!