Okay…I finally took the plunge and joined some local hiking groups. I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time but never pulled the trigger. It doesn’t stop me from getting out on my own in the woods near home but have found it to be a great way to connect with others who love exploring the woods as much as I do and a great way to explore new venues (which I wouldn’t do on my own).
My first group is Santa Cruz Women Hiking. This is an all women’s group which has an interesting dynamic…very relaxed and civilized…socializing being the key component and the hiking part just happens as we walk and talk.
Our “maiden” voyage was a couple of weeks ago to Pogonip which is comprised of meadows, woods, creeks, and trails and butts up to the UCSC campus.
Now there is quite a bit of speculation as to how this area got the name of Pogonip. It has many meanings. My favorite, and the least likely interpretation to pass muster, is given by Dorothy Deming Wheeler, the founder of the Pogonip Polo Club. She liked to say that po was for polo, go for golf, and nip for that little nip at the bar. Works for me! Here’s a picture of the old clubhouse. It used to be a swanky place but for many years the property has been sitting in limbo and time has taken its toll. It is now being remodeled but will it get finished and opened to the public remains a big mystery.
The club opened as Santa Cruz Golf and Country Club in 1912 and was where the Santa Cruz elites hung out. It had an 18-hole golf course. When that fizzled out, the Pogonip Polo Club was christened in 1936. I find it interesting that polo was once a huge sport in this area—it was popular to both men and women.
Before this area became a la-di-da hot spot, though, Santa Cruz was a major center for the lime industry and when you hike into the woods, you can still see the old lime kilns.
Above the kilns is where we stopped for a snack.
For some reason, this area has become a mecca for rock stackers. A few years ago, two-thirds of these cairns didn’t exist so someone has been busy! It’s hard to be here and not be compelled to add your own…Larry’s and mine (from a previous trip) is in here somewhere.
After lunch we headed back and stopped at spring box. This is the first time that I have seen it stocked with koi. I’m sure the wildlife is pleased with this development as well.