Special Sections

Young at Heart April 2022

Issue link: https://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/1466209

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 5

Dominican Oaks resident Shirley Mallman and her dog Charlie. "Once I took the lead by moving to Dominican Oaks, my life really has been like a walk in the park. Delicious meals prepared for me, my housekeeping taken care of, plenty of social events and good friends. Who knew life could be so easy?" Active Retirement for Active People DominicanOaks.com 3400 Paul Sweet Road, Santa Cruz 831.462.6257 Sponsored by Dignity Health Dominican Hospital. Lic. No. 440708773 April 2022 edition Special Advertising Supplement to the Santa Cruz Sentinel Young at Heart Young at Heart In Santa Cruz County Continued on page 2 S N O I T C E J N I C I G O L O I B www.trilogymedical.net Soquel: (831) 600-8117 4105 Soquel Drive Exploring Mt. Madonna County Park By Tara Fatemi Walker Mt. Madonna County Park is a fantastic desti- nation for people of all ages, including seniors, and it has trails for both beginning and experi- enced hikers. Spring is a perfect season to visit. With its location at the top of the Santa Cruz Moun- tains, there are different microclimates throughout the park. Depending on the day and which part of the park you're in, you may feel cooler marine air coming in from the Mon- terey Bay or warmer drier climate from the Santa Clara Valley. Even though it's not one of the first parks that some Santa Cruz County residents think of when looking for a place to explore, Mt. Madonna Park is vast and impres- sive with about 3,200 acres! Plus, the landscape has many different types of terrain (redwood forest, oak woodland, chaparral, and meadows) and there is interesting regional history related to cattle and land magnate Henry Miller. Let's start by discussing the trails, which range from 150 to 1,712 feet in elevation gain. If you're looking for a short and easy hike, try the Giant Twins Trail which is about a half mile in length. "It takes about 25-30 minutes at a relaxed pace," says Santa Clara County Park Ranger David Hamblin. "You will see many old large growth redwoods, and it's a really beautiful trail." For a hike that is "easy to moderate," there are several to choose from. One that Hamblin sug- gests: start with the Bay View Trail at the park's entrance and follow this as it turns into the East Bay View Trail. "Then you loop back, and it's about 1.4 miles in total," says Hamblin. "It's one of the only trails where, on high visibility days, you have a nice view of the Bay through the trees." He emphasizes this is pretty rare; all the condi- tions have to be perfect (no fog, etc.). Interested in a longer, more strenuous hike? "I like doing the 2.5-mile Sprig Trail to the Black- hawk Trail to the Ridge Trail; you'll be doing roughly a five-mile loop," says Hamblin. Not only is it great exercise—half the hike is uphill, half downhill—there is also a range of terrain you'll encounter. With the Sprig Trail, you're in the red- wood forest. At the Ridge Trail you'll see a lot of oak woodland including live oaks and tanoaks, the latter of which are not 'true members' of the oak family but are actually evergreen. However, they share many oak charac- teristics. If you end up hiking in the future, try going during the winter months when "…flows are at the highest from the rain. On the Blackhawk Trail you'll get to see Blackhawk Creek next to the trail, which makes for a wonderful experience," adds Hamblin. Last but not least, this five-mile hike has many places to stop and rest including a memorial bench, a picnic table on the Blackhawk Trail, and a picnic bench at the end of the hike which makes for a great eating spot after the appe- tite you've worked up. In addition to the afore- mentioned tree varieties, you can enjoy seeing Madrone and Bay Trees during your park visit. Let's get back to that his- tory we mentioned earlier. One site that some Mt. Madonna Park visitors peruse is the remains of vacation homes that be- longed to German Ameri- can rancher Henry Miller (formerly known as Hein- rich Kreiser, he changed his name after emigrat- ing). These remains are located between the Upper Miller and Lower Miller Trail (side note: the Upper Miller Trail is also where you can see a white fallow deer inside a pen; there used to be a herd of several, but now there is one remaining). The land where the park now resides was originally part of the Las Animas Rancho, and Miller started purchasing sections of this in 1859 to raise cattle. The Miller family spent time camping at Mt. Madonna starting in 1879 for about 15 years. Then, as the park brochure mentions, Miller built four houses on-site starting with "a two-sto- ry redwood cabin with five or six rooms" and ending with "an elaborate home in 1901 at a cost of $250,000, with seven bed- rooms and a 3,600-square- foot ballroom." After Miller died in 1916, the homes "fell into disrepair" but you can still view the remnants. In 1927, Santa Clara County purchased the first piece of what is now Mt. Madonna Park from the Miller Family heirs. Between 1930- 1961, they bought 1,000 more acres. Depending on when you visit the park, you can spot different wildlife in- cluding Black-tailed deer and Wild Turkeys, and amphibians such as Pa- cific Giant Salamanders, California Newts, Pacific Tree Frogs, Arboreal Salamanders, and Red- Legged Frogs (the latter is listed as a vulnerable species by the Internation- al Union for Conservation of Nature). Numerous bird species include Acorn Contributed photo

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Special Sections - Young at Heart April 2022