Sunday, September 4, 2016

Hiking Big Basin Redwoods

Today, we decided to hike the beautiful Big Basin Redwoods State Park near Santa Cruz, CA.
We have not hiked there for over 15 years and were wondering what, if anything, has changed.

The drive to Big Basin Redwoods from San Jose was fairly uneventful. I drove  on Highway 85 west followed by Highway 9, south to 236. The narrow, twisty road was not as difficult as I remembered. However, when I approached Big Basin, I hit a serious traffic jam. It took me 20+ minutes to get into the park. Once there, I was told by the ranger that there was no parking! However, we got lucky as more spots opened up in a few minutes. Coming on Labor Day is not always a good idea.

As it was late in the day, we decided to do a short hike that reached the closest waterfall. The ranger suggested that we take Sequoia Trail from the Big Basin Headquarters and follow it along, until we reached Sempervirens Falls. From there, we could continue in a clockwise loop on the Shadowbrook Trail back. The entire round-trip was supposed to be approximately 5 miles or about 2 hours.

Along the tail, there were may groves of tall redwoods and plenty of shade on a hot day.

The actual Sempervirens Falls are not very impressive (compared to other falls I have seen).

Since Inna did not have breakfast, she purchased a "Tree Hugger Wrap" at the Big Basin Cafe. She decided to eat it at the Sempervirens Falls. The wrap turned out to be quite good and she shared half the wrap with me.

The hike back from Sempervirens Falls was quite pleasant, and I enjoyed walking beneath heavy tree cover on a warm summer day. Along the way, we ran into a stray dog that followed us for 20 minutes, but it eventually found other people to follow.

We finished the hike at 5:20pm and headed back to Los Gatos (as Saratoga did not have any interesting restaurants for us to try). The hike was originally supposed to take us 2 hours for 5 miles, but it ended up being closer to 2.5 hours and 5.6 miles.

Inna found a well-rated new restaurant in Los Gatos - Oak & Rye - and we decided to give it a try.
For appetizer, we ordered "Heirloom Tomatoes" and a "Homemade Pretzel". The tomatoes were great but the pretzel a bit too small.

For our main entree, we ordered the famous "Scotty 2 Hottie" pizza. It was a bit spicy but quite well prepared. I think it will give Pizza My Heart some competition!

We enjoyed our time there and will be back!