My Earth Day Hike

Friday was my day off, and also just happened to be Earth Day — a perfect excuse to revisit one of my favorite hikes: the bluffs along the ocean in Wilder Ranch State Park.

The bluffs at Wilder Ranch State Park

We’ve had a lot of rain this winter, and it was interesting to see the extent of the erosion along the trail. Here’s a good example. That roped-off cliff edge used to be the trail.

Erosion at Wilder Ranch State Park

I wasn’t the only one out and about. I stopped for a while to watch a hawk hunting. I believe it is a Sharp-Shinned Hawk; any confirmations out there?

A hawk hunting

After a few miles, you come to Strawberry Beach. There’s a long loop around the beach and marshland behind it, or you can take a shortcut down and across the beach.

Strawberry Beach

This shortcut is best taken at low tide, since high water and marsh runoff can block the narrow ledge that leads back up to the bluffs. I only take this shortcut on the way out; somehow I feel better with a drop on my right side instead of my left, and it’s definitely easier to negotiate the narrow path while going uphill.

The narrow trail back up

Yes, it does get a bit difficult to navigate.

Narrow and uneven trail

Most of my pictures look out towards the ocean. The other side of the trail is also interesting, mostly agricultural. Here’s a good crop of artichokes. The mid-coast produces something crazy like 99.9% of the US artichoke supply.


Do I need to mention it’s a gorgeous day?


There’s been a lot of rain lately, so the grasses have been growing like crazy, and fewer people have been out on the trails. Still, I’m surprised at how grown-over the trail out here has become. It’s usually more like a dirt road than a single track path.

Grown up trail

I paused for lunch on a bluff. Here come some surfers, climbing down to the narrow rocky beach. If you look closely, you can see some other surfers already out in the water where the wave is breaking.

Surfers descending to the beach

The now-overcast sky doesn’t dim the brightness of these asters. This is my destination: Four Mile Beach.

Flowers above Four Mile Beach

I love the bluffs. So interesting to see the layered rock. The gulls love them too, for the updrafts along their edge.

Gulls and sky

Diagonal vein

Cliff with cypress

My round trip was approximately 10.5 miles. Here’s one last picture from the day: some calla lilies in a sheltered cove.

Calla lilies

Author: Melissa

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