There are many small winding roads (which aren't shown on the Google Map above) through the mountains between the San Jose area and Santa Cruz through the Santa Cruz Mountains. The mountains aren't so high, at most ~2,000 ft, but they are covered with old and second growth redwoods. Its fun to drive past the many state parks and open space reserves that are in the area.
The beach we had lunch at near the city of Davenport.
We headed to the beach as our first destination, where we had a picnic. We stopped at a beach just past the Ano Nuevo State Reserve, where the elephant seals live, and had lunch. It was so warm, we didn't need a wind-coat. Next we drove back into the redwoods to go hiking in Butano State Park. We hiked through oaks and berry patches, and finally into a pine forest and further through a redwood forest deep in a canyon with a small stream running through it. There was a campground we passed through with lots of camper making fires. Then we drove out of the park and down more winding roads, Bonny Doon Rd and Route 236, which were neat! Route 236 went right through Big Basin Redwoods State Park, where we stopped at the visitor center. They had huge blown-up maps of the area made for hiking, and we discovered that there was a trail which went in and between many of the state parks, such as Portola, Butano, Big Basin, and Castle Rock. There are also back-country campsites for through hikers. One day we will do the multi-day hike!
Castle Rock State Park at Sunset
As it was getting dark, we drove back towards home, driving past Castle Rock State Park of Route 9 and then continued down Skyline Blvd (Hwy 35) back to Hwy 92 and over the bay. The picture above is looking over the park. All of the darker mountains in the background are forested with redwoods.
Since we bought our digital SLR Canon camera, we haven't been able to take short videos because the camera doesn't have that feature. The Olympus camera which we found kinda sucks (photo quality and zoom) but it was free and it takes videos, so we tried making one at the beach. This is the first time I am posting a video clip on the blog, so here it goes: