Coastal Cliffs or Wilder Ranch State Park

When you get the chance to adventure to Santa Cruz California you will see an amazing coastal landscape shaped by wind, weather, time and of course waves. About every 8 seconds waves smash into part of the coastal core (in this case Wilder Ranch State Park) taking bits and pieces of the coast with it.

Waves crashing into the coast every 8 seconds adds up to about 10,800 waves per day or better yet 3,942,000 waves per year!!

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This non-stop “motion of the ocean” (in this case literally ocean motion only) tirelessly shapes the coast line and cliff edges throughout California. But how?

Coastal erosion and cliff side undercutting – one of the approx. 4 million waves per year

A wave’s strength is controlled by its fetch and wind speed. (AH FACT – fetch is the length of water over which a given wind has blown) Longer fetches & stronger winds create bigger, more powerful waves that have more erosive power- as you can see during coastal storms. However, as the waves approach a coastline they lose energy though because friction with the seabed increases as the water gets shallower. This means that the underwater elevation of the ocean or sea bed also impacts the strength of waves.

That explanation makes sense if you have ever seen a storm smash into the coast or even a hurricane making land fall. And though a hurricane attacking Florida is different from normal ocean actions… you get my point.

Ponding atop the cliff

(AH FACT – we really don’t get hurricanes on the west coast)

Explore the coast to find some solitude or a bit of adventure in Wilder Ranch State Park. A former dairy ranch, this place has some exciting options to choose from! You can hike the Santa Cruz Mountain, to bike the well-maintained coastal trail; or even to picnic near the 1897 Victorian style ranch home.   HEY! That a picnic with the entire family can be an adventure too!!

Coast trail walk

But while you are there, or along any coast line, just remember to pause a bit and look at a couple of the waves as they relentlessly break upon the cliffs…

Great! Only about 3 million more waves to go!


Adventure Hydrology
Adventurer, Scientist, Explorer - Chris Wolff is the Worlds first Adventure Hydrologist