Santa Cruz authors reveal finest walks in metropolis, with secret staircases and landmarks as well – Santa Cruz Sentinel

SANTA CRUZ – Those who live on the west side of Santa Cruz have probably seen Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover run. Now, these hikes are recorded for those who love to explore the area – or those who are just fed up with the same quarantine hiking route.

“We’re known in town so people sometimes ask for suggestions because they’re fed up with the old block they’ve been taking for the past nine months,” Bulger said. “Since we walk pretty much everywhere in the city, we know a lot of places.”

Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover walk through Santa Cruz. (Contributed)

Write what you know

The husband and wife, retired from working and raising their children in Santa Cruz County, have been putting together Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz for the past six years. The progress of the book – which includes route descriptions for 28 hikes across the city – has really improved this year as the couple stayed home to avoid contracting COVID-19.

The book is divided into six areas, e.g. B. Walks from downtown, close to the boardwalk and West Cliff. Each walk includes distance and height. The shortest route is 1 mile and the longest is more than 6 miles. The active couple wanted all skills to find an option in their book.

“Some of the (walks) are perfectly flat, but it’s quite hilly here, so (the walks) can have significantly more elevation changes,” said Stover. “We make sure that people are aware of this. Can they make it up the hill? “

At the same time, Bulger and Stover created an area for the “real hardcore” people who want to connect the walks together. Joining trails for a longer walk may be daunting, but anecdotes about historical and natural features along the walks are an excuse to pause to appreciate all that the area has to offer. Stover made accompanying cards and took many of the photos while Bulger wrote the text and laid out the book, they explained.

“There is a lot of local history in the book. As we walk we point out important things like Fred Swanton’s house,” said Stover, before calling Swanton, a former Santa Cruz mayor, “Donald Trump of the 19th and 20th centuries Century “of the region. ”“ He owned the tram system and managed the tram to get to the house, so guests coming from out of town would sit on the electric tram and it would drive past the house (almost) to the front door. “

In general, but especially given the time, Bulger and Stover were prepared to have their book printed on site. That’s why they decided to print Secret Walks at Community Printers on Soquel Avenue.

“I have friends who have written books, and sometimes it is cheaper to print elsewhere now,” Bulger said when Stover nodded. “It was important to us to print it locally.”

Carried by her own two feet

Bulger said the couple’s long-standing habit of walking began about 20 years ago.

“I went for a walk after work and I think we became more aware of climate change and some of these issues,” she said. “When we go to the bank or watch a movie or something like that, it’s a nice trip. Of course we don’t go to the movies anymore, but if we did we could talk about the movie on the way home. “

And walking gives the couple an extra opportunity, emphasized Stover, who met his wife as a young hiker who’d come to the area for jobs.

“You can interact with your neighbors, and you can’t do that when you’re in a car,” he said.

Neither Bulger nor Stover have a “favorite walk”. It’s more about the time of year and the views you want to see that day. They took their children who they admit may have “walked out” when they took them near and through the Sierra Nevada on routes such as one that starts and descends on the hill at UC Santa Cruz to have.

Bulger said she took walks out of the book with those who haven’t already done it to make sure the directions are clear and concise. Her attention to detail has led her to focus on advocating pedestrians, which has led her to sit on several commissions in recent years and help with traffic research. Your understanding of pedestrian structures is contained in a special section of the book.

“I got a little familiar with transport issues, and there has been a lot of research since the 1990s that shows that we used to see transport as just cars, drivers,” said Bulger. “Caltrans and the city (Santa Cruz) are spending more money and more aware of these needs, not just the needs of the drivers. We still have a long way to go. “

“Secret Walks and Stairs in Santa Cruz” can be purchased from the Santa Cruz Bookshop and online at

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