Natural Bridges Essay, Research Paper
For my writing assignment #2, I chose to go somewhere that I have never been before. The place I chose to go was to the Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. Before I went on this field trip, I had never heard anything about it. When I asked my friends if they knew of any natural sites or museums, the first one they recommended was the Natural Bridges State Beaches. I asked them what was so interesting and significant about the place and they told me that I would find out when I go there myself.
When I arrived to the beach, I couldn t help but notice the bridge that was built, not built by man, but built by nature. The bridge connected by three arches that were carved out of sandstone cliff is what inspired the naming of the Natural Bridges. Waves crashing into the walls of the cliffs is what created the bridge as well as other natural bridges. As time goes on, the bridges are slowly starting to erode and fade away. It s somewhat sad to see something that is very interesting is slowly disappearing away piece by piece every time a wave hits the wall of the bridge.
What also was very fascinating that learned was that this beach is that it s the home of is a temporary home for 150,000 Monarchs each winter. The reason for there being so many butterflies that go to the beach is because of the mild ocean air. The air provides a wintering site free from the deadly frosts of the inland areas. The monarchs spend the spring and summer living in the valley regions west of the Rocky Mountains, where milkweed-the only plant that a monarch caterpillar eats-is plentiful. At the beach, along the trails, the eucalyptus grove planted by early settlers gives the butterflies a safe roost until spring, when they fly back inland. When I walked through the trails, I saw hundreds of different types of butterflies that were just covered with many beautiful colors. I have never seen that many monarchs together ever in my life before.
Along with seeing monarchs, there were many other animals that you could see from the beach. I saw many kinds of birds, seals, and sea otters swimming out in the ocean. The people that work there had told us to keep our eyes open for any whales. When the worker said that, my hopes shot straight up. I had never seen an actual whale that was not in a museum. The whole time that I was there, I didn t see not one whale at all. I was so disappointed because that guy got my hopes up for no reason. I really can t blame him but I need to blame someone.
What made this visit a history learning experience was learning about the Ohlone Indians. The Ohlone Indians were the first people to inhabit the Natural Bridges area. Small tribes, many with languages that were different than those of their neighbors, spanned the region from San Francisco Bay to Monterey Bay. Local plants, mussels, abalone, fish, and a variety of land animals supplemented their basic diet of acorns. During this pre-colonial period, the Natural Bridges area looked quite different than it looks today. Oak trees, coyote bush, and native bunch grasses were most likely to widespread, while eucalyptus trees, pine trees, ice plants, and non-native grasses had not yet been introduced by Europeans.
From 1542 to 1770, Spanish and English ships sailed along California s coast. Around the time of the American Revolution, Spanish settlers occupied the Monterey Bay region. Contact between the settlers and the Ohlone began the decline of the Ohlones hunting and gathering way of life. When the Ohlone were forced into the mission system and exposed to the European diseases, their numbers dwindled and their culture was forever lost.
By 1834, this territory was under newly-independent Mexico s rule, and Natural Bridges was used for cattle grazing by Mexican citizens. After the Mexican-American War, California became a territory of the United States. As settlers moved into California, the Natural Bridges changed ownership several times. The land supported a dairy, housed a South Seas movies set, and was terraced for a never-completed housing development. The State of California purchased the area for a state beach in 1933, and in 1954, visitor facility construction began.
I learned so many different things on this trip. If my friends had told me about this place I would have never gone to this beach. I do thank them for educating me with more knowledge and introducing a great place to go that I recommend 100 % to everyone else.