The Spring of the year, when the flowers bloom, the weather turns nice, and the great migration of people hit the streets of Santa Cruz. Yes, many travelers visit Santa Cruz and the population ebbs and flows throughout the year. This is most apparent in the fall, with the influx of new UCSC students, and also in the spring, with the influx of a wide variety of travelin’ folks. As someone who lives here year round, and not a traveler myself, I am not sure when people are coming from, or where they are headed. What I do know is they start to show up in Santa Cruz around March. You can tell who these folks are by the backpacks they wear and their style of dress. Many folks are the classic free-spirited modern hippies and don’t look like your typical tourists. With their long dreadlocked hair and loose-fitting clothes and interesting hats. These traveling folks like to hang out downtown for a few days on their way to somewhere else. Sometimes they stay longer, and sometime you only see them once. Many folks have a cardboard sign with vague descriptions like “NORTH” written on them. Many times these folks are traveling with an animal; be it a cat that rides on the top of a backpack, or a dog with a rope leash. What ever their current situation is, as long as they are traveling, Santa Cruz seems to have a gravitational pull that brings these folks from near and far. But I often wonder what their story actually is, where they are going, where they came from and why they decided to swing through Santa Cruz. Of course, I could always ask these folks and maybe I will some day. Until that time, I will just make note and enjoy the colorful characters that pass through this small town.
Here is a picture of Downtown Santa Cruz in the winter, before the influx of tourists and travelers have arrived.