Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Morro Bay (#56)

April 14 - 17th, 2011 - This hike definitely puts the "and beyond" into "throughout San Diego County and beyond," since it takes place about 300 miles north of San Diego in the beautiful region known as Morrro Bay.

Our trailhead, if you will, is in Los Osos at the gorgeous vacation home of a right fine philanthropic couple befriended by my cousin/best friend.

Los Osos is a bulb of land that protrudes out into the bay from the east side. The house was right along the water so what you see here is what I woke up to. Absolutely fantastic.

My family and I had visited Morro Bay on a few occasions in the past. We never visited Los Osos, though, and so had never taken in this particular view of the iconic Morro Rock off in the distance.

It was such a spectacular morning I couldn't help but wander off and explore a little bit. About 12 very short blocks to the east I found my way to Elfin Forest.

How funny is that? I had been totally uninformed about such vegetation until a month ago when I hiked Elfin Forest in Escondido. Next thing I know,  a few hundred miles away, I find myself in yet another Elfin Forest. I can't help but appreciate the universal access these wooden boardwalks provided.

The wetlands here are incredibly rich in all the important things that wetlands provide. I sat and watched birds for about a half hour before heading out this morning and I can't even begin to describe the beauty and quantity of what I observed. If you are a birder, you must make this one of your stops!

Looking back at Los Osos from the Elfin Forest.

What comes in...

         ... must go out!

The twisted humor I derived from this scene was probably not so funny to this pair of mariners who found themselves stuck in the mud for nearly an hour, at times out of the boat in waist-high bay-muck trying to shimmy their boat into deeper water. For the record, though, I gladly gave them a loud celebratory hoot when at last they broke free from their muddy trap.

The "Rock" that looks SO HUGE from a distance...

...just doesn't appear quite as large when you're up close.

Plenty of beach here at the mouth of the harbor looking from the base of Morro Rock.

Not too many miles north of Los Osos is the jewel of an area known as Montana de Oro State Park. On a past trip my wife and I spent pretty much an entire day at Spooner's Cove there, while the boys traipsed around in the caves on this picturesque beach.

This time we chose to hike the very nearby Bluff Trail. Pretty simple concept: it's a trail on...  (are you ready for it?) ...the bluff.

Everything was beautiful about the trail. We were obviously very lucky with the weather. It was so nice I could hardly complain too loudly (though I did) about the hellacious sunburn I did receive. Springtime radiation catches me by surprise every year!

So many other tales could be shared about this four day journey...  trips to the wine country (beautiful!), jaunts to Chumash Indian Casino (expensive!), a visit to the nearby pool hall on our wedding anniversary (cheap!), a drive past Solvang (brief!), and  the list goes on.

Big time thanks to my cousin's friends for sharing their place with him and his wife, and to my cousins for sharing their trip with us.

Another Great, and Very Special, Hike!

The Trailhead

Elfin Forest

Prime Wetlands

View from Elfin Forest toward Los Osos

Stuck in the muck!

Looking up at "The Rock"

Bluff Trail

Spooner's Cove

Cormorants all in a row

Cuz getting closer to the action!

Sunset from the "Trail Head!"

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