Moss Landing, CA on the Monterey Bay is an eclectic little town. Part fishing village, part research center (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Moss Landing Marine Labs), part beach, part marina, part yummy restaurants and of course a few places to walk.
We had a sunny evening walk around town and discovered the link to a beach walk. Here’s one entrance at the end of the buildings along Sandholdt Rd. (There’s another opening by Phil’s Fish Market. and another parking lot near the bridge that involves climbing a dune.)
At the end of the road, we came to the opening to the boat harbor and across the water was where we walked in 2010. That area is accessed from Hwy 1 at Jetty Rd.
The next morning we had sunshine and took time to read and look over the wetland area. By the time we headed north to the other side of Elkhorn Slough the fog had arrived. Not that we couldn’t enjoy Zmudowski State Park.
We actually did climb one of those dunes and got this view. The vista the other way is the ocean and beach. Too foggy to work as a picture.
Walking along the road (bring spare tires, new shocks and watch out for the man-eating holes) we could enjoy some of the lagoon’s beauty.
We drove back through the strawberry fields and decided to head inland and find some sun. (Give thanks to the people who harvest these beauties; strawberries grow well in this area.)
Going uphill on Dolan Rd. (passing the power plant that dominates the skyline when it’s not too foggy.) we found the sun.
Manzanita Park was closed but we did find Royal Oak Regional Park near Watsonville. The weave of oak branches was wondrous. The park is built for recreation- group picnic grounds, grills and huge turning spits and playgrounds. On a Monday, we had the place to ourselves. There are some hiking trails, but I guess the dune climb had done us in. We just admired the trees.
We’ve been to the main entrance to the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, but we skirted the north edge along Elkhorn Rd. and stopped at Kirby Park. The water appeared steamy and was sulfurously smelly. But now we were begging for a walk.
Marbled godwits worked the mudflats and pickleweed filled the areas around the trail dotted with some California lotus. The path is old pavement, boardwalk and dirt along a railroad track. You might get a 2-mile walk if you went from the small boat launch in the parking lot past the boardwalk.
We returned to Moss Landing to catch the fun scene below in a “before” the elephant seal and the “after.”
We eventually had to leave Moss Landing, making the obligatory stop at Pescadero – where the sun showed up again.
Another great weekend. Gosh we love California.
Words by Lynn Millar
Pictures by Mike Millar