In addition to eating lots of yummy things while my parents were visiting early last week, we also took the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather and go on a few mellow hikes/walks. It was a nice change of pace and scenery to explore areas with easy access and ability level–quite a bit different from our last Morro Bay hike!
The first hike/walk was a mellow, half-mile loop or so right off of the marina. The trail was pretty much devoid of all other human life, so you could really witness nature in its true form. The trail also has gorgeous views of the rock in Morro Bay as well as the estuary. The marina is also home to Central Coast Outdoors, a local tour company, that leads numerous kayak tours around the area (look really closely and you might be able to see them!).
Next, we headed over to the Los Osos Oaks Preserve, an area of Pygmy Oaks, Chumash Indian sites, and lots of poison oak. This hike is a short loop as well–only about 1 mile–but there are so many twists and turns and path choices along the way that it seems like you really are in the depths of an Eflin forest and not near the side of a busy road! According to the CA State Parks website,
Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve features ancient sand dunes covered with centuries-old coast live oak trees. According to botanists, five major plant communities thrive within the reserve. They are coastal sage scrub, central coastal scrub, dune oak scrub, coast live oak forest, and riparian (streamside). The oak communities exist close to each other, but each has its own character. The oak scrub has dwarf oak trees growing on the ancient (relict) sand dune. Though they are coast live oak trees, they rarely grow more than six to eight feet tall. The larger coast live oaks are located where the soil is moister. These giants can grow to 25 feet in height. Their massive trunks and gnarled branches twist into all sorts of fantastic shapes.
Often, short hikes and walks can seem like a waste of time, and as such, they’re often overlooked in pursuit of more “worthy” adventures. But, sometimes, when you don’t have much time or don’t really want to hike 8 miles or climb 100s of feet in elevation, they can be just what you need.