The Bluff Trail

Today I ventured out to Montaña de Oro State Park to hike the Bluff Trail. The Pacific Coast is stunningly beautiful in many places, and this stretch near Los Osos and Morro Bay is one of those places. Cliffs, rocks, thundering waves, sand, and all sorts of wildlife. Most of the coast in this area is not safe for swimming. The currents are vicious. Waves crash and churn. The floor of the ocean is made of jagged and sharp rock instead of soft sand. Sharks are also nearby, so getting pulled out to sea is not appealing. I parked by Spooner’s Cove and commenced walking.

Spooner's Cove

Spooner’s Cove

I failed to capture the impressiveness of the views from the Bluff Trail. I’d like to say the scene is too big to be captured on film, but I suspect it has more to do with my (lack of) composition skills than the limits of my camera.

The water, rocks, and waves are beautiful.

The water, rocks, and waves are beautiful.

I spent some time by the water at Corallina Cove. The cove is part sandy beach and part reef. I walked out on the rocky reef to look at some of the social sea creatures.

Corallina Cove

The rocky reef at Corallina Cove

Sea stars socializing on Saturday.

Sea stars socializing on Saturday.

An underwater anemone (at least I think it's an anemone).

An underwater anemone (at least I think it’s an anemone).

I saw all sorts of crabs and snails in the rocks. There were also some small fish that darted around.

Farther down the coast I found another cove (it might be Quarry Cove?). The water was really churning through the rocks, so I didn’t want to get very close.

Another rocky stretch of beach.

Another rocky stretch of beach.

At the end of the Bluff Trail there is a beach. Unfortunately reaching it would involve jumping off a cliff.

The beach at the end of the Bluff Trail.

The beach at the end of the Bluff Trail.

At various points along the coast there are openings in the rocks. They look very enticing and very deadly.

Another scene from the trail.

A cave-like opening along the coast.

While I was walking back along the trail I encountered a few creatures.

A squirrel sits on a fence.

A squirrel sits on a fence.

The squirrel was not shy.

The squirrel was not shy.

The deer here have large ears.

The deer here have large ears (and necks).

The Bluff Trail is a pleasant, low effort hike with spectacular views. It lacks the staggering panorama that many of the local peaks offer, but seeing the coast up close is impressive.

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As I returned to my car I saw a guy with a snake hook poking around the brush and debris near Rattlesnake Flats. He was very intent. I was going to ask him if he had seen any rattlesnake, but I had visions of him turning to speak to me and suddenly being struck by the 87 snakes waiting for him to drop his guard.

While I was driving through the eucalyptus forest and out of the park I was passed by two ambulances and a park service emergency vehicle. It was a reminder that the coast is beautiful but dangerous. On Thursday a Cal Poly student died at Spooner’s Cove while swimming by the rocks. Nature has force and venom–tread carefully.

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