Place: Morro Bay State Park, Morro Bay, California
Difficulty: Easy to strenuous.
Whenever we drive south on Hwy1 we go by Morro Rock, standing out on the ocean's background, on the north side of Morro Bay. On the weekend of Martin Luther King's Day we joined our friends for camping at Morro Bay State Park, on eastern shore of Morro Bay.
We arrived on Saturday afternoon and built our camp. Our friends, who were there since the day before, were hiking somewhere at the nearby Montana del Oro State Park and we looked for a nice, short trail to hike until sunset. We selected the Black Hill trail that begins right at the campground and leads to the summit of the 661ft high Black Hill.
|The Black Hill trail, labeled in yellow.|
|The Black Hill of Morro Bay State Park|
There were quite a few pine trees along the way. One of them had some dead, fallen branches underneath. I liked the pretty spirals of its pine cones.
|Dead pinecones encircled by new growth|
|The Morro Estuary|
A little further inland the creek made a nice S curve in the vegetation.
From afar, they looked just like some rusty leaves, shimmying.
|Clusters of Monarch Butterflies.|
|A cluster of Monarch Butterflies.|
|A close-up of a few butterflies|
The climb was strenuous but the view on top was worth all the sweat!
|Southwest: Morro Rock|
|Northwest: the delta of Chorro Creek - Morro Estuary|
|Sun glaze on the water, Morro Bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond.|
We backtracked the same trail, and on the way down I took the time to observe the surrounding a bit more carefully.
I took notice of the extensive 'beard' of lichen that decorated many of the trees:
|Lichen 'beard' hanging off a pine tree|
The sun beat us to the horizon and we arrived back at the campsite just past sunset. The trail is about 2.5 miles and the hike took us, in leisure, about 3 hours.
The campground of Morro Bay State Part is well developed and clean. It is, however, very crowded without any trees or bushes to provide any sense of privacy. Also, there is no separation between tent campers and RV campers and we had to suffer the generator noise of the RV in the neighboring site. I admit I much prefer the more desolate National Forests campgrounds.
Our friends came back shortly after and we had a very nice evening together. In the morning, we enjoyed the warm sunshine just like these turkey vultures on a nearby tree: