Central Coast Chinook


first bird Well, winter is finally here again and everyone in California is praying for more snow and rain than we have had in the previous 3 or 4 years.  Mother Nature is cooperating by dumping lots of rain in the Central Valley and Foothills, and the much needed white stuff in the higher altitudes.  We have many acres of fire-scarred terrain to worry about with mudslides, erosion, and flooding, but we so welcome the storms that are making their way into the state.  Four years ago before this latest drought, we decided to take a three day road trip along the central coast of California.  Our timing was either unfortunate or stupendous depending on your definition of a fun trip.  Unfortunate because of the torrential rain and wind we encountered during the trip.  Stupendous because of the photo opportunities with the huge waves crashing into rocks and shoreline, the angry sky as a backdrop to some incredible views, and the wildlife reacting to the storm.  There are few places that are so beautiful during a wild storm than a coastline. First stop – Morro Bay. We decided to use Highway 41 from Mariposa to Morro Bay to avoid the major freeways and scenery that we had seen before. We encountered torrential rain so heavy that it caused white-out conditions in several spots. Actually, it was a good thing that we took a smaller highway – it is easier to pull off to the side of the road during a water white-out than while driving on a freeway! Morro rock During the first European land expedition in 1769, Franciscan missionary and expedition member Juan Crespi noted in his diary that “we saw a great rock in the form of a round morro [hill]”.  Morro Rock, a 581 foot volcanic plug, eventually gave its name to the town of Morro Bay.  Morro Rock is just one of a number of large volcanic plugs called the Nine Sisters of San Luis Obispo County that march inland to San Luis Obispo. The storm wave action and the number of outcroppings and rocks made for a few hours of restless photography near the rock.  Each wave seemed to outdo the last and we found it hard to leave the area. morro splash The shots of Morro Bay belie the intensity of the storm(s) moving into the coast.  The shots being shown here of Morro Bay and surrounding area were taken late afternoon during a break in the storm.  The sun came out and rainbows abounded. rainbow We eventually drove south to Montana de Oro State Park to get some shots.  The sun was about to set so the light was perfect and the waves were cooperative. pano Los Oso 1 As we drove north along Highway One, the storm intensified.  We made our way slowly up the coast, past Big Sur and Monterey, and eventually ended this leg of the trip at Capitola, Ca. The following shots were taken as we made our way slowly up the coast.  The trip took us through Big Sur, the Lone Cypress along the beautiful 17 mile drive in Pebble Beach, Monterey, Seaclilff and eventually Capitola, Ca. The trip home from Capitola was easy with good weather, but also very boring! An angry sea – Big Sur, Ca angry angry 2 angry rock another angry rock shorline Even the birds were loath to venture out to sea. many birds But the Elephant Seals had the right idea – nap through it all.  At first glance it appeared to be a Elephant Seal graveyard, but if one waited long enough, you could see movement in the pack! elephant seals Lots of Pelicans to “shoot” from Big Sur to Monterey. Pelican zero pelicans 1 more pelicans And of course, the obligatory shot of the Lone Cypress along the scenic 17 mile drive in Pebble Beach. Lone Cypress A fun shot at Seacliff – this is an old concrete barge at the end of the pier.  Seagulls had taken over the pier. pier to concrete boat And finally at Capitola where the storm was in its last throes, but still going strong. capitola

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