Afternoon Hike up Bishop’s Peak

Class was canceled today, so spent a few hours this beautiful Tuesday afternoon hiking up Bishop’s for the first time! Parked the car at the top of Highland and began the hike from there. The scenery was breathtaking the entire time, and while the switchbacks towards the top were never-ending, the gorgeous view kept our eyes occupied. Bishop’s is a playground of rocks; we found plenty of spots for climbing along the way. Also loved climbing around on the rocks at the top, though the wind sure did get strong up on the peak! Here’s my pictures from the day:

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My introduction to SUP – the latest coastal craze

I’ve been wanting to try stand-up paddleboarding for some time, and today my roommate and I thought it might be fun to give SUP a try with Morro Bay’s Central Coast Stand-Up Paddleboards! We were right- it was ridiculously fun!

really- could I ask for a better location?

The shop is right on the water, and the owner, Matt, was really friendly and we could tell he knew what he was doing when it came to SUP. It cost each of us $20.00 for an hour rental which included all the equipment (board, paddle, leash) and an introductory lesson before getting in the water.

When we first walked in the little shop, he explained that the current conditions in the bay were not ideal for learning, and there was a really strong southbound current with a lot of wind chop. If we tried going out right at the dock behind the shop, as beginners we would probably end up in Los Osos within the hour.

So, Matt decided to try out something new. We hopped in his car with the paddle boards on the back, and drove up Embarcadero towards Morro Rock until we got to Coleman Beach. This protected, calm little area also known as Mother’s Beach allowed us the perfect spot to get on our boards and ride the current down the bay until we reached the shop. After a brief lesson, we got on and started our first journey gliding through the water, paddles in hand, Morro Rock at our backs. Meanwhile, Matt got back in his car and drove back to his shop so he could meet us back at the dock.

The water was cold and kept splashing up onto my board, but I barely had to paddle with the current. Most of the time I stayed on my knees for fear of falling in with the rough conditions, but towards the end of our ride when the water was sheltered by docks we managed to stand up on our boards. It was a blast riding along the bay, looking at all the boats and shops on either side of me. It was easier than I thought carrying my camera with me, but I didn’t take very many pictures before the housing lens fogged up (gotta get more moisture munchers!).

We also were greeted by a curious sea lion along the way, who swam fairly close to each of our paddleboards.

The water pulled us along so fast that it only took 30 minutes to get back to the dock, so Matt let us practice standing in the calm waters next to the dock, and then offered us half our money back because we didn’t use the full hour.

The experience worked our muscles, as I am sitting here writing this my thighs are already sore, and I’m sure that after an hour of standing up the entire time, I would safely be able to say that SUP’ing is a great core workout.

I was sad to step onto land back at the shop, but excited for my next chance to get back in the water.  SUP’ing is such an awesome water activity on the rise along the California coast.

Sunny Days at Avila Beach

Usually I spend my beach days at Pirate’s or Olde Port (especially during bonfire season!!) but I still love a good sunny day at Avila Beach.

On the weekends, this beach is bustling with people. The beachfront town has such a summery feel, and there is lots to do besides the obvious “sand n’ surf” activities…

For starters, you can walk along or find shade under Avila Pier, visit the Avila Sea Life Center and discover what animals live in Avila’s bay, or just grab a snack and enjoy the sunshine. At the northern end of the beach are some tidepools, but there isn’t a whole lot of life to find in the rocks.

I love most though to just sit on the swings here and bury my toes in the sand.

Spooner’s Cove Montana de Oro

Having spent a good amount of time this past weekend celebrating the sunshine at Montana de Oro (and loving it!) I feel compelled to encourage fellow seashore-lovers to visit Spooner’s Cove in Montana de Oro.

Just a few miles past the entrance of the park and after driving under a canopy of eucalyptus trees, we found the parking lot of Spooner’s Cove on the right side of the road.

enjoying my "perch" above the waves

This beach is not particularly sandy, but is instead composed of small rocks and pebbles. No worries though, it’s still plenty comfortable to recline on a towel and take a relaxing nap.

The first day I came here, it was later in the afternoon and the beach was practically empty. The tide was rapidly rolling in, but we still played on the giant rock structure in the middle of the cove and searched the edge of the water for unusual rocks and shells.

The following day we decided to come prepared with swimsuits and towels.

We started by laying out our towels, kicking off our sandals, and splashing in the creek

The creek on the right side of Spooner's Cove

that runs along the right side of the cove.  It empties out right next to a fun little cave that makes for good exploring during low tide.

the cave

Walking a little more to the left, the tide was low enough so that we could (carefully!) walk out onto the rocky platform and admire the tide pools. I saw a crab or two, some anemones, and lots of algae.

The seagulls are very bold on this beach, and I literally had to chase one for my keys, phone and textbook (yes, I even got some studying in!) before we climbed onto our towels and basked in the mid-afternoon sunshine. Among us were scattered groups of families, other students, and couples also enjoying the pleasantries of Spooner’s Cove.

Word on the street is that Spooner’s is also home to some fantastic diving when conditions are good. I guess I’ll have to grab my gear and find out for myself. But that will be for another day!

Enjoy Spooner’s Cove!