Tuesday, January 11, 2011

and it was a bit longer this time

1/9/2011 Los Osos to the Morro Bay sandspit
The day was bright and clear, but the chill of the wind kept us wrapped up. In the previous post we visited the long sand spit that encloses Morro Bay. This time, with more time and no threat of rain we could explore further into the dunes and along the beach. The cold wind was our constant companion except when we hid behind a dune for a lunch break.
More plovers were out for the day dashing around at the edge of the surf joined by a few godwits and curlews stabbing at the wet sand. Large parts of the inland dunes are roped off to reduce human traffic in the snowy plovers' nesting areas. If you go I hope you'll heed the signs asking people to keep out of these areas. In addition, it's worth noting at the trail head the warning signs posted about the possibility of stumbling onto unexploded munitions from the 1940s. For a few years around the second world war the sand spit area was used for military training exercises. Left over mortar rounds and small rockets could be buried in the sand, so beware of digging around any rusted metal objects you stumble on.
Outside the stretches closed to make room for plovers' eggs the dunes offer huge open areas of lunar emptiness punctuated by tall hummocks topped by scraggly dune plants.
The slopes of sand were too much for the boy a-go-go to pass up and he made good use of his toboggan. The dunes drift in the wind and make the kind of ripples one expects in a desert scene, but many patches of sand were remarkably firm. I suppose this is due to the constant damp of ocean dew. Wet sticky sand was everywhere just an inch below the surface.
Scattered in the lumps of blowing sand we spotted lots of things slowly bleaching in the sun. We didn't see and munitions but there were plenty of bleached bones of small birds and other critters. We carried back to the parking area two bags full of plastic trash and there are plenty of scattered bits of broken bottles slowly being softened into sea glass. There were few other people out on the spit with us but the place a certainly has seen lots of human activity.
There are shanties built of driftwood and other debris here and there among the dunes, and the bits of charred firewood make it clear that people have camp outs now and then. Officially this is a no camping area but I can see why it's so irresistible. we didn't make the trek all the way to the mouth of the bay so there may be another update to this post sometime. It's five miles one way from the parking area to the end. Someday we'll make it a whole day and an even longer walk.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails