Saturday, 19 September 2015

California Hwy 1 and Montana de Oro State Park

It was not the first time we had driven down the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) in California but it was the first time that we had dry weather and enjoyed a spectacular drive all the way without worrying about rain.  Obviously the drought had something to do with it.  We stopped briefly in Monterey to revisit 17 mile drive and gawked at the always impressive Pacific Ocean.  I was happy to see that the lone cypress was still standing but it was surrounded by a retaining wall - no longer in a natural environment.  

We proceeded down the coast and stopped at ocean vistas along the way, including the famous Bixby Bridge completed in 1932.  We did a short hike to see McWay Falls in the Big Sur State Park and stopped many times to capture cattails against the setting sun along the highway before reaching our destination for the night in Morro Bay. 

Montana de Oro State Park was a short drive from Morro Bay.  There are many trails in the park but the coastal trail was the easiest and very accessible.  It was definitely a worthwhile trail with abundant wildlife along it - pelicans, cormorants, turkey vultures and we even saw an egret stalking and capturing its prey.  And what I love most was that the ocean was always there, showing off its power and might - I could spend hours watching it.

Morro Bay State Park also had its share of wildlife with its own nature reserve.  There were trees along the beach where pelicans were nesting, although we were told that the trees were dying off.  At sunset, there were lots of birds on the beach in the reserve, feeding in the receding tide.   It had been a very pleasurable few days driving down the coast.

Pacific Ocean at Monterey

Lone Cypress - 17 mile drive, Monterey

Vista along Hwy 1

Historic Bixby Bridge built in 1932

McWay Falls at the Big Sur State Park

Cat tails at sunset

Pelicans and cormorants at Montana de Oro State Park

Turkey vulture in flight
Heron capturing lizard right beside the trail

Spectacular views along the coastal trail in the State Park
Powerful ongoing erosion, lots of arches and caves along the coast

This one reminded me of the Queen Nefertiti bust (similar one in Yehliu Geopark in Taiwan)
Pelicans in flight

Panorama from the coastal trail

Pelicans' nests in Morro Bay State Park

Morro Bay State Park at sunset


  1. Wow, Cat, your photography skills have certainly improved a lot. I love your turkey vulture in flight. Good shot. The scenery pictures are beautiful and I still remember the lone cypress along 17-mile drive. Fond memory but don't know if I will ever have a chance to revisit Monterey. Excellent job!

  2. Thanks, Connie. You are very kind.