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I'm a self-professed adventure writer and former exercise junkie seeking a long-term relationship with my higher self, healthy workout habits, and a balanced, adventurous lifestyle in San Luis Obispo. Join me as I discover the healthy activities of SLO County, from land to sea.
Showing posts with label Cayucos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cayucos. Show all posts

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cayucos and Morro Bay: Splish Splash!

Cayucos State Beach
My exercise habits over the last few weeks have been pretty much zilch. My excuse for slacking off last week? The 5-day San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. My justification for this week? Just plain old fatigue from having too much fun at the festival and jumping right back into a long work week.

But I'm back on track. Today I discovered two great outdoor exercisesboth with my shoes off that increased my balance, gave my legs something to shriek about, and left me wanting more.

In the early part of the morning, I ventured out to Cayucos State Beach to walk along its gravely shores. I stopped to pick up nifty pieces of colorful sea glass and when I reached the stretch of offshore rocks where the waves pound and clatter, I couldn't help but take off my walking shoes. Standing with my heels and toes firmly against the sand, I knelt down, got out my camera and captured the catapulting backsplash. 

I can't remember the last time I went barefoot at the beach—normally I walk or run with shoes on and remain carefully removed from the water. But today was different. The warm sunny day compelled me to get my legs soaked. The waves almost knocked me over several times as I balanced and shot pictures...what a great time!

On my way back home I couldn't help but stop in Morro Bay for a little rest and relaxation on the warm beach. But soon after arriving, I left my shoes and chair behind and headed straight for the water, discovering that walking along the shore knee deep in water might quite possibly be the greatest form of aqua aerobics known to humankind. Not once did I fall over during this resistance workout.

So there you go. Balance. Resistance. Exercise that is sheer fun in the sun. 

Wave splash!   
From Cayucos State Beach, you can catch a glimpse of Morro Rock in the distance.
From Morro Rock Beach, Cayucos lies just a handful of miles away on the distant shore.
Sometimes you just have to get your feet wet.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cayucos: Estero Bluffs State Park

If you're looking for a spot along the California Central Coast to peace out, Estero Bluffs State Park in Cayucos is just the place. This 355-acre coastal plain provides a hiking trail that spans nearly four miles along the Pacific Ocean's rugged cliffs. The landscape is stark and serene, the pathway is uncrowded and quiet, the air is fresh and clean. In one word: peaceful. 

The Cayucos Land Conservancy conservation efforts help keep this protected area in northern San Luis Obispo County pristine. Several times throughout the year, they offer guided hikes along the bluffs. 

 There are several entrances to the park along Highway One, just north of the beach town of Cayucos. Look for parking areas on the west side of the highway. The first entrance is marked by a windmill, directly across from San Geronimo Road. After entering the park, it's just a short walk to these stairs that transport you down to the rocky beach. 

Although along the well-marked, flat trail you'll find a few access points that allow you to get down to the beach, for the most part, the steep, crumbling bluffs keep you trailbound.

With the recent rain, tiny specks of green are popping up along the trail. Coupled with the warm winter weather San Luis Obispo County is experiencing, now is the perfect time to explore this peaceful oasis. Be sure to check the weather forecast for upcoming visits, as rain is on the horizon.

Peaceful. Serene. Tranquil.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cayucos State Beach

A piece of emerald green sea glass I found on Cayucos State Beach.
Cayucos is a gem of a town. Tucked away on Highway One in San Luis Obispo County, just five miles north of Morro Bay, this cool, funky destination is worth a visit. Rich in history, small town spirit and unspoiled coastline, its state beach is the perfect place to get some exercise. 

Yesterday, as sultry clouds hovered over SLO County, I headed to Cayucos in search of giant waves typical during this time of year. Walking along the beach I found a few colorful pieces of sea glass, felt the roar of the ocean and wondered...why aren't more people here?

I started my walk from Cayucos Pier, which is now only partially open due to a severely needed rebuild. Click here for more information about the pier's history and the current efforts to save it at savecayucospier.com.

I trekked south down Cayucos State Beach and saw a few others out for some exhilaration.
This paddle boarder braved the churning sea.

This surfer charged straight into the high waves.

Just another day in exercise paradise.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

SLO Harmony

Grab your walking shoes, throw your kids in the car and head for Harmony Headlands State Park. Nestled between the offbeat coastal towns of Cayucos and Harmony on Highway One, this little-known San Luis Obispo County hiking spot offers a 2-mile portal to the sea. Wide open, kid-friendly trails meander along various ecosystems, transporting hikers past algae-covered endangered species, wispy grasslands, and diverse wildlife. Coyote bushes and thistles run wild, and your children can too.

Harmony Headlands is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to sunset and dogs are not permitted on the trail. To find the park, drive north past Cayucos on Highway One and look for the sign and parking lot located on the left side of the highway. If you drive all the way to the small town of Harmony, you've gone too far. 
When you begin the hike, be sure to stop on the bridge and peer over the edge—you just might spot an endangered Southwestern pond turtle splashing amidst this mucky algae-covered pond.
A few minutes on the trail and you will soon find yourself removed from civilization. The Cayucos Land Conservancy's partnership with the state park has been instrumental in maintaining and providing improvements for this four mile out-and-back trail that leads to the Estero Bluffs on the Pacific Ocean. Contact the conservancy for more information about docent-led tours, where you can learn more about the area's rich cultural history—including tales of the Chumash and Salinan Native Americans, hunter-gatherers who inhabited this area as far back as 10,000 years ago.You will also hear stories of how California acquired the land and how this parcel of over 700 acres almost ended up as a private development.
On my recent tour, I learned that over-grazing of cattle through the years has led the Medusahead and star thistle to run rampant on this land. Conservation efforts are underway to eradicate the thistle, which currently covers much of the acreage and takes over everything in its path. 
During this time of year, much of the landscape is covered in delicate thistle remnants. On some parts of the trail these dried weeds resemble arid snow, blanketing the hills.
Once you reach the gateway to the sea, hang on to your children. This is the turning point where the mostly-level trail gets a bit steep and you don't want anyone falling off the side.
On average, only 60 people per day come out on the weekends to hike this undiscovered Central Coast gem. Different seasons provide the hiker with the juncture to behold diverse flora and fauna, such as wild geese and ducks populating the ponds, and lupine and morning glory spreading across the hills. I'm grateful I encountered this obscure San Luis Obispo County pathway, and look forward to returning in the coming seasons.
Happy trails.