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Escape to Moss Landing

I have a personal goal of trying to have at least one adventure each week. Sometimes the adventures are big ones and sometimes they are pretty small ones, but they are adventures. The recent wet weather had me daydreaming about an adventure over at the coast and I had been watching for a break in the weather to escape. We finally got our break, so Sally and I headed over to Moss Landing for a few days. In order to maximize the two days of sunshine that were forecast, we traveled in the rain and once we arrived at Moss Landing, we got checked in and settled at the KOA, then hunkered down for a while. It wasn’t too long until that rain stopped and Sally told me it was time to get outside and explore. We walked over the bridge spanning the Salinas River where the boats were docked, then took the trail along the Salinas River State Beach that allowed leashed dogs and headed south.


Everytime I make it over here, I have to stop at Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery for some sort of seafood fix. As dinner approached we walked over to Phil’s and I tied Sally up outside near where that fisherman is standing in the picture. I headed inside and picked up some cioppini to go, taking it back to enjoy. I was so excited to pick up my delicious dinner, I forgot to take a picture, so borrowed one off of Phil’s website. Thank you Phil’s for both the delicious dinner and the photo.


Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery (Photo courtesy Phil’s)

With my cioppini safely stashed, I could tell that the sunset could very well be shaping up to be a beauty, so Sally and I took another walk to check it out.


Did you know that Moss Landing was originally called Moss and named after Charles Moss, who in partnership, built a wharf there? Back then it was a busy whaling port but our knowledge of the history here goes much farther back than that. Archeological digs have shown that the Ohlone Indians occupied the Moss Landing Elkhorn Slough area as long as 4,000 years ago. The Spanish began settling missions in the 1700s and ran cattle over the hills of the surrounding area. The latest arrivals that we call Americans settled the area in the mid 1800s. Farmers turned the area into cropland. Loggers logged the hillsides of trees. Whalers put out from the shore of Moss Landing to capture migrating whales, and a processing plant onshore turned those giant mammals to oil and whale bone.

Today Moss Landing is home to Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, a multi-campus research facility for the California State University system. It also harbors over 600 boats that include fishing boats, pleasure craft and research vessels. The commercial boats bring in dungeness crab, halibut, king salmon, albacore, rockfish, sablefish, anchovies, sardines, squid, black cod, red snapper, covina, prawns, mackrel, and others. There is also access to state and federal protected lands such as Moss Landing State Beach, Salinas River State Beach, Zmudowski State Beach, Moss Landing Wildlife Area, and the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The next morning, Sally and I took a long walk along the trail that connects the Salinas River State Beach access at the west end of Sandholdt Road with Potrero Road. It was about a half mile walk one way along the Old Salinas River. The tide was in and many different types of birds were feeding in the river. We also saw a sea otter working.

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We walked back into town and then headed down to the east end of Sandholdt Road to the jetty to check things out.  Lots of pelicans were hanging out.

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Sea Lions were also hanging out on the jetty, but I heard them long before I got there.

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We watched a fisherman for a while but he didn’t catch anything. We were plenty happy to watch the waves come in for a while though.  I took a couple of short videos, trying to capture the sound of the foghorn and waves crashing.  I apologize for the shaky parts.  Video  Video 2

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After lunch, we wandered across the Elkhorn Slough and checked out the vegetable stand, then headed up the slough for a while.

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It was a very nice first full day at Moss Landing and believe it or not, my fitbit said we walked 9 miles. The next morning, I thought we should take a little walk and see what the sunrise might look like.


I had been watching the weather carefully and decided to head back home to avoid predicted winds over Pacheco Pass. Sally and I took some walks during the morning, then packed up and headed home. By then the fog had somewhat lifted in the valley. We had a wonderful adventure with new trails to explore!

Moss Landing Mapr

Moss Landing Area Courtesy Google Maps

Date: January 19-21, 2016


Salinas River State Beach

KOA Moss Landing

Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery

Moss Landing Wikipedia

See Moss Landing

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