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Escape with Sally to Moss Landing

I finally had a window between house projects, weather and commitments to escape, so Sally and I loaded up the camper and headed to Moss Landing. Just north of Monterey, it was the perfect place to relax and smell that ocean air. As soon as I checked in at the KOA and got the camper set up, there was a bit of daylight left so Sally and I stretched our legs, checking the area out. The view of the harbor was so peaceful.

Of course we had to look at the beach and headed to the beach access adjacent to Phil’s Fish Market. Dogs are allowed on leash on this strip of beach access and beach, not inside Phil’s in case this sound confusing.

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, corvina, prawns, mackerel, 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.

One of the things I was looking forward to on this trip was to do some serious reading. At the top of my list was to finish Rick Lawin’s new book that he had given me called Legend of Tierra del Puma. I was about half way through it and didn’t want to get interrupted because it was picking up speed. If Rick’s name sounds familiar, he and his wife Sharon lived in the North Fork area for many years. This is Rick’s first book and it has a mountain lion in this mystery. Some SNO readers may recall my Lessons Learned from a Mountain Lion Encounter Blog back in 2015 when Rick saved my dog Sally from becoming a meal for a mountain lion while we were hiking. This story from the blog is a true story and this fictional book is written by that same Rick.

The sound of the fog horn and light rain lulled me to sleep, but every once in a while I woke up to hear noisy sea lions, then drifted back to sleep. The next morning, the rain had cleared so Sally and I took a little different route, starting at the Salinas River State Beach Potrero Parking Lot. We walked along the trail that connects the Salinas River State Beach access at the west end of Sandholdt Road with Potrero Road. Dogs are allowed on leash on this trail but are not allowed on the beach. It was about a half mile walk one way along the Old Salinas River. The tide was out and many different types of birds were feeding in the river.

We walked up to the vegetable stand and I scoped out whether I needed anything, then decided I didn’t. Sometimes they have some killer deals but I didn’t really see any on this trip. I contemplated stopping by on my way home but was in the go-mode when I started driving home.

Every time 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 dinner to go, taking it back to enjoy.

And of course the next morning, we headed back over to Phil’s but this time to use the access to the beach along the side of the restaurant. The waves were crashing against the shore. I spotted some sea lions working for their meal and looked for whales but didn’t spot any. Sometimes I do though.

It was just a short walk over to the jetty, where we watched the seagulls and fishermen for a while.

Then a boat headed in and we watched that too.

OK, those sea lions had been pretty noisy and I needed to see how many were making that chorus. It turned out they were about 100 feet or so from my camper.

I didn’t realize until I downloaded my pictures that one of the sea lions had photo bombed my picture.

I finished Rick’s book, then finished another one. I should have gone down closer to the water to get a better picture of the sunset but it was pretty nice out the back door of the camper. And by this third night, I guess I had got used to the serenade of those sea lions and slept very soundly.

Dog Friendly?

Most beaches do not allow dogs but one reason I like stayed at Moss Landing (besides Phil’s) is that there are a few areas where dogs are allowed on leash. The path between Salinas River State Beach Potrero Parking Lot and Sandholdt Road is one of those. The beach access and beach behind Phil’s and the the jetty area are a couple of others.


Moss Landing Area Courtesy Google Maps

Prior Blogs in this Area:

Escape to Moss Landing for the Day July 29, 2018

Escape to Moss Landing January 24, 2016


Salinas River State Beach

Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery

KOA Moss Landing

Moss Landing Wikipedia

Moss Landing Wildlife Area Check List


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