Hazard Canyon

watching the surfers
Week 29. September 28. Hazard Canyon was the quintessential secret surf spot on the Central Coast for decades. It was fiercely defended, protected, and monitored by local surfers. There was a time that if you were not a local and parked your car at the secret entrance, chances were you’d return to a custom “no tresspassing sign” opaquely displayed as a thick covering of surf wax over every window of your car. You could expect a fist in the water or someone paddling over your feet in the line up. Name calling and stink eye were the least of your worries.

I don’t know when the spot was officially outed but I’ve seen it mentioned in Surfer Magazine and in at least one surf movie. A quick google search comes up with pages of links. An official parking spot was added by the MdO park (tho down the road from the traditional entrance), making it an easy place to get to for a day on the beach or in the water.

walking the canyon
No matter where you park or your local/non-local status, it still requires a long walk in through a eucalyptus stand and thick sand.

So many people on the beach
All that said, I was surprised none-the-less by how many people were on the beach.

Growing up here, this was always a special place for me because it was a secret, special beach that not that many people knew about or went to.

going over the lip
My friends and I would come down for long walks with our families or for impromptu bonfires (can’t get away with that anymore) or just to sit and watch the surfers.

surfer walking in
Steve and I sat on rock outcroppings for a while, people watching, bird watching. We took a walk looking at rocks, shells, feathers, birds. Getting our feet wet. It was blazing hot, a beautiful day. Quintessential Indian Summer Central Coast perfection.

surfer walking towards friends
(Surfer coming in, walking towards his friends)

the sandy cliff
(The huge sand dune cliffs. I think they are beautiful.)

(So much kelp! Nice view to the rock.)

snowy plovers are cute
(The little guys are snowy plovers. Because they build their nests right on top of the sand and because the state of California staunchly protects them, the snowy plovers dictate when people can go through the dunes and what parts of the beach are open.)

(Long-billed curlews, my favorite shore bird.)

heerman's gulls flying away
(I don’t know that much about gulls. They seem to be ubiquitous, but when you start paying attention you begin to realize they are different types of gulls. You begin to wonder if certain gulls show up during certain seasons. You begin to wonder if juveniles look different from adults. You vow to check the bird book when you get home. You invariably forget.)

(That said, I think these are Heermans.)

looking toward morro rock
(Getting into the water lets you get the best to-the-rock perspective.)

running down the enormous dune
(Running down these dunes. I loved doing this when I was a teen.)

Secret or not, Hazards is still one of my favorite beaches and it still feels like a treat when I get to go. Sunny and hot, like it was on this day, or socked-in-fog, it doesn’t matter. It’s a long stretch of secluded beach. It’s California. It’s a great way to spend a day.

my foot prints in the sand


Point Buchon

Point Buchon

Week 20. August 4th. Point Buchon is at the southernmost tip of Montana de Oro state park, but is run by PG&E (they own the property). It’s only opened a few days a week and only for a few hours at that. You have to sign in at a kiosk with your id, address and the like. We got there late and only had 45 minutes to tromp out to the point or to the sink hole. We hustled off wanting to get the most in as we could.

Check in here

take care

Is it bad to say it’s not my favorite hike in MdO? It’s flat. It’s a bit barren. It’s probably better in the spring time. But it was still nice to be outside, to be there, to see the birds, and to get some exercise.

Point Buchon

Keep on path

Point Buchon


Pelicans and people

Pelicans overhead

The sink hole used to be a cave until its roof caved in. I don’t know what you would call the “roof” that remains to the cliff…. Is this a natural bridge? I’m not sure. But it seems to be slowly eroding away as well. Some day (in our time?) this will be a cove.

family and sink hole

sink hole

In the image below I’m standing at the westernmost part of the sink hole, looking towards the MdO Bluff Trail. The beach is still part of Point Buchon, but the cliff above it is Montana de Oro proper.

Point Buchon

from Point Buchon

Trail back

After our hike (we got back just in the nick of time), I still needed 2500 steps to make my FitBig daily requirements, so I talked Steve into doing a little of Coon Creek. Coon Creek is the lushest part of MdO, riparian and dense in foliage. Or it was. There was a (controlled?) fire that took out the lush trees leaving burned out bark and bare hillsides.

burned coon creek

burned coon creek

burned coon creek


It will be interesting to see how the vegetation comes back in the months and years to come.

On our way out we were so wowed by the sight below that we pulled over to take a quick pic.

sand spit to the rock

This made an impression on Steve, I think, because walking the sandspit from MdO to the rock and back became his mission and you will see it featured in an upcoming blogpost. A hike and a beach in one. I hope you’ll be back to see it.

It’s good to get your feet sandy


Or to at least smell the salt air.

In honor of my beautiful surroundings, daylight-savings time, and the pure want to spend more time outdoors, I have started a new challenge for myself: going to the beach at least once week. Should be easy! If more days per week happen, bonus.

What I don’t want to happen is for July to roll around and realize that oh no we are already on the downside of days getting shorter and I lost out on all those hours I could have been outside smelling salty air or getting my feet sandy.

This begins the week of March 11, 2013 and I will continue until the first week of November (because I promise you (fake, play) money that the first week of November will be awesome and summerlike and we will say “Can you believe it’s November 3rd?” <-- This happens every year).