I read somewhere that one reason we are fascinated with rocks, large and small, is that they serve as the memory for our planet, holding the fossil records that tell us about the journey of time.
Maybe that’s why when walking around Morro Rock, a 24-million year old volcanic plug, I felt like speaking in hushed tones.
The prehistory of Morro Bay connects to the Opispeño Chumash settlements near the mouth of Morro Creek dating from as early as the Millingstone Horizon (6500 to 1500 B.C.).
Morro Rock is one of “Nine Sisters,” extinct volcanic peaks stretching in a nearly 12-mile straight line from Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo.
For centuries this has been the site of countless Native American sacred rituals, and although no longer as openly accessible to the Native Peoples, it is still considered important in the cultural lives of the local Chumash.
Morro Rock was designated a California Registered Landmark in 1968, and is now a bird sanctuary for the Peregrine Falcon. I didn’t happen to see a Falcon, but apparently the gulls feel an affinity for the 581-foot monolith–as do I!
Morro Bay sits approximately mid-point between Los Angeles and San Francisco, making it the perfect location for a weekend with my Bay Area cousin and her husband.
Wineries, wildlife sanctuaries and some of the most beautiful vista points along the rocky coastline–perfect for photo shoots and picnics–were investigated for a family reunion scheduled for June.
Fresh water from the mouth of Los Osos Creek opens out into the saltwater creating an estuary that is both a national and state preserve, supporting the most significant wetland system on California’s Central Coast.
As much as we tried, we still weren’t able to view all 800 acres of wetland, nor identify the more than 250 species of land, sea, and shorebirds that call Morro Bay home.
And we only scratched the surface of botanical wonders like the Los Osos Oaks State Reserve with 800 year-old Coast Live Oaks…
But remember–we’re coming back in June. I’ve already scoped out the areas I want to revisit more closely!
Morro Bay is only about three hours from Los Angeles. It’s going to be my new de-stressify zone. I think you can begin to see why!
EXTRA CREDIT!I highly recommend reading THIS ARTICLE which includes a wealth of information about Indigenous Religious Traditions associated with the history of Morro Rock. It comes via a course taught in the Religion Department at Colorado College by Bruce Coriell, the College Chaplain. The accompanying detail is very easy to digest and provides wonderfully rich information for anyone interested in knowing more than I can share in a typical blog post.