Manresa to Moss Landing

July 28: Monterey County
Manresa to Moss Landing. 12.8 miles

We met Margie and Greg Whitnah, today’s day hikers at the parking lot and were off on this day’s jaunt. Margie and Greg are associated with the Pelican Network, a remarkable consortium of non-profit and for-profit organizations and individuals that share common values. Having linked themselves together through the Internet (, they promote environmental protection, enjoying the outdoors, and appreciation of California Central Coast’s natural and cultural resources.

Except for the last mile or so, this day was devoted to beach walking, starting out on the broad, firm sands of Manresa State Beach followed by Sunset State Beach. For the entire day, we walked under a high overcast. We started an hour or so after the low tide and on the exposed sand were many live sand dollars. If you picked one up you could see on its underside the thousands of tiny tube feet moving back and forth. Just beyond the surf line we watched a pod of dolphins as they made their way north. Here is another first sighting for us of a new marine mammal.

The uplands are a checkerboard. Agriculture, park and developed land are all jumbled together. After walking past the large Pajaro Dunes development, we came to the Pajaro River. We were able to wade across, the deepest water coming only up to just above the knees. If we know what was flowing out to the sea here we would have probably wanted to stay dry. Looking to the east, all you can see are agricultural lands. I’m sure that the waters of the Pajaro are laced with high concentrations of pesticides and herbicides. At least we can rest well knowing that from the knees down, we no longer need worry about unsightly insect infestations or weed growth.

Past the river on our way to Moss Landing, we met Ryan DiGaudio from the Point Reyes Bird Observatory. Ryan was keeping track of the some 25 nesting pairs of Snowy Plovers in the area. One nest of three eggs was due to hatch this day. Ryan said that in the entire Bay Area there are only a total of about 125 nesting pairs, and that whereas they were doing OK in the Pajaro Dunes area, in other areas, their numbers were declining.

Lunch today was on the north jetty of the Moss Landing harbor entrance. Then we walked around the harbor, venturing for a few minutes on an exceptionally busy Highway One and into the town of Moss Landing for coffee before being bussed back to the Manresa campground. (Jon Breyfogle; photos by Margie Whitnah, Linda Hanes)

Left: Steve examining a very wet sock.  Right: Walkers crossing the Pajero River