Santa Cruz Coast Camping

Losing Heath, such an adventurous spirit, the father of four, a phenomenal educator, the light of our daughter’s life and whom we loved dearly, will never cease to affect us. After this initial traumatic time, that will forever be with us, we felt able to venture out. Our Airstream had been moochdocking on the street in Marin for two months and proved to be the best place for us to stay as it gave us comfort while navigating our family’s intense tragedy. Our Weaverville home even came under an evacuation warning due to the Monument Fire, so it was good the Airstream wasn’t there, but then in time it was in the line of a fire in Marin due to the Lassen Fire. With luck we escaped any fire devastation this fire season.

Lucky for this fire situation the wind spread the fire up and away.

There was tremendous air support on this fire and with luck all the schools had an early out that day.

We left on the Tuesday after Labor Day and drove south over the Golden Gate Bridge heading south for a ten-day trip. Reservations were made quickly, and since school had begun, we managed to secure some choice/desired camping sites.

Even though we didn’t have an ocean view at the  Francis Beach Campground we had a nice private look out the back.

First up was Half Moon Bay SB for a night. We were able to book site 14 and settled in easily after dumping and getting water. It was the first campground we have experienced with a credit card dump station. We walked along the beach, enjoyed the sun and the views.

Nothing better than seeing a beach that reminds me of my days spent at Rat Beach.

Use your credit card to dump. 10 dollars here.

Next was Seacliff SB #B4 for two nights, our favorite, then we were heading to the KOA in Watsonville for three nights. After setting up and walking the strand, looking at the current state of the pier and the cement boat we planned the next day of kayaking on the Elkhorn Slough. I also checked for possible reservations at SeaCliff and secured two more nights in the site next to us.

We will never tire of this view, only the pillows.

We put in on Thursday morning around 10:15 into cool water and an overcast sky. Saw numerous birds, seals, and otters. We spent around 2 hours on the water, watching other kayakers and the occasional tourist boat. After getting out we walked over to the Sea Harvest at Moss Landing for lunch, then drove over to look at the Moss Landing KOA and walk out on the Salinas River SB. On our way back to Seacliff we looked at the Watsonville KOA. The two KOA’s are very different as the Moss Landing one is tight, small but in walking distance to eateries and the Watsonville one is large with a pool, playground, and cabins.

Amazing how the Brown Pelicans can just skim the water with a wing span of nearly 79 inches!

Saw a lot of Harbor Seals on the sandy beaches, and in the mudflats,

Salinas River SB and the protected area of Western Snowy Plovers. They use the area for nesting, rearing of young, and for winter habitat. River on the right and bay on the left.

In the morning we walked the beach to Aptos and realized a section of the walk was now open to the public that had never been opened before in front of the beach side houses. We chatted with an owner that had lost that privacy due to city access regulations. It was a gorgeous day and around noon we moved to site B5 for the next two nights. It was a stay in the campground kind of day. That night I was able to reserve another night at Sea Cliff in Site #1.

The steps up from our campsite provide a nice view of the top of the trailer.

The pier gets shorter and shorter every time.

Saturday, September 11th was celebrated with boats by the pier, a flag raising on the bluff and a gathering at the pier. Later Johns sister and daughter visited with bagels and coffee. In the afternoon we went up to Henry Cowell SP, where we had our wedding reception and hiked the Redwood Grove Loop trail, the Pipeline trail and tour the visitors center. For dinner we were invited to dine with friends in Scotts Valley who we hadn’t seen in almost two years. Sunday, we moved again, hung out in the campground and relaxed.

San Lorenzo River

Roaring Camp line goes all the way to the ocean.

The Giant Tree on the Redwood Loop Trail. 17 feet wide, almost as high as a 25-story building!

Site #1 for our last night, and dinner with a view!

Monday, we headed back north, ate lunch and watched the kite surfers as we moved to stay at Costanoa KOA. Originally we were in site C52, but didn’t like it at all, but were able to move to E28. Some of the sites are way to close to the neighbors for the three-night minimum and the cost. We did enjoy a fabulous sunset and view not far from our site with our camp chairs.

Our site at Costanoa was a tad bit more private than the original one.

Nice to have these portable chairs and mixed with some wine and the view it was perfect to watch the end of the day.

Tuesday, John biked at the Wilder Ranch and I hiked to the historical Cowboy Cabin and then did the Ohlone Bluff Trail. We had lunch in Davenport at the Roadhouse, then headed to Ano Nuevo SP. We visited the visitors center and hiked the Ano Nuevo Point Trail only to the staging area as the trail was closed beyond that for Elephant Seal protection.

Fuchsia just outside the old farmhouse at the Wilder Dairy.

Lesser Gold Finch eating thistle on the Ohlone Bluff Trail.

So many harbor seals in various groups along the Ohlone Bluff Trail, and this little one had just come in from the water.

Historical Cowboy Cabin at Wilder Ranch was restored at one time, now needs another refresh.

Wednesday, September 15 we drove to Pescadero, and unfortunately almost everything was closed except for the store. We also toured by car Butano SP but it is currently closed to camping due to the massive CZU Fire, however some hiking is available. Also, we walked the Pescadero Creek Slough area. After eating lunch back at the Cloud, we walked the North Whitehouse Creek Trail out of the campground walking to the entrance and crossing the road. Then took the Atkinson Bluff Trail to Franklin Point and back to camp. We enjoyed the many views and walking on the beach, and it was about a two hour hike for us. That night we had a nice and enjoyable dinner at the Cascade Restaurant and Bar in Costanoa.

Pescadero Creek Slough

Atkinson Bluff Trail has great views and is an easy hike from the campground. Not many on the trail even though the campground was full.

Looking south towards Santa Cruz.

Looking back towards Franklin Point. The point has a nice sitting area and one needs to search for the trail, as we missed it the first time.

Cascade Restaurant and Bar in Costanoa and we had a perfect view to watch the Giants against the Padres which they lost 9-6.

Thursday we were back out on the road again, headed back to Marin to moochdock for 4 nights and continue to support our family. We then took the Cloud home to once again return to Marin.

Foggy day to cross the Golden Gate Bridge.