setting sun over a reddened beach

An Evening with Nature in Montaña de Oro State Park

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

-John Muir


On this particular evening, I was only seeking a break from being inside. I had been working on the computer all day, and I had a slight throb in my head and behind my eyes. My mind was in dire need of fresh sunshine, and the cooling air of at the coming of dusk. I decided a trip to nature, Montaña de Oro State Park more specifically, would suffice and fulfill these cravings of refreshment.

I’ve been to Montaña de Oro a few times previously. I’ve always enjoyed the beauty of the nature there, but usually with discomfort because of the frequent cold winds. This time, however, there wasn’t a breeze to be felt and the ocean was incredibly smooth and inviting.

wave breaking
a wave breaking in Montaña de Oro State Park


Not that I have anything against the wind, but it was incredibly pleasant to feel the warm stillness of a late summer evening without having to shiver over to a blanket. It was so warm, that I even decided to dip my feet in the cold (60 degrees F) water, then my entire body. . . Then my head. Soon, some swell arrived and I was body surfing waves toward the sunset.

If there’s anything I’ve learned about the ocean, it’s that one should be in it whenever possible. One should stare at the horizon while floating on their back until a wave comes to lift their view into the dimming sky.

After doing this for awhile, I walked back to my blanket while feeling my skin defrosting. I took in views of Morro Rock and pelicans and seagulls gliding effortlessly against the still evening. I looked back to the water’s smooth surface that displayed crystal clear reflections. The sun setting would be the most gorgeous sight to see for the week.

Patiently, I waited with celery sticks in one hand and a jar of almond butter in the other.


kelp patties on beachwith Morro Rock in background
kelp patties with Morro Rock in the background


One thing that makes this stretch of beach worth visiting is the fact that it’s a marine reserve. This land is highly protected, especially the beach within Montaña de Oro State Park. Here, the smells are actual beach smells. The beach doesn’t smell like garbage or runoff. It smells like fish, but a good, clean type of fish smell. The type of smell that rolls off waves from the sea-breeze and makes you want to write a novel.

After a few celery sticks, I ran down to the water with my camera for the ultimate moment, the sunset. Thanks to the direction the beach faces, the sun set right over the water, a sight that sooths the soul and makes it sing.


nature: setting sun over a reddened beach
setting sun over a reddened beach


When I set my camera down, I stared into the dim sun until it dissipated into the horizon. I picked up my blanket and almond butter and headed back to my jeep for a reflective drive.




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