Often it’s the little closeby adventures that can be as rewarding as those farther away. I decided to try to work from my partner’s place near Half Moon Bay, as I was not feeling quite up to par this morning when it was time to roll out of bed. After working for a little while we headed out to Pacifica to go for a walk before returning to work-life.
We parked at the parking lot next to Rockaway Beach. This is a great spot to park facing the ocean if you are a fan of zoning out to the crashing waves. There is a paved trail leading from there that connects to a few other dirt trails that are considered to be part of the Mori Point Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
I have hiked around the former quarry located near Rockaway Beach many times, but I had never walked all the way to Mori Point. And what was great is that it’s all within walking distance to my partner’s office-space, restaurants and little stores.
According to the Mori Point Park Conservancy website the Spanish mined a nearby limestone quarry to supply whitewash for San Francisco’s Presidio buildings in the 1700’s. The park harbors it’s name from Stefano Mori, an Italian immigrant, who purchased farmland in the area in 1888. He built a guesthouse, a restaurant and an inn that had quite the reputation in the prohibition times, and was operated by the family until the 1940’s. During the World War II era, the quarry onsite was extracted for gravel and sand. And later it was used as stomping grounds for off road vehicles. In 2000 Mori Point was purchased by the Trust for Public Land with the help from Pacifica Land Trust, the Coastal Conservancy and community members; it was added to the Golden Gate National Parks system known as the Golden Gate National Recreational Area.
As you make your way past this old quarry and up onto the coastal bluffs, you can spot whales and dolphins migrating during certain seasons. We didn’t see any today, but maybe next time. It is so common in spots in Pacifica including Mori Point and Rockaway Beach, that Pacifica takes pride in their prime whale-watching location. Gray and blue whales are often seen migrating in the springtime with their calves and humpback whales are common in the summer and fall.
Near Rockaway Beach, to the south you can see an area called Devil’s Slide where they recently built a tunnel through the mountain because the road would routinely erode into the ocean. You can also see the cars zooming past along Highway 1 just behind the little businesses and restaurants at Rockaway.
As you climb each hill and near the coastline you often are greeted with a sudden and sheer drop into jagged rocks on your way down to crashing waves of the Pacific. One mis-step or sudden erosion of part of the cliff could be fatal if you’re not paying close attention. I would definitely feel nervous to walk with small children in some of the areas. Be mindful of where you try to sit down… the top edge of the cliffs are never a good spot to sit. Also look out for any cracks in the ground that suggest that the land may soon slide. During or after wet/rainy conditions the trails are rather muddy and slippery, but can still be fun to roam as long as you’re careful and open to getting dirty.
Making your way North along the bluffs you are greeted with unobstructed views of Mori Point.
Today was overcast but somewhat warm considering how gray the sky was. It was a little windy on the ridges, but the sea was rather calm. The gray hues made the perfect lighting backdrop to photograph the plethora of blooming wildflowers. I took my time, trying out and testing multiple angles as I heard squirrels and birds rustling along the trail.
At one point we paused and gazed out into the endless horizon of ocean. Crows made their presence known with their excited sqwaking upon the return of another crow with freshly killed prey in it’s mouth.
Once you’re at Mori Point, if you look further north you can see the Pacifica Pier. You can also see a golf course and residential neighborhoods.
Although the hike only lasted about an hour and around 2.5 miles, it was the perfect adventure for the afternoon and I felt somewhat rejuvenated and ready to tackle work for the rest of the day. Although it is mostly an easy stroll, the hills are fun to explore and the scenic views combined with the wildlife are something not to be missed.
For a hint of what it looks like on a clear day, check out the following photos…
Until next time… try to seek out adventures no matter how near or far they may be.