Along the coast of San Luis Obispo county is situated the beautiful town of Morro Bay, once a center of abalone fishing that now hosts commercial and sport fishing activities. We approached it from the south along Highway 101 when we saw the town’s most famous landmark, Morro Rock, that juts up out of the water right off the coast. The town marks the southern beginning of the stretch of California Highway 1 that straddles the rugged coastline. An artificial harbor, constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers, protects the marina where fishing vessels are moored.
Geologically, Morro Rock is a granite volcanic plug, a visually striking one, the only one of Nine Sisters in San Luis Obispo county that rises above water. It is also a National Wildlife Refuge that protects many species of birds, particularly the peregrine falcon. It used to be isolated off the coast, but is now connected to the mainland by a sandy causeway, also built by the Army Corps of Engineers, which we crossed to get a closer look at The Rock, as it’s familiarly called by locals.